With sparkling clear water bordering its sugar-white sandy shore, Shell Island is a rare opportunity to experience a beach as nature intended, without any distractions. Accessible but preserved, Shell Island is seven miles of undeveloped paradise nestled between the gulf and St. Andrew Bay and inhabited by diverse wildlife. Shell Island has all the makings of a perfect activity-filled beach vacation.
Connect with Wildlife
Shell Island has been inhabited at one time or another by Native Americans, Spanish settlers, and even pirates. Today, Shell Island is home to beloved Florida wildlife, such as deer, ghost crabs, and sea turtles. Birdwatchers, in particular, will love the shorebirds nesting in the dunes and coastal scrub forest. And around the island lives a pod of bottlenose dolphins waiting to greet you.
Go Boating, Snorkeling & More
Experience the ultimate beach day at Shell Island. Families can enjoy everything from sunbathing and beachcombing (the island is home to countless indigenous shells) to kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling.
With plenty of beach services and rentals in Panama City Beach, bring rental beach chairs and umbrellas to enjoy your day trip that much more. The Shell Island Shuttle offers transportation to and from the popular destination and allows coolers and other beach equipment onboard. Through the shuttle service, depending on the season, you can rent various watercraft, including pontoons, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as bikes.
Another way to enjoy and explore the island is on a dolphin tour. Local companies like Flippers Dolphin Tours and Osprey Charters offer personalized tours via boat or jet ski in search of the friendly aquatic creatures living around Shell Island.
Shell Island may feel remote but is easy to access. During the peak summer months, the Shell Island Shuttle runs the short distance from Adventures at Sea every half-hour depending on weather and water conditions. Dates and times vary depending on the season. Another option is the PCB Shell Island Express Ferry, which offers snack bar concessions. Be sure to call ahead for times and reservations, particularly in the off-season.
If you'd like to determine your schedule and enjoy privacy with your family and friends, there are plenty of rental companies offering a selection of boat rentals (with or without a captain and crew). For a unique outing, consider charting a sailboat from Aquatic Adventures or traveling by banana boat around the island with Adventures at Sea.
When visiting, please keep in mind that Shell Island is undeveloped. Consequently, there are no concession stands, restrooms, picnic pavilions, or trash cans available on-site. So, go prepared and take everything with you when you leave to prevent littering and water pollution in this scenic oasis.
When searching for things to do in Panama City Beach, put Shell Island at the top of your list, and explore a world, beautiful and untouched, with your family and friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to go to Shell Island?
You can travel by boat or jet ski to Shell Island. You can travel on the St. Andrews Shuttle to Shell Island for $24.95 for ages 13 and older, $17.95 for children ages 2-12, and infants 0 to 1 years old are free. There are also several places to rent a jet ski a pontoon boat.
What is unique about Shell Island?
Shell Island is seven miles of undeveloped scenery between the Gulf and St. Andrew Bay. At one point, Shell Island was inhabited by Native Americans, Spanish Settlers, and even pirates. Wildlife like deer, sea turtles, ghost crabs, and around the Island, shorebirds will nest. Also, your favorite bottlenose dolphins will be around the island swimming to greet you.
Can you swim at Shell Island?
Shell Island offers swimming on its Gulf side and Bay side. The undeveloped Island has water all around it for ultimate fun and a lot of room for relaxing comfort. Snorkeling is also a fun activity to explore the turquoise waters.
When is Shell Island open?
Because Shell Island is an undeveloped island, there are no official hours. Jet ski and boat rental tours range from 8am-5pm.
Are there restrooms on Shell Island?
Due to Shell Island being an undeveloped area, there are no restrooms available.