While in PCB you'll see signs, flyers and advertisements to take a Shell Island cruise / tour and like us, you'll probably be curious as to what exactly Shell Island is and why in the world would you want to leave the beach and go to an island?
I did some internet sleuthing to find out what all the hype was about and ran across the site for Lagoon Pontoon. Looking around I noticed that you can rent Jet Ski's and Pontoon's and drive yourself to Shell Island (among many other places) at your leisure. Even better was the fact you can rent double decker boats with twin watersides off of the top deck! So I got to thinking...
Kids + waterslides + Adults + Waterslides =
let's do this!! where do i pay??
Located off the far end of Thomas and Lagoon Drive, the whole process was simple and straightforward. After booking online, you simply drive down to the marina, grab a cart, and wait under the shade for your launch time to be called. You'll find plenty of space to relax and the little ones even have their own area with regular and pint sized seating and shade, located conveniently (for them, not my wallet) right next to the Snow Cone stand.
You have the option of 2 different styles of Pontoon, both seating 12 passengers. One being the aforementioned double decker and the other a single with a full length canopy shade, Both styles include Bluetooth stereo's and life jackets and require very minimal driving instruction. Due to our party size, we rented one of each and headed down to the lagoon to board our vessels!
The body of water you'll be "driving" (or shall I say boating) in, is the Bay side of PCB/PC, which is a much calmer body of water than the Gulf (You wouldn't catch me operating a flat bottomed boat in those savage waters. If you've seen "The Wolf Of Wall Street" and remember the scene where they were experiencing "A Little Chop", then you understand exactly how it would feel piloting one of these in the Gulf). The boats are relatively easy to drive and no prior experience is necessary, so don't be discouraged from trying it out.
During a quick 10 minute instruction course we were given the following rules according to maritime law:
Don't ride on top while the boat is moving
Don't use the slides while the boat is moving
Don't drive out to the Gulf
Don't allow a full beer to go unattended
And the most important:
Don't throw your spouse overboard while the boat is moving (wait until it's stopped first!!!)
And that's it!
We shoved off and headed to the famous Shell Island which is only about 10 minutes away from the docks.
We found Shell Island and it was pretty cool! The white, sugary sand that is a trademark of PCB and just as the name suggest, beautiful shells and sand dollars were sprawled all around!
Where we dropped anchor, the shore formed a semi crescent and was the "thinnest" point of the island. Just about 100 yards across was the Gulf of Mexico, allowing us to easily walk over the sand dunes and reach the other shore and swim in the Gulf as well!
The real benefit of having your own boat is where on a tour this would be the apex of the journey and then turning around and going back to port. But because we were running the show, we just floated the boat a few hundred feet off shore, dropped the anchor, cranked up the stereo and let the real fun commence!
We had a blast and this was way better than any tour could have been. Lounging around and having our own version of Gilligan's Island minus the shipwreck made for the perfect way to spend the day!
Regretfully we only reserved our boat for a half day and the time flew by. We definitely recommend you go for the full 8 hours if time permits!
5201 N Lagoon Dr
Panama City Beach FL 32408