Try These Incredible Shell Island Activities on your Family Vacation

Shell Island, off the coast of Panama City Beach, FL, is a favorite destination for adventure seekers and casual vacationers alike. This 7 mile long barrier island is home to exotic wildlife, clean emerald waters, and plenty of fun activities for the whole family. Shell Island is completely void of modern luxuries like restaurants and public facilities making it a perfect kid friendly stop for both learning and excitement. The once Native American inhabited island is full of natural beauty and history, so visitors are encouraged to enjoy with care! Besides shell searching, swimming, and lounging on the beach, there are tons of family friendly tours offered by local Panama City Beach tour companies to help get the most out of a stay at Shell Island. Plan a family fun day around the following activities to guarantee a memorable Panama City Beach vacation!

Find even more things to do on Shell Island and beyond with Panama City Beach Water Activities!

Shell Island Express Ferry*

boat trip to shell island
Shell Island Ferry in Panama City Beach, FL
Before you can join in on the Shell Island fun, you need to get there! Take an exciting ride on a ferry boat to Shell Island for a full day of sun, sand, and swimming with the whole family. The Ferry has plenty of space to move around, and it's common to see a variety of marine life including dolphins, sea turtles, stingrays, and sea birds on the relaxing boat ride from Panama City Beach shoreline to the private dock at Shell Island. The Shell Island Ferry is the easiest way to reach the island, and with tickets starting at $10.00, you can save money for some of the other exciting things to do in Panama City Beach, FL! Spend the whole morning and afternoon at Shell Island with the first Ferry trip leaving at 9:30am, and last pickup of the day at 4:00pm, with the Ferry returning every 1.5 hours for your convenience.

Guided Shell Island Waverunner Tour

waverunner tour panama city beach
Shell Island Dolphin Sightseeing Tour
Want to witness the beauty of Shell Island from on board a thrilling Jet Ski?! Then a Guided Waverunner Tour of Shell Island is just the thing for you. A 2 hour tour aboard your very own waverunner will depart from the Old Lighthouse Marina and take you across the channel to Shell Island, where an experienced tour guide will assist in finding the most unforgettable sights of natural Panama City Beach, FL. Dolphin encounters are a major highlight of this tour, with plenty of the friendly marine mammals appearing on almost every trip. Experience dolphins playing in their natural habitat firsthand, or pull the jet ski up to the shore and enjoy the pristine white sand beaches of Shell Island. Up to 2 riders can fit on every waverunner, and a FREE shuttle service is provided for easy travel to and from the Marina.

Swim with the Dolphins at Shell Island

swim with dolphins shell island
Swim with the Dolphins in Panama City Beach
Swimming with dolphins is said to be a life-altering experience. Interacting closely with such an exotic and intellectual creature has been proven to have therapeutic qualities, as well as being one super cool way to spend time on a family beach vacation in Panama City Beach, FL! Bottlenose Dolphins frequent Shell Island in Panama City Beach, and with the help of a professional and experienced crew, you will learn how to properly interact with the most intelligent of marine life. The success rate for spotting and swimming with Dolphins is 99%, and if you're concerned about safety, rest assured that Dolphins are gentle and delightfully curious creatures. Dolphin Tours run seasonally from March to October, and two tours depart per day, at 9am and 1:30pm. Swimming with the Dolphins at Shell Island is an all ages tour, with all tour essentials like snorkel gear included in the ticket price.

Get up close and personal with friendly, flippered dolphins on your next vacation! Check out a full list of awesome Panama City Beach Dolphin Cruises and Tours online.

Shell Island Eco-Sea-fari Tour and Dolphin Encounter

kid firendly shell island
Shell Island Kids Boat Tour
You may be asking, 'what is an Eco-Sea-fari'? A Shell Island Eco-Seafari Tour is the ultimate kid-friendly educational experience in Panama City Beach! Begin the tour at Captain Anderson Marina before hopping aboard the Captain Anderson III tour boat. Visit extraordinary sites including Grand Lagoon and Shell Island, all while your children receive first-hand educational lessons on ocean ecosystems and marine species. Feed the sea gulls, wade for sea shells, hold real ocean specimens caught by the ships trawling net, and spend time at Shell Island with the family for swimming or exploring! Along with the other fascinating sites, expect to see pelicans, sea turtles, and everyone's favorite, dolphins, on this family friendly Shell Island Tour! The tour is narrated by an experienced captain, and the boat provides the most comfortable and spacious ride you could hope for.

Explore Shell Island and beyond on a family-fun Panama City Beach Boat Tour!

Panama City Beach Pontoon Boat Rental

pontoon boat rental to shell island
Shell Island Pontoon Boat Rental
Rent a Pontoon Boat in Panama City Beach, and hit Shell Island whenever you like! The freedom of steering your own 24ft Pontoon Boat allows you and up to 11 others the luxury of cruising Grand Lagoon, fishing the bayous, or pulling the boat up on Shell Island for a day of lounging on the beach. The kids will love searching for dolphins, or wading in the water for shells, and the adults will enjoy the ease of planning a family fun day on the water. Pet friendly pontoon boats are available, so even Fido can join in on the fun, and fuel is included in the rental, so no worries of tying off at a marina to fill the tank. A seasonal shuttle will grab customers from local Panama City Beach, so navigating busy Spring or Summer traffic won't be a problem. Try a Pontoon Boat to visit Shell Island on your next Panama City Beach family vacation!


Find more information including images, details, and booking rates for all of these family friendly tours and more right here at!

Published Mar 26 2018
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