Try These Incredible Shell Island Activities on your Family Vacation
July 12th 2021
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 it with care! Besides shell searching, swimming, and lounging on the beach, there are tons of family friendly tours offered by local Panama City Beach attractions and activities 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!
Table of Contents
- Shell Island Express Ferry
- Guided Shell Island Waverunner Tour
- Swim with the Dolphins at Shell Island
- Shell Island Eco-Sea-fari Tour and Dolphin Encounter
- Panama City Beach Helicopter Tour
- Adventure Tour With Inflatable Waterpark Aboard The Privateer Catamaran
- Beach & Lagoon Shelling Excursion
Shell Island Express Ferry
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 seabirds on the relaxing boat ride from Panama City Beach’s 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 around $10, 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 around 9:30am, and the last pickup of the day around 4:00pm, with the Ferry returning every 1.5 hours for your convenience.
Guided Shell Island Waverunner 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 two 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
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. This dolphin swim experience is an all ages tour, with all your essentials like snorkel gear included in the ticket price.
Shell Island Eco-Sea-fari Tour and Dolphin Encounter
You may be asking, ‘what is an Eco-Sea-fari’? A Shell Island Eco-Seafari Tour is the ultimate kid-friendly 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 seagulls, wade for sea shells, hold real Gulf 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 toddler friendly Panama City Beach Tour! The tour is narrated by an experienced captain, and the boat provides the most comfortable and spacious ride you could hope for.
Panama City Beach Helicopter Tour
Visit Shell Island... from hundreds of feet in the air! Get the aerial view of coastal Panama City Beach and Shell Island on a Panama City Beach Helicopter Tour. On the special Shell Island tour, get a birds-eye-view of Shell Island along with St. Andrews State Park, the Grand Lagoon, and MORE! Save up to $10 when you purchase online at TripShock.
Adventure Tour With Inflatable Waterpark Aboard The Privateer Catamaran
A day full of fun at Shell Island aboard the Privateer Catamaran
If you’re looking for a day of fun in the sun, look no further than the Adventure Tour aboard the Privateer Catamaran! This amazing excursion has everything you need for a full-fledged day of family-fun in the sun at Shell Island. This terrific tour takes you out to Shell Island aboard a calming and charming catamaran, and offers everything you need to soak up and enjoy the area’s natural beauty, including the following:
- Inflatable water slides
- Water trampoline
- Snorkel gear
- And MORE!
As you can see, the Adventure Tour aboard the Privateer Catamaran has something for everyone, so all you will need to worry about is soaking up the sun, and having a ton of fun! Not only that, this tour offers each participant one complimentary beer, wine, or non-alcoholic beverage. Guests will also enjoy front-row views of picturesque Panama City Beach, and maybe even some dazzling dolphin sightings along the way.
Beach & Lagoon Shelling Excursion
Shells collected during the Beach & Lagoon Shelling Excursion
When searching for the best Shell Island activities on your family vacation, consider taking a tour that shows just how this island oasis got its name! The Beach & Lagoon Shelling Excursion is a great way to do so, as a knowledgeable guide will take you to some of the best places to find shells on the island. Not only that, this tour comes equipped with a shelling guide, so participants can learn about the gorgeous shells they may encounter while strolling along Shell Island’s scenic shores. Popular shells you may see include the following:
Not only is this activity fun for the whole family, but it’s great for any occasion, from girls’ trips to romantic Panama City Beach getaways, to everything else in between! Shell Island’s 7-miles of undeveloped and uninhabited lands means natural beauty, whimsy, and wonder stretches as far as the eye can see, and ample opportunity for fun in the sun. Rest assured, any trip to Shell Island is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!
Find more information including images, details, and booking rates for all of these family friendly tours and more right here with the TripShock Panama City Beach Visitors Guide!
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