Nestled between the sparkling Gulf of Mexico and the tranquil St. Andrews Bay lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered: Shell Island. This untouched barrier island offers a slice of paradise that promises to rejuvenate your spirit and create unforgettable memories. From pristine beaches to vibrant marine life, let's delve in to the top activities that make Shell Island a must-visit destination.

Seashell Treasure Hunt

Shell Island lives up to its name. Sand dollars, moon snails, conch shells, pin shells, periwinkles, whelk and olive shells are just a few of the indigenous seashells found here. And, as long as there are no creatures living in them, there is no limit to how many of these one-of-a-kind souvenirs you can take home with you. Embark on a leisurely stroll along the shoreline and uncover an array of stunning shells.

Nature Trails and Wildlife Spotting

For nature lovers, Shell Island presents a plethora of opportunities. Explore the island's undulating sand dunes and pine hammocks that provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the island's natural, untouched beauty. Encounter a diverse array of wildlife, including docile deer, nesting shorebirds, elusive ghost crabs, bottlenose dolphins, and perhaps even a glimpse of the island's most special inhabitants- the endangered sea turtles. 

Picnic in Paradise

Pack a cooler or picnic basket and relish a serene day by the shoreline. Shell Island is big on nature and low on commercial trappings - you won't find concession stands, restroom facilities, picnic pavilions or trash receptacles. So, when you come, be prepared and plan to bring containers or bags to take out everything you brought in. 

Water Adventures

The waters surrounding Shell Island beckon adventure seekers. Whether you're snorkeling in the crystal-clear shallows, kayaking along the coast, or simply enjoying a leisurely swim, the island offers a wealth of aquatic experiences. Remember to bring your own equipment and adhere to responsible water activity practices.

Shell Island Shuttle and Boat Tours

To reach Shell Island, you can choose between various transportation options. The Shell Island Shuttle provides convenient access, running daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during spring and summer, offering beach accessories and snacks for sale during peak seasons. Alternatively, rent a boat or jet ski and relish the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Fishing Extravaganza

Panama City Beach boasts fantastic fishing, and Shell Island is no exception. Cast a line from the shore, charter a boat, or try your hand at fishing from a pontoon. Remember to obtain a fishing license and enjoy the thrill of reeling in some remarkable catches.

 

Fun in the Sun Forget Me Nots

  • Towels
  • Cooler or picnic basket with food and drinks
  • Snorkel gear
  • Fishing gear
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Beach chairs and umbrella

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History of Shell Island

Panama City Beach, Florida’s stunning undeveloped gem was originally known as Lands End Peninsula. The island was officially created when the Gulf-Bay Pass was dredged in the 1930s. Today, the undeveloped land serves as home to Florida wildlife, such as deer, ghost crabs, and sea turtles. Bird lovers can admire the shorebirds nesting in the dunes and nearby coastal scrub forest. 

Is Shell Island Worth a Visit?

Yes! Shell Island is a state nature preserve as part of the Florida State Parks System with sugary white sand beaches, and turquoise waters. 

The island is completely undeveloped, meaning there are no trash cans, picnic pavilions, restrooms, or concession stands. Visitors are expected to take everything they brought to the island with them upon leaving. 

How Do You Get to Shell Island? 

Shell Island is only accessible via jet ski or boat. The official Shell Island Shuttle carries passengers between the mainland and the island. The approximately 10-minute boat ride leaves from Adventures at Sea every half-hour depending on weather and water conditions. During the summer months, the Shell Island Shuttle frequently sets up a mobile store with fishing and snorkeling rentals.

For those looking for a more laidback adventure, consider contacting one of the area’s many rental companies offering a selection of boat rentals

Can I Fish from Shell Island? 

Fishing is a popular activity at Shell Island with a variety of species living nearby. Fishing is allowed from the land and private boats in the waterways surrounding the island. Don’t forget to obtain a fishing license before you go!

Chasin' the Sun TV

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Shell Island

What is the best time of day to go to Shell Island?  It is best to visit in the mornings to avoid the heat of the day. In the summer, afternoon showers may make visiting more difficult. 

What is the weather like on Shell Island? The weather on Shell Island is typically warm with a coastal breeze. 

Is Shell Island Pet Friendly? Leashed dogs are allowed. 

Can you swim at Shell Island? Yes, Shell Island offers swimming on all sides of the island. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards. 

Are there restrooms available? Shell Island is an undeveloped island. There are no restrooms available. 

What should I bring to Shell Island? The island is not developed, so bring anything with you that you may need during the visit. Suggestions include towels, sunscreen, beach chairs, a picnic lunch and/or snacks, drinks, and fishing gear. Remember to take everything with you as you depart the island, leaving no trace.