Nestled right off the shores of beautiful Panama City Beach, there's a little island gem that many locals love to frequent. Shell Island, the 7 mile long barrier island just a hop, skip, and ferry ride away, has become one of the best spots in town both for getting together with friends to enjoy a day on the water; or simply walking by yourself along an untouched, undeveloped stretch of beach.
If socializing is your cup of tea, opportunities to make new friends and connect with old ones are bountiful out at the Island. Feel free to make your own way there if you're a lucky boat owner, but if not, don't be discouraged! Shell Island Shuttle runs a ferry service from St. Andrews State Park nearly every hour during peak season, so you'll never have to wait long to catch a ride! PCB Shell Island Express Ferry also departs from the Captain Anderson's marina frequently, so you have your pick of departure locations. And for those who fancy themselves a sea captain but haven't been able to own your own vessel, Shell Island Shuttle also offers pontoon boat rentals! Load up your like new boat, and rent some snorkeling equipment too, you never know what beautiful creatures are waiting to meet you right below the surface of our crystal blue waters!
Speaking of majestic sea creatures, who wouldn't love to get up close and personal with some of our favorite locals, the bottle nosed dolphins! Take this once in a lifetime opportunity to go out on the water with an experienced local captain and witness these amazing mammals in their home environment. They love to leap and frolic and play, and there are few things more breathtaking than having a pod of these friendly animals swimming next to your boat in all their glory!
Of course, if you're looking for a more quiet, introspective experience, Shell Island has something to offer you, too. Rent a kayak and explore the "back country" side of the island, which is home to many animals including deer, osprey, heron, sting rays, and sea turtles. Feel free to bring along your snorkeling equipment and take a dip! Paddle-boards and bicycles are also available for rental, so take your pick and make your day at the Island an adventure!
Keep in mind that Shell Island is a protected, undeveloped area, and as such, there are no bathrooms, trash cans, or camping facilities available. To keep this beautiful piece of history intact for many years to come, be prepared to carry in everything you'll need to enjoy your day, and then take it with you when you leave! But above all, get out there and have fun!