Shell Island

Shell Island is unquestionably one of the top attractions to explore during a vacation to Panama City Beach. No trip here is complete without visiting this fascinating natural wonder at least one time.

This wildlife habitat is strictly protected to keep it beautiful and pristine and offers an incredible haven for swimming, shell hunting and beach going.

As one of the most popular Panama City Beach things to do, you and your group are sure to love the clear blue water, sugary sand, colorful shells, and playful dolphins of Shell Island.

panama city beach things to do

Shell Hunting at Shell Island

Shell Island offers some exciting shell hunting opportunities as the name suggests, but keep in mind that some of the areas that get a lot of foot traffic will have fewer shells. Spend some time scouring the island’s less visited areas to find gems such as conch shells, starfish, sand dollars and more!

Wildlife Viewing at Shell Island

Shell Island has a fascinating amount of local wildlife including dolphins, loggerhead turtles, green sea turtles, ghost crabs, beach mice, nine-banded armadillos, alligators that live in the lake on the island, marsh rabbits, racoons and more.

This small island has an incredible range of species for its size so bring a camera along! There’s a very good chance that you’ll be able to spot bottlenose dolphins from the shore, but go snorkeling or take a dolphin viewing tour to guarantee an interaction with these friendly creatures.

Snorkeling at Shell Island

Snorkeling at Shell Island is very popular and one of the best ways to see the bottlenose dolphins and other ocean wildlife up close. There are shallow snorkeling areas near St. Andrews State Park right across from Shell Island that are ideal for smaller children as well. You can rent snorkeling gear from the Shell Island Shuttle or several other local rental companies.

Getting to Shell Island

The easiest and most convenient way to get to Shell Island is through one of the local ferry services. They offer multiple trips to the island throughout the day. Pack up a cooler with food and drinks, some sunscreen and beach gear, towels and umbrellas and head over to one of the nearby ferries from Dunes of Panama.

The ferries run from around 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer, 7 days a week. Service is usually about every 30 minutes or so, and it’s common for people to spend 1 to 4 hours on the island.

Options to get to Shell Island include:

  • The Shell Island Shuttle from St. Andrews Park
  • The PCB Island Express Ferry from Capt. Anderson’s Marina

Dockside parking is available at the marinas where the ferries depart.

Things to Remember When Visiting Shell Island

  • When preparing to visit Shell Island, remember that it is a protected natural wildlife refuge with no concession stands or restroom facilities, so bring everything you’ll need with you and use the restroom right before you leave.
  • You can take any shells with you that you find, but be sure that there are no living inhabitants in them!
  • Take back anything that you bring with you to the island and clean up any garbage.
  • Pets unfortunately are not allowed on Shell Island.

Dunes of Panama offers convenient access to Shell Island

Dunes of Panama is conveniently located near Shell Island and offers you the utmost in luxury and amenities while exploring this incredible natural attraction and so many others that are available to you in the Panama City Beach Area.

This extraordinary barrier island is worth visiting any time of year, so don’t miss it during your next trip to Panama City Beach!

Give us a call today at 1-800-874-2412 or 850-234-8839 or send an email to for more information about the luxurious and comfortable accommodations at Dunes of Panama!