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Shell Island in Panama City Beach

Travelers with a taste for tropical getaways often set their sights on Panama City Beach, Florida when searching for a vacation destination that’s sure to please. Between the endless sun, long stretches of beach and amazing landscapes that are home to intriguing wildlife, visitors from near and far are likely to find exactly what they’re looking for the moment they arrive. Once you’ve had time to settle in and work on your tan, take your trip to the next level of beach-loving seclusion by making your way to Shell Island in Panama City Beach.

Shell Island Cruise in Panama City Beach – Where Tranquility & Lush Landscapes Collide

For those that return to Panama City Beach year after year, a trip to Shell Island is a tradition. For newcomers to the area, it’s a thrilling adventure that proves to be unforgettable. While the beaches of Panama City Beach proper are beautiful, Shell Island provides guests with 700 acres of undeveloped coast waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Shell Island in Panama City Beach is famous worldwide for its sugar-white beaches and is known as a destination where prime scuba diving can be enjoyed as well. Photographers love Shell Island for the color contrast that nature provides while wildlife enthusiasts are thrilled by the fact that the waters around Shell Island are home to an impressive bottlenose dolphin population.

A day spent on Shell Island is one that’s dedicated to communing with nature. There aren’t any facilities to be found here, so visitors are required to come prepared and leave only footprints in the sand. Those traveling to Shell Island with little ones will love time spent collecting the very seashells for which the island was named. The Shell Island Cruise in Panama City Beach is definitely an activity to explore!

Getting to Shell Island

A boat shuttle is the only way to Shell Island which is integrated into the greater St. Andrews State Park. Visitors looking to make the most of a day on this barrier island can board the Shell Island Shuttle in the park which heads to and from the island every 30 minutes on weekdays. Alternatively, visitors looking for a more customized experience can rent a boat and make the journey themselves. No matter how you get there, a visit to Shell Island is a must when you’re here.

  • What is Shell Island?

    Shell Island is a natural beauty that features long stretches of white sand beach, incredible vistas over the bright blue water, and lush green forests. Shell Island offers over 700 acres of untouched wilderness and coastal land that is great for serenity and peace. Featuring prime scuba diving locations, great surfing spots, perfect photography opportunities, and bird-watching areas, Shell Island is a real nature lover’s dream.

  • What activities can I do on Shell Island?

    Some of the most popular things to do on this beautiful island are taking the Shell Island Express Ferry to the island to feel the breeze in your hair, chatting with the professional captain, and learning more about the island. Once you are here, you can go swimming, exploring, hiking, tanning, bird watching, or shelling.

  • Can I take a tour of Shell Island?

    We love taking the Adventures at Sea Sunset Cruise to Shell Island for a romantic evening with your significant other. This cruise offers an intimate and personalized tour of the island, which offers snorkeling among the coral, watching dolphins jump out of the water, and a colorful sunset.

Tour the Beautiful Shell Island

You’ve decided that visiting Shell Island is a must-add to your itinerary, so now the only choice left to make is how you’d like to visit. In addition to boarding the Shell Island Shuttle or renting a private boat, there are a handful of tour operators that include a stop at Shell Island on their itineraries. Consider one of these tour options to enhance your Shell Island experience!

Capt. Anderson’s Marina offers a Shell Island Express Ferry which will simply transport you to and from Shell Island. They also offer a Shell Island Eco Tour & Dolphin Encounter aboard their comfortable boat. This 3.5-hour tour will take you by nesting ospreys and through the beautiful St. Andrews Bay, the most diverse estuary in North America with over 3,600 species of marine life. While you’re enjoying the views, a trawl net behind the boat collects aquatic wonders and seashells which will be pulled up while you’re aboard, much like discovering a hidden treasure! Sea creatures are placed into transparent buckets so they can be passed around, examined, and held in some cases, before being returned to their home in the sea. Kids absolutely love this hands-on element! Any unoccupied shells and treasures brought up in the net can be taken home. Once you reach Shell Island, you’ll dock in a private area in Spanish Shanty Cove, where you can disembark and spend an hour exploring. There are no buildings or amenities on Shell Island, which is a large part of its charm! This 7.5-mile-long island is great for swimming, shelling, exploring, picnic, relaxing, and getting away from the crowds to enjoy its simple beauty. Just when you didn’t think the day could get any better, you’ll be treated to a dolphin encounter after leaving Shell Island. Bottlenose dolphins can frequently be seen frolicking in the bay, and this is a great opportunity for snapping some amazing photographs.

Adventures at Sea offers a Sunset Cruise to Shell Island. With a maximum of six people per tour, they offer a smaller, more intimate experience. This tour includes snorkeling in the Jetties, watching the wild dolphins in their natural habitat, and of course, time spent exploring Shell Island. When you book their last tour of the day, you can enjoy a magnificent sunset over the ocean, sure to be some of the most beautiful photos and moments to remember on your journey to Panama City Beach!

Enjoy the Beauty of Panama City Beach

Captivating coastal scenery and endless entertainment make Panama City Beach an amazing place to vacation any time of year. Let the team at Vacations Perfected help you find ideal accommodations for your stay. Contact us today for more information and to begin planning. Browse through our Central Panama City Beach vacation rentals today. Book one of our best Panama City Beach rentals with a pool! If you’re planning on a short vacation, be sure to explore our beautiful short-term vacation rentals today.