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Exploring the Hidden Gem of Panama City Beach, FL – Shell Island

Panama City Beach, Florida, is renowned for its stunning white sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, and endless entertainment options. But amidst all the hustle and bustle, there’s a serene and natural paradise waiting to be discovered – Shell Island. If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the crowds and a chance to connect with nature, Shell Island is the perfect destination. In this blog post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of this hidden gem and uncover all the secrets it holds.

Two catamrans, SV Privateer and SV Footloose anchored at Shell Island

SV Privateer and SV Footloose at Shell Island

Getting There

Shell Island is an uninhabited barrier island located just off the coast of Panama City Beach. Accessible only by boat, it offers a pristine environment that’s a stark contrast to the bustling city nearby. Paradise Adventures makes it easy to get to Shell Island, with a few options including the popular Adventure Tour or even rent your own pontoon boat for the day!

The Natural Beauty

As soon as you step onto Shell Island, you’ll be struck by its untouched beauty. The island is home to miles of unspoiled white sand beaches and emerald waters. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, photographer or simply seeking a peaceful day at the beach, Shell Island has something for everyone.


Wildlife Encounters

Shell Island is part of St. Andrews State Park, a protected area known for its diverse wildlife. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting a variety of coastal and migratory birds, while marine life enthusiasts can often see dolphins playing in the Gulf of Mexico waters. Snorkeling around the island can also provide a glimpse of colorful fish and even the occasional sea turtle.


Shelling and Beachcombing

The island’s name is no accident. Shell Island is a paradise for shell collectors and beachcombers. The absence of heavy development means that shells wash up on the shores relatively undisturbed, offering a chance to find unique and beautiful specimens. It’s a good idea to bring a mesh bag to collect shells while leaving living creatures where they belong.


Picnicking and Relaxation

With no restaurants or cafes on Shell Island, it’s a great opportunity to pack a picnic and enjoy a meal in nature. You can spread out a blanket on the beach and dine with the sound of waves as your soundtrack. Remember to pack out all your trash to help preserve the island’s pristine environment.


Snorkeling and Water Sports

The calm, clear waters around Shell Island make it an ideal spot for snorkeling. Bring your own gear to explore the underwater world teeming with marine life. Additionally, you can try other water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding or our water inflatable park when you book our Adventure Tour!

Three boys playing on an inflatable toy at Shell Island on our Adventure Tour

Inflatable fun on our Adventure Tour at Shell Island!

Tips for a Perfect Visit

-Sun Protection: Don’t forget non-aerosol mineral-based sunscreen, sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the Florida sun.

-Water and Snacks: If you’re renting a pontoon from us, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and pack some snacks to keep your energy up.

-Beach Gear: If you’re renting a pontoon from us, consider bringing umbrellas, beach chairs and a cooler for a comfortable beach day.

-Respect Nature: Leave no trace. Respect the island’s delicate ecosystem and wildlife by not disturbing plants or animals.

-Safety First: Be aware of tides and currents, especially if you plan to swim or snorkel. Follow any safety guidelines provided by our trained crew.


In Conclusion

Shell Island in Panama City Beach, FL, is a true hidden gem that offers a unique and unspoiled natural experience. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, explore vibrant marine life or simply escape the crowds, this island has it all. So, if you’re planning a trip to Panama City Beach, make sure to add Shell Island to your itinerary. It’s a slice of paradise waiting for you to discover.


September 13th, 2023

  • Most popular!
From $50

Experience Panama City Beach’s only inflatable water park on Shell Island! Enjoy a thrilling 3-hour experience aboard our spacious 52-foot catamaran, SV Privateer, as we make our way through the serene waters of Grand Lagoon towards the breathtaking Shell Island. Along the way, we’ll all be on the lookout for dolphins as they swim and play, adding to the excitement of your trip. When you arrive on Panama City Beach’s pristine Shell Island shores, dive into a world of inflatable fun and tropical scenery. The adventure doesn’t end there! Combine the thrill of snorkeling from the beach or a self-guided Shell Island tour as you explore the pristine, white sandy beach. After soaking up the sun and exhilarating activities at Shell Island, we’ll continue exploring, indulging in more sightseeing and dolphin watching as we cruise back to the marina. Join us for unforgettable inflatable fun with an island cruise and beach snorkeling included, creating memories to cherish for a lifetime.

From $895

Gather your friends and family for an exclusive sail on our private sailboat, accommodating up to 12 guests. Dive into the wonders of the Gulf Coast with extended opportunities for snorkeling, exploring the pristine shores of Shell Island and encountering playful dolphins throughout your excursion. Whether you’re seeking thrilling beach snorkeling adventures or serene moments watching the sunset over the horizon, our private sailboat charters offer the flexibility to tailor your experience to your preferences. Let us be your Panama City Beach guide with our expertly curated tours. Choose from the excitement of Shell Island tours to the tranquility of a sunset cruise. Experience the ultimate vacation boat rental experiences as you create unforgettable memories on the emerald waters of the Gulf. Book your private charter today and indulge in a personalized journey through paradise.

  • PCB Snorkel & Sail
From $130

Step aboard 50-foot monohull sailboat, SY Ohana, for a thrilling 2.5-hour journey filled with snorkeling, swimming and dolphin sightseeing in the exciting waters of the Gulf of Mexico. With a maximum of six guests on this shared adventure, enjoy the perfect blend of excitement and tranquility as our skilled captain and crew guide you to the best snorkeling spots while keeping an eye out for playful dolphins. Your Panama City Beach sailing experience includes complimentary soda, water, beer, wine, sparkling wine, and sangria. Discover the pristine shores and stunning landscapes of Panama City Beach or Shell Island, adding an extra layer of magic to your experience. Book your fun-filled adventure today and set sail with us for an unforgettable day of snorkeling, swimming and dolphin sightseeing!