May 8, The Bee Line Ferry From Bradenton To St Pete
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Bee Line Ferry
Do any of you oldtimers remember when the Bee Line Ferry crossed Tampa Bay from Bradenton to St Petersburg?
In the old days before the first Sunshine Skyway bridge was built, it was a 69 mile trip from Manatee to Pinellas County. You went up 41 through Tampa and across the bay on either the Gandy Bridge on the south or the Courtney Campbell Bridge on the north through Oldsmar.
The ferry shortened the trip from Manatee to Pinellas County to just 22 miles, and it crossed Tampa Bay in one hour.
The ferry stopped running in the early fifties after the first Sunshine Skyway Bridge opened to automobile traffic.
Too bad, because I’ve been told it was a fun ride.
NOTE FROM EDITOR
Since our original post back in 2009, many of our website visitors have commented on this ferry. It was surely very popular. These visitors have given us a link with great information on the ferry: