Last Updated on March 31, 2024

Dreaming of escaping the daily grind and immersing yourself in the beauty of a pristine island paradise?

Well, look no further than one of nature’s best-kept secrets – Shell Island, Florida.

But here’s the key – the best way to experience Shell Island is by hopping on one of these fantastic Shell Island tours.

Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast, a water sports fanatic, or simply looking to relax in the sun and surf, we’ve got you covered. 

I love visiting the Florida Panhandle and I’ve vetted the best tours from Shell Island! 

In this blog post, we’re going to introduce you to the six best Shell Island tours that will make your beach dreams a reality. 


Don’t Have Time To Read The Full Article? Book The Shell Island Snorkel And Dolphin Catamaran Cruise With Island Time  with a 5⭐️rating



Our Top 3 Picks: Shell Island Tours!

aerial drone shot of Shell Island boat cruise

Shell Island Snorkel And Dolphin Catamaran Cruise

Shell Island boat cruise in the middle of the ocean with a beautiful pink blue skies at the background

Shell Island Adventure 3 Hrs

playful dolphin following a boat cruise in a Shell Island tour sunset

2-Hour Dolphin & Sightseeing Tour in Shell Island

Best Shell Island Tours From Panama City Beach!

Shell Island boat cruise in the middle of the ocean with a beautiful pink blue skies at the background

Photo Credit- Fintastic Adventures

Tour Rating: New on Viator ⭐️     Length: 3 Hours      Check Rates Here

Starting off with a 3-hour adventure on a 27-foot boat, one of the faster and larger tour boats around, with Fintastic Adventures.

As a former marine mammal trainer, your Captain Ashley knows how to provide an unforgettable experience. 

During this guided snorkeling tour, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with playful dolphins in their natural habitat.

Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

“We had an absolute blast on this excursion! We saw a pod of dolphins and caught a crab while snorkeling at Shell Island. Captain Ashley is fun and very knowledgeable. 5 stars!”

Kristen_W ⭐

But the fun doesn’t stop there! 

You’ll also get to explore the hidden gems of the area that are only accessible by boat. 

That’s right, escape the crowded beaches and touristy shopping streets to discover the wonders of Shell Island, a pristine 7-mile-long uninhabited paradise. 

Here, you can relax on the beautiful beaches, search for unique sea shells such as the Junonia shell, catch hermit crabs, or dive into the crystal-clear waters for a spot of snorkeling. 

It’s your day to choose your own adventure!

What’s included in this tour: 

  • Snorkeling equipment

  • Cooler with ice



    a boy wearing a sky blue shirt and sunglasses while holding a big pink fish during a fishing and shelling boat tour in Shell Island

    Photo Credit- The Scream Machine

    Tour Rating: 5 Stars ⭐     Length: 5 Hours      Check Rates Here

    Get ready for an action-packed half-day adventure led by the one and only Captain “Extreme”, Eddie Brochin from Ultimate Outdoors TV!

    This charismatic guide will take you on a journey to Shell Island, where you’ll dive headfirst into hours of fishing, shelling, and swimming. 

    No need to worry about the details – your knowledgeable guides have got you covered with all the necessary bait, tackle, and supplies.

    As you head off on this great experience, you can relax on board the Crown Jewel, enjoying the gorgeous waters and catching some fresh fish.

    Go for a swim in the crystal-clear waters of Shell Island, all while snacking on some treats to keep your energy up. 

    With a convenient meeting point and easy navigation, your adventure with Captain “Extreme” promises an unforgettable day.

    Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

    “Really nice day out with Captain Joe and Cosmo. Big boat with a ton of toys for kids. Joe was very nice and had a lot of good information about the Sarasota area, would go out again if we were back in the area.”

    Charlie_C ⭐

    ✅ What’s included in this tour:

    • Fishing tackle

    • Cleaning and gutting

    • Bottled water

    • Snacks



    A family of 6 with 2 kids and 4 adults at Shell Island during a Dolphin and Snorkel tour

    Photo Credit- Papa Joe’s Pontoons

    Tour Rating: 5 Stars ⭐     Length: 3 Hours      Check Rates Here

    Prepare for a truly personalized 3-hour private excursion that puts you in the hands of experienced captains.

    This tour is excellent for those looking for some great family fun!

    Not only will the captains expertly navigate the boat, but they’ll also be your guides to the best spots and share their deep passion for our local waters with you. 

    During this small group (up to 6) exclusive adventure, the options are endless.

    You can take a swim, snorkel to explore underwater wonders, go shelling, lay in the sun, cruise on the boat, and spend quality tour time at the breathtaking Shell Island. 

    Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

    “Captain Chandler was great. Very knowledgeable about the area. Knew where to find the dolphins and sea turtles. Educated the kids on finding sand dollars. Knew where to go to see dear. Good music. Ice-cold waters on board. Gave us plenty of time to explore Shell Island. Beautiful sunset!”

    Carolyn_B ⭐

    But that’s not all – the highlight of the tour is the chance to get up close and personal with the most famous locals, the playful dolphins, and other fascinating marine life in their natural home. 

    ✅ What’s included in this tour:

    • Snorkel gear

    • Bottled water



    aerial view drone shot of Shell Island boat cruise by Island Sailing Time

    Photo Credit- Island Time Sailing

    Tour Rating: 5 Stars ⭐     Length: 3 Hours      Check Rates Here

    Experience an unforgettable catamaran sailing trip to the pristine shores of Shell Island, right from the coast of Panama City Beach.

