Shell Island is a hot destination for travelers who are visiting the Panama City Beach area. This little island is undeveloped, which makes it the perfect spot for visitors to access the beauty of Florida in its natural state.

There are many activities to do on and around Shell Island, including kayaking, boating, hiking, and snorkeling. Bottlenose dolphin experiences are also quite popular since Shell Island is home to several pods of these majestic sea creatures.

Let’s take a look at some of the top Shell Island dolphin tours for visitors who are looking to encounter dolphins in their natural habitat.


1. Dolphins & Snorkeling Split Charter


Aerial photo of boats at a marina at an inlet. There is a sandbar by one of the barrier reefs where people are standing in the water.


Shell Island is encompassed by the As we mentioned, there is so much to do and see on Shell Island. Visitors can make the most of their time by doing a split charter to snorkel and encounter dolphins.

Dolphin Seafari offers a 2-hour Split Charter Dolphin & Snorkeling Tour for those who want to bundle both experiences into one. These tours cost $55/person. All ages are welcome, so they are suitable for the whole family.

These tours go out every two hours so there are plenty of time slots to choose from. Sunset tours are available, as well!

This tour takes visitors to the best stops for swimming with dolphins and snorkeling around the island. As you cruise to these spots, our guides will share everything you need to know about the underwater life that surrounds shell island.


2. Private Dolphin Tours


Pod of marine animals swimming in the ocean.


What’s better than some one-on-one interaction with one of the most intelligent creatures in the sea? Dolphin Seafari offers private tours for individuals and groups that want to experience the dolphins of Shell Island with only their own party.

These tours are centered around in-water interactions. Our knowledgeable guides will bring you to a dolphin hot spot where you can hop in and swim with the local dolphins.

Private tours are great for groups that are looking for a more intimate experience or are trying to limit exposure to other groups in order to make their excursions more COVID-friendly. Another perk of private tours is that you can decide how long you want to stay in a specific area.

These private dolphin tours cost $300 for up to 6 guests, which comes out to $50/person. This is a great deal if you have a group of this size! Dolphin Seafari can accommodate larger groups with proper notice. If your group has more than 6 people, please call 850-960-8107 to check availability.


3. Private Dolphin Snorkeling, and Walking Tours


Man swimming with snorkeling gear in the ocean. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue.


Looking for a private dolphin tour with a little bit more? Dolphin Seafari also offers dolphin experiences that include snorkeling and walking tours.

These experiences are perfect for visitors that want to experience both the land and sea aspects of Shell Island because this guided tour gives visitors access to all that the island has to offer.

These private tours are $400 for up to 6 people, which is less than $70/person. That is an absolute steal for a 3-hour tour! Children and infants are welcome on this tour, so it is a great option if you want to make memories with your little one.

Again, Dolphin Seafari can accommodate larger groups so please feel free to call ahead to check availability if your group has more than 6 guests.


4. Dolphin Jet Ski Tours


Image of a man riding a jetski in the shallow end of the ocean.


Looking for a sportier type of dolphin tour around Shell Island? Jet skis offer a fun way to experience dolphins in their natural habitat.

These watercraft allow you to cover more ground in a shorter period of time which is a plus if you want to see more of the local area. This type of tour is great for guests who want a little boost of adrenaline as they run the waves.

Another cool aspect of jet ski tours is that dolphins get curious about the wake that jets skis cause which is a fun little bonus.

Most jet ski rentals in the state of Florida require that the primary driver holds a valid driver’s license. Drivers born after 1988 will be required to take a simple test for a temporary boating safety license if they do not already hold one.

Please note that many jet ski rental and tour companies have minimum ages for riders, so this option might not be suitable for families with small children.

Fun PCB offers a 2-hour jet ski tour for $120. These tours are significantly pricier, but it’s a bit of a different experience.


5. Self-Guided Dolphin Tours


Photo of pontoon boats anchored by an island that has very steep rock cliffs.


While exploring Shell Island with an expert is a great way to learn a lot of information in a little bit of time, some visitors prefer to take it slow. The best way to do this is to rent a boat of your own! That way, you can head out on the open water and park wherever you see fit.

Pontoons are notoriously easy to drive, so no experience is necessary to rent one of these. The beauty of St. Andrew’s Bay is that the water is generally quite smooth, so you don’t have to worry if this is your first time captaining a boat.

Dolphin Seafari offers pontoon rentals, so you and your group can explore Shell Island at your own pace. You can rent a 12 passenger pontoon boat for $189 for 4 hours or $299 for 8 hours.

This rate includes safety equipment, fuel, a swimming ladder, and more. All you’ve got to do is bring your cooler, some sunblock, and your loved ones!

If you decide to go this route, be sure to ask our team to point out dolphin hotspot areas on the map so that you know where to encounter


Book Your Shell Island Dolphin Tour

You can’t visit Panama City Beach without exploring the beauty of Shell IslandDolphins are such majestic creatures, and interacting with them in their natural habitat is an experience like no other.

If you are looking for an unforgettable Shell Island dolphin tour, we recommend trying out one of the three dolphin experiences from Dolphin Seafari Tours. Whether you’re traveling solo or you’re traveling with a larger group, we have plenty of options for you.

Head over to our booking portal to reserve your spot today!

Book a Dolphin Tour