There's no better way to explore the water off of the Florida panhandle than via boat. An easy and fun way to do that is to book a private tour through Panama City Beach Dolphin Tours.
Located in the Smith-Yacht Basin in historic St. Andrews, Panama City Beach Dolphin Tours can accommodate up to 16 passengers in one boat. It's a great way to spend time with extended family and/or friends on vacation; and if you divide the cost, it ends up being pretty reasonable.
Just as the name implies, the captain will do his best to make sure that you see some dolphins on the two-hour Dolphin Tour. I didn't keep count, but we saw a few different pods on our trip.
Panama City Beach Dolphin Tours stocks life jackets and snorkels aboard the boat for you to use, but you are welcome to bring your own gear. The captain will try to find a good place to snorkel and look for shells. When my family and I went, we had Captain Wes and one of our first stops was over an old sunken ship. He stopped the boat so that we could get in and explore.
We later moved on to another area that was better for searching for shells. (Please note: If you find a shell with a living creature still occupying it, you won't be able to take it unless you have a saltwater fishing license.)
Captain Wes was able to find all kinds of shells, sand dollars, and was able to catch two puffer fish with his bare hands. (Those cuties were returned to the water.)
What To Bring With You On a Panama City Beach Dolphin Tour
To make the most out of your dolphin tour, I recommend you bring the following items:
- Sunglasses and sunscreen.
- Aqua socks if you don't want anything to touch your feet in the water.
- A towel and change of clothes.
- Camera or phone with a camera function to capture pictures along the way.
- BYOB - I recommend bringing a small cooler with water and juice to help you stay hydrated.
- Cash for tipping the captain.
Most of all, bring your sense of adventure and go with the flow. You'll return with happy memories and quite possibly some beautiful seashells.
When planning your trip to Panama City, be sure to read my list of five local restaurants to dive into and six things to do in Panama City. Also, visit DestinationPanamaCity.com for more ideas of where to eat, what to do, and where to stay.