Shell Island Eco-Tour & Dolphin Encounter

Family Adventures and Dolphin Tours!

Come on out and discover one of the favorite spots for locals and visitors – pristine and uninhabited SHELL ISLAND in Panama City Beach FL!

Let our large Double Decker, Glass Bottom Boat- The Capt. Anderson III take your family from the Grand Lagoon (don’t forget to check out the nesting osprey’s on the way), through St. Andrew’s Bay over to the dock at legendary Spanish Shanty Cove on Shell Island. This 7-1/2 mile long, 1/2 mile wide stretch of sand is a barrier island sitting at the mouth of St. Andrew’s Bay. Written records of early Spanish expeditions reported sightings of “tall” Indians living in lodges thatched with palm trees along many magnificent harbors and deep pockets customary to this area. The Spanish explorers built several forts and outposts along the Gulf Coast…one was in a sheltered shallow-water cove on Shell Island, still known as Spanish Shanty Cove.

While on Shell Island you can do everything you normally do at the beach with one big difference – no big buildings behind you! This section of the island is part of St. Andrew’s State Park and as close to nature as possible with pristine white sand stretching as far as the eye can see! Sea oats cover the dunes and turtle nest sites are protected.

  • Easiest & Most Convenient way to get to Shell Island
  • FREE – Large dockside parking lot at Marina
  • Private dock with SHORTEST walk to Gulf
  • Bring your necessities (and take everything back!)
  • The boat stays with you at the dock for restrooms and refreshments.
  • Swimming, Shelling, Snorkeling, Sunbathing
  • Snorkeling gear and required flag not provided
  • No COOLERS or ALCOHOL permitted on this vessel
**For SECURITY purposes, Customers MUST present the Credit Card used and Photo ID at the Ticket Office window when signing receipt and picking up trip tickets**
We also offer group rates of (20+Adults)! Please call the ticket office for a quote.

Click Here to Book Now


CAPT. ANDERSON III SIGHTSEEING BOAT


AHOY MATEY! Come cruise with us on the Capt. Anderson III for family adventures and Dolphin Tours in Panama City Beach you are sure to love! The Capt. Anderson III has an enclosed and climate controlled lower deck with viewing windows all the way around, complete with a snack bar, restrooms and an open air viewing deck on the bow. The open upper deck seating area is covered, providing shelter from the elements, while also allowing the perfect place to feel the sea breeze. There are specially constructed side panels making it safe for the whole family to be right at the edge and not miss a thing.

*We carry FULL Certification for School Groups up to 200! To have the 2021 SCHOOL FIELD TRIP INFORMATION SHEET sent to you, contact Portia Poole at 850-234-3435 or send request to captanderstix@aol.com.

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  • SPRING 2021 SCHEDULE March 1st MON-SAT 1:00 – 4:30 PM, 5/10 – 5/28 EVERY DAY 1:00 – 4:30
  • SUMMER 2021 SCHEDULE 5/28 – 8/1- 2 TRIPS EVERY DAY: 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM ; 1:00 – 4:30 PM
  • FALL-WINTER 2021 SCHEDULE 8/1 – 10/31 EVERY DAY 1:00 – 4:30 PM
  • FOR PRIVATE CHARTER BOOKINGS YOU MUST CALL THE TICKET OFFICE TO BOOK

Get ready for a truly educational, unique and above all THE MOST FUN experience there is in Panama City Beach! This 3-1/2 HR narrated adventure is a combination of our traditional Shell Island cruise, with the addition of the net pull in St. Andrews Bay during the unique Seafari Eco-Tour, and cap it all off as we do on EVERY cruise on the Capt. Anderson III with our traditional Dolphin Encounter!

We begin the journey in the Historic Grand Lagoon, where you can feed the sea gulls who flock to greet visitors, as we point out sights such as the nesting ospreys; or perhaps you’ll see a dolphin trying to get a free lunch from the floating bait shack! From the Grand Lagoon we pass beautiful St. Andrews Park and cross through what locals call “The Pass” between the jetties of the park and Shell Island, entering into the St. Andrews Bay.

St. Andrews Bay is the most diverse estuary in North America, with over 3,600 species of marine life!

When we reach the point where it is time for the Seafari Eco-Tour, imagine the excitement as you watch the trawl net pulled aboard with a variety of aquatic wonders and sea shells; it’s like opening a Christmas present from St. Andrews Bay – you never know what we will find! Learn about the wonders of the natural ecosystem as you view the creatures from the aquarium, or if possible you can touch or even hold it! Our visitors are encouraged to take home any of the unoccupied shells that are brought up.


The Capt. Anderson III will also take you for a one hour stop at Shell Island, to a private dock located in Spanish Shanty Cove, a portion of the Island that is part of St. Andrew’s State Park. The boat will remain there while you explore the island. This dock has a short boardwalk taking you right to the beautiful white sandy beach stretching as far as the eye can see! Shell Island is a 7-1/2 mile long and a very narrow barrier island separating the Gulf of Mexico from St. Andrews Bay. You will have an hour at your leisure to swim, go shelling, explore, picnic, or just relax and enjoy the beautiful and pristine uninhabited island. There is nothing there but nature “As God Made It”, so please heed the signs posted for turtle nesting, etc., bring back everything you take, and above all, breathe in the serenity of not having walls of condos and civilization all around you!

After boarding the boat again, we’ll all go watch the wild Bottlenose Dolphins frolicking in their natural habitat during the Dolphin Encounter. Don’t forget to bring your camera as St. Andrew’s Bay is home to a large population of these Dolphins, we love seeing all the new babies surfacing alongside their mothers. An encounter with these beautiful, intelligent creatures is very common in the bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and all passengers will be lively engaged in the “Dolphin Watch” and subsequent viewing on this trip.

  • The most UNIQUE experience in Panama City Beach
  • Hands-on with diverse sea life
  • See beautiful Shell Island and Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Historical narration by the captain
  • Wading and shell collecting
  • Private dock with a shorter walk to Gulf
  • Restrooms and Snack Bar on board – we stay at the dock
SHELL ISLAND ECO TOUR & DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER PRICES
ADULTCHILD (2-11)SENIORMILITARY
$30.00$20.00$28.00$28.00
*Prices include Florida sales tax and State Park fees. Children under 2 years old ride free.

Click Here to Book Now


**For SECURITY purposes, Customers MUST present the Credit Card used and Photo ID at the Ticket Office window when signing receipt and picking up trip tickets**
We also offer group rates of (20+ Adults)! Please call the ticket office for a quote.

Book Your Tour Now!

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