Do's and Don'ts When Swimming with Dolphins in Panama City Beach

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Florida: If you're looking to shake things up on your next trip to the beach we have a great idea that is sure to get the whole family excited! We will give you a hint... It involves swimming with dolphins in Panama City Beach, Florida. You heard it here first, folks! Flipper and friends are coming to a beach near you! Seriously.

But before you rush out to the wake to meet your new Delphinoidean friends there are a few things you ought to know. At the end of the day dolphins are wild animals and you are guests on their turf. So do yourself and take a gander at our do's and don'ts to ensure a safe, and enjoyable occasion for yourself and those around you.

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Do's and Don'ts When Swimming with Dolphins in Panama City Beach


Swimming with Dolphins in Panama City Beach

DO: Visit Shell Island

Shell Island is 7 miles of incredible beach bliss. Located across the water from Saint Andrew's Park, this natural wonder is  one of your best bets for finding and swimming with dolphins in Panama City Beach. In addition to being a dolphin congregation hotspot, you can also find Sea Shells (it's right there in the name), take a hike, or have a family picnic in the sand minus the buzz of the congested beaches on land. Better yet, book a Shell Island tour or shuttle and easily get your family from point A to point B in no time!

DO: Bring a Camera

Swimming with the dolphins is a can't-miss event, and no matter how many times you do it it will still give you goosebumps (Do dolphins get goosebumps? Would they be called dolphin bumps?). As such, be sure that you, your friends, or family members bring a waterproof camera to capture the magic and maybe even share some snaps with us on Facebook! We look forward to seeing your best shots!

DO: Go Out in the Morning or Early Evening

The best time to see and swim with dolphins is in the early part of the morning when they are feeding. You might also go out later in the day before the sun sets. You can spot dolphins at any time of day, really, but less traffic makes them easier to spot. Fewer folks in the surf also makes them more likely to explore the waters close to shore.

DO: Be Patient and Have Fun

Savor your time out in the surf while you are waiting for the dolphins to show. Dolphins or not, a gathering of family and friends ought to be a good time. Enjoy some sand dollar exploration or throw the frisbee while you wait because it probably won't be too long! In fact, the success rate for professionally-led dolphin tours in Panama City is above 90 percent. So hang tight, relax, and definitely don't forget the sunblock!

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dolphin encounters panama city beach

DON'T: Go Out Too Deep

Swimming in the surf and battling the tides can be a ton of fun but it does not come without risk. If you plan on traveling out into the wake to swim with dolphins be sure to bring a friend and a life vest no matter what. Also be mindful of weather and tide conditions. Look to life guards and beach warning flags for guidance. For example, a red flag on the beach mean that the surf is abnormally high, there are strong undercurrents, or both. For sure, a dangerous tide can turn your dream of swimming with dolphins in Panama City Beach into a nightmare.

Want to learn more about how to meet Flipper and friends? Check out these 5 Unforgettable Panama City Beach Dolphin Swim Tours for the best local info anywhere!

DON'T: Feed the Dolphins

There are plenty of fish in the sea and that means dolphins don't need any human food to make ends meet. In fact, your average adult dolphin can eat anywhere between 15 and 30 pounds of crustaceans, fish, and squid per day. Using food to bait and interact with the dolphins can also lead to aggressive behavior, accidental biting, and other, unwelcome guests like sharks so do everyone a favor and keep your chum to yourself!

DON'T: Grab the Dolphins

If you are lucky enough to be within an arms reach of a dolphin it is best not to make any sudden aggressive movements such as grabbing, prodding, or pulling. If you've ever been to one of Panama City Beach's aquariums the biologists there will tell you that dolphins will greet and meet with you on their own terms. Give them plenty of space to swim and jump around you. Like when you meet a new dog or cat, hold out your hand and allow them to brush into it if they so choose. Aggressive behavior will cause the dolphins to flee and you will ruin the fun for everyone! Don't be that guy or girl!

DON'T: Be Afraid

Despite those warnings from our previous talking points you really have nothing to fear! Swimming with dolphins in Panama City Beach is something that thousands of folks enjoy every year. One of the smartest and most sociable species on the planet, dolphins are actually quite used to human interaction and plenty of them really enjoy it! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start swimming with the dolphins today!

Head on over to our Panama City Beach visitor's guide to learn more helpful tricks, educate yourself on the local landscape, and find inspiration for your next trip to the Panhandle!

Published May 1 2018
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