Shell Island is a small, uninhabited island off the shore of Panama City Beach, Florida. Since it isn’t developed, it gives visitors a glimpse at Florida’s beauty in its most natural state.

Snorkeling around Shell Island is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. The beautiful reefs paired with the calm, shallow waters of the Gulf make it an ideal snorkeling situation for people of all ages and levels of expertise.

There are quite a few types of tours for snorkeling around Shell Island ranging from private charters to group experiences. That said, let’s take a look at five of the best ways to go snorkeling near Shell Island, Florida.


1. Split Charter Snorkeling and Dolphin Tour


Aerial view of people snorkeling in clear tropical waters


One of the most common ways to snorkel around Shell Island is a split dolphin and snorkeling tour. The waterways surrounding Shell Island are home to several pods of bottlenose dolphins, so dolphin experiences are just as popular as snorkeling tours.

Dolphin Seafari offers a split charter snorkeling and dolphin tour, so you can experience the reefs and interact with dolphins in their natural habitat. These tours are two hours long and they cost $55 per person. The fee includes snorkel equipment, life jackets, and drinks.

What makes our snorkeling tours so special is how involved our captains are. Each member of our team has a deep understanding of the local ecosystem, so they will get in the water with you to help you identify the different fish and creatures that you see.

Dolphin Seafari’s tours are great for people of all ages, so the entire family can join in the fun. Tours run every two and a half hours from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The daily 6:00 PM tour is a sunset tour, which is an extra special experience.

This is a great option for smaller parties that don’t mind being part of a group with other visitors.


2. Private Snorkeling and Dolphin Tour


Image of teen boy with snorkeling gear in shallow tropical water.


Looking for a private snorkeling experience? Dolphin Seafari offers just that! Guests can book a two-hour snorkeling and dolphin experience for just their party. That means you could have the whole boat to yourself and the dedicated attention of a knowledgeable guide.

This private snorkeling tour is nice because it gives guests a bit more flexibility on where they stop and for how long. For example, if your party would rather spend more time snorkeling than swimming with dolphins, that is what you’ll get.

Private snorkeling and dolphin tours at Dolphin Seafari cost $300 for six guests for two hours. We can accommodate larger groups upon request, so please call us at (850) 358-1013 if your party has more people.

Private tours are great for families who are still trying to social distance and minimize contact with other people as they travel.


3. Private Snorkeling, Walking, and Dolphin Tour


Tween boy with a snorkel mask in shallow water. He's holding up a starfish he found.


One of the most remarkable things about Shell Island is that it is surrounded by beauty both on land and below the water. Why not add a guided walking tour of the island to your adventure?

Dolphin Seafari offers private snorkeling, walking, and dolphin tours so that you can experience both the land and sea aspects of Shell Island. The walking aspect of the tour gives you access to Shell Island’s jetties and sandy beaches.

Private snorkeling, walking, and dolphin tours from Dolphin Seafari are three hours long and cost $400 for up to six passengers.

Multiple boats go out for these private tours, so give us a call ahead of time to make accommodations for groups with more than six people.


4. Snorkel-Only Tours


Photo of young man snorkeling. The photo is shot from half in the water and half out. The boy's hand is extended as if to grab something towards the camera.


Only interested in snorkeling at Shell Island? Some tour companies offer snorkel-only tours. These tours are well-suited for visitors who would rather spend more time exploring life under the sea instead of having dolphin interactions or strolling on the beach.

Some popular companies that offer snorkel-only tours of Shell Island include Lagoon Pontoons and Island Time Sailing. Both companies offer catamaran snorkel tours, and they are each about $50 per adult.

Many companies, including Dolphin Seafari, offer dolphin and snorkel tours for about the same price, so there isn’t much of a bargain by opting for only snorkeling. It simply comes down to what you are most interested in doing.


5. Self-Guided Snorkeling Around Shell Island


Man with professional SCUBA suit wearing snorkeling gear. He is on a boat in the water near an island.


Another great way to explore all that Saint Andrew Bay and Shell Island have to offer is by renting a pontoon boat and taking a self-guided tour. This lets you go at your own pace and make a whole day of fun on the water.

Dolphin Seafari offers half-day and full-day pontoon rentals. Half-day rentals cost $150 plus tax and full-day rentals cost $185 plus tax. These boats can accommodate up to 12 guests, which means that it would come out to as little as $13 per person.

Boats are equipped with safety gear, a swim ladder, and fuel. Inquire about snorkel equipment rentals or bring your own.

New to boating? No worries! Pontoon boats are suitable for drivers of any level of expertise, especially in calm waters like the ones that surround Shell Island.

Be sure to ask one of our team members to point out the best snorkeling spots on the map so that you don’t miss any of the underwater wonders!


Snorkel at Sea Near Shell Island – See You Soon!

Snorkeling around Shell Island is the perfect way to spend your time on the Panhandle. There are so many ways to tap into this experience.

Whether you’re looking to combine your Shell Island snorkeling experience with a dolphin encounter or you’d like to rent a pontoon to cruise the area at a slower pace, there is an option for you.

Are you ready to add a Shell Island snorkeling excursion to your Panama City Beach itinerary? Head over to our booking portal to reserve a spot for your group!