Snorkeling in Panama City Beach
Where to go
You can go snorkeling pretty much anywhere along the Emerald Coast but there are a few places that offer up particularly ideal conditions. St. Andrew’s State Park and Shell Island are by far the most popular places to snorkel in Panama City Beach. Along with various species of fish, you can see rays, turtles and dolphin. Shell Island, on the west side of St. Andrew’s State Park features the East Jetty and protected waters on St. Andrew’s Bay that offer an entirely different experience in the bay’s estuary grass flats. The island can only be accessed by boat, shuttles are available from the park or from Panama City Beach. The West Jetty at the park is also a popular spot and is accessible without a boat. Fees are for the park $8/vehicle, $4/single occupant vehicle, $2 pedestrian, bike or annual pass holder.
What you need
To go snorkeling in Panama City Beach all you need really need is a mask and a snorkel but flippers are definitely recommended. You can usually buy a combo with all three or you can rent your gear, tours will usually provide equipment for you. You’ll also probably want to have all of your usual beach gear as well like towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, dry clothes and food or drinks. And, you may want to take a waterproof camera or case for your phone to capture some underwater pics.
Rules and Regulations
Florida law states that snorkelers and diver’s “must prominently display a divers-down warning device in the area in which the diving occurs, other than when diving in an area customarily used for swimming only.” Snorkeling tours will take care of this for you.