    This spacious 50-foot catamaran, “Island Time,” promises a comfortable and stable ride, ensuring a smooth journey, unlike smaller boats that tend to rock in the waves. 

    Equipped with paddle boards, snorkeling gear, and even a waterslide, it’s your perfect hub for splashing around in the crystal-clear waters around Shell Island.

    On this popular tour, you’ll have the freedom to choose from an array of activities at Shell Island, from snorkeling to sunbathing, and everything in between.

    Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

    “Great time from start to finish. Crew was awesome. The best part of our vacation. Would do it again. The time spent at shell Island was absolutely beautiful 😍”

    Chad_D ⭐

    If you’re up for it, dive into the shallow water grass flats of St. Andrews Bay, where you’ll search for sand dollars, starfish, tropical fish, and other mesmerizing sea creatures. 

    As you sail the Gulf of Mexico, the crew will set the sails while you unwind to the soothing tunes and your choice of beverage, including our famous “Island Smash” rum punch.

    Keep your eyes peeled for friendly dolphin companions who frequently make appearances.

    This adventure is designed for large groups of up to 14 so the whole family and your friends can have a blast.

    ✅ What’s included in this tour:

    • Snorkeling equipment

    • Paddleboards

    • Life jackets



      playful dolphin following a boat cruise in a Shell Island tour sunset

      Photo Credit- Beachy Boat Rentals

      Tour Rating: 5 Stars ⭐     Length: 2 Hours      Check Rates Here

      Uncover the unspoiled allure of Shell Island, just minutes away from the bustling streets of Panama City.

      This next cruise invites you to join a sightseeing journey around Shell Island, beginning with a glide across St. Andrews Bay, where you might even catch a glimpse of wild bottle-nosed dolphins.

      If you opt for the afternoon sunset cruise (which I recommend you do), as the day unfolds and you venture further into the Gulf coast, you’ll be treated to a breathtaking sunset on the water, away from the crowds on the shore.

      During the last portion of the trip, get your cameras ready to capture memorable moments as bottlenose dolphins frolic in St. Andrew’s Bay with a seaside sunset backdrop.

      Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

      “The overall ride was an experience! Seeing plenty of dolphins, Shell Island, & St. Andrews Park was memorable. Our tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable & patient… The white sand beaches looked so pristine & untouched! The sunset over the Gulf was breathtaking! This will be an annual tour for us!!”

      Timothy_J ⭐


      Plus, this tour is a great way to escape the heat with cooler evening temperatures.

      Book your relaxing, nature-filled excursion now, where you’ll spend quality time dolphin-watching in their natural habitat and witness the most beautiful sunset as you sail around the beauty of St. Andrews Bay and Shell Island.

      ✅ What’s included in this tour:

      • Bottled water



      a happy family of 6 with 2 kids enjoying a boat cruise going to Shell Island

      Photo Credit- Into the Blue Excursions

      Tour Rating: 5 Stars ⭐     Length: 2 Hours      Check Rates Here

      This last tour with Into the Blue Excursions will take you through the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City Beach, Florida.

      As the top-tier sightseeing tour operator in the region, they offer exceptional experiences you can rely on. 

      You will travel in style aboard the fast, luxurious, and comfortable boats, equipped with shade and a restroom for your convenience. 

      Whether you’re a visitor or a local, the experienced, fully USCG-licensed captains and passionate crew are dedicated to marine animals and eager to share their knowledge and greater understanding of the area with you, ensuring a fun, safe, and engaging experience for all on board.

      Here’s what a past guest said about this tour:

      “Captain Casey made sure we got up close and personal with the dolphins! Had one within a foot away from the boat! Very knowledgeable on the area and the wildlife, super nice guy! Definitely worth the money. I highly recommend it!”

      Brittany_S ⭐


      Indeed, these friendly dolphins love to swim alongside the boats, providing you with a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal and snap some awesome photos. 

      ✅ What’s included in this tour:

      • Soda/Pop



      family of four in a boat cruise

      Shell Island Tours – Frequently Asked Questions

      How Much Does It Cost To Go To Shell Island?

      The cost of a tour of Shell Island can vary depending on the type of tour you choose and how many people you are bringing with you. 

      It typically ranges from $50 to $70 per person for various tours including private charters. 

      Is Shell Island Worth Going To?

      Absolutely! Shell Island is definitely worth a visit.

      Its pristine beauty, local wildlife, and activities make it a must-see destination on your Panama City Beach vacation.

      How Long Is The Ferry Ride To Shell Island?

      The ferry ride to visit Shell Island can take around 10-20 minutes, depending on where you depart from and the departure time.

      How Long Is A Shell Island Tour?

      The duration of a Shell Island tour can vary, with options ranging from 2 to 5 hours of fun for guided tours, allowing you to explore all of this stunning natural oasis and its unique attractions.



      Best shell island tour from Panama City Beach FL

      Final Thoughts: Shell Island Tours

      Shell Island excursions offer an unforgettable escape into the natural wonders of Panama City Beach Florida.

      From dolphin encounters to snorkeling adventures and the sheer beauty of this uninhabited island, it’s a destination that truly has something for everyone. 

      Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend getaway or a traveler seeking paradise adventures, Shell Island delivers an experience that’s worth every penny. 

      With the various options we unpacked today and the stunning landscapes awaiting you, it’s clear that this hidden gem is indeed a local must-see location. 




      Still Haven’t Decided? I Recommend Shell Island Snorkel And Dolphin Catamaran Cruise with a 5⭐️rating



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