Where Should You Go Shelling in Panama City Beach?

Panama City Beach is one of the most sought-after beach destinations in the United States for anyone who is “in the know.”

Known as a quiet respite, away from the traditional large-crowd vibes of Florida’s Miami and Ft. Lauderdale beaches, Panama City Beach captures Old Florida energy with comfortable relaxation. 

And you can see that best exemplified with the many shellers lining the beach. What is shelling all about and how can you find the finest shells right outside the Panama City Beach condos?

shells panama city beach

Shell Island

Shell Island is an apt name. Shell Island Panama City Beach is a divine sand-soaked haven- a 7-mile stretch of undeveloped land snug between the St Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Its iconic for its vast views of the water in every direction, crystal-clear blue waters, and light sand. Shell Island is only accessible by some kind of water vessel, though something with a motor is recommended. 

Numerous local providers offer special trips to and from Shell Island. This includes Shell Island Boat Rentals and Shell Island Beach Tours. Both providers will take you and a small group out for the day, offering local insight into the wildlife and the shells you can discover.

Shell Island Panama City Beach, Florida, does not have the convenient amenities you may get from a land-0attached and highly-trafficked public beach. Prepare by bringing coolers, sunscreen, extra clothes, and other daily essentials.  

If you want an alternative option with a few more conveniences, we recommend St. Andrews State Park. Visitors can come to camp overnight, kayak, walk the trails, and simply relax on the white sands. The park encompasses 1,200 acres of dunes and maritime hammocks. It is $8 per vehicle and it is open from 8 a.m. to sundown every day of the year. It is a top place for some good local Florida fishing!


The history is rich despite the island only being about three-quarters of a mile wide. Native Americans have settled right here, building shell mounds and shelters right along the waters. The Native Americans developed a special fondness for fishing, and used inventive techniques to live almost solely on fish, often brought further inland for trade. There’s even some pirate history in the area for you pirate booty lovers.

What Shells You’ll See

Shell Island and neighboring St. Andrews State Park are home to an assortment of shells. The most common shells you’ll find are conch shells, with big wraparound tail and maybe even a spike or two. Pin shells, smaller and usually smoother, are also common.

Whelk are elongated shells, seemingly stretched out, and they come in a shade of dazzling colors, like brown, gray, white, and even blue. 

Especially lucky (and focused) visitors may also find moon snails and periwinkles. Both are relatively common, but keep your eyes peeled! The Holy Grail for any shell collector is a sand dollar. They are present, but you got to keep looking!

Keep in mind that shells often have living creatures inside them! Under no circumstance should these shells be removed from Shell Island. Fortunately, any shell without a living creature can be taken home as a souvenir. Though we suggest you leave at least a few for future visitors!

Plan Your Vacation

There are many different things to do in Panama City Beach. You can visit Pier Park for some shopping or the waterpark for some uproarious water slides, but some people want to simply go sifting for shells. 

Getting To Shell Island

The only way to get to Shell Island is by boat. Some people get there by their boat rentals, but most take The Shell Island Shuttle from St. Andrews State Park. This is the most convenient and affordable way to go. The shuttle runs daily on the half hour from 9 am – 5 pm in the summer and on the hour in the fall. It is $16.95 for adults and children 12 and under it is $8.95. The shuttle does offer beach accessories and snacks, however we advise you come prepared.

Our numerous Panama City Beach condos on Thomas Drive give you top-tier amenities to make the most of your beach-drenched excursion away. Contact us for more information about our available Panama City Beach condo rentals today. 


Pelican Walk Rentals
6905 Thomas Drive
Panama City Beach, FL 32408
(850) 234-8090