Panama City Beach is a slice of paradise that offers not just stunning beaches and incredible waters but a chance to get up close with dolphins in their natural setting. And joining a dolphin cruise in Panama City Beach is a must-do!

I personally joined a cruise when I was in town, and I absolutely loved my time on the catamaran. So much that it was one of the coolest trips I took!

Considering a dolphin-watching cruise?

This is your complete guide, and we’ll discuss what makes these cruises one of the best activities in Panama City Beach, promising fun-filled hours on the water for friends and family alike.

Taking a Dolphin Cruise in Panama City Beach

Is a Dolphin Cruise in Panama City Beach Worth it?

Taking a dolphin cruise in Panama City Beach is definitely worth it if you want to add a memorable experience to your trip around Florida.

The unique opportunity to see dolphins in their natural habitat, coupled with the stunning backdrop of Panama City Beach’s waters, makes for an unforgettable adventure that I’m sure you will love.

These cruises not only offer the thrill of spotting dolphins but also provide a relaxing way to enjoy the scenic beauty of the area and see the city from another angle.

Can You Actually See Dolphins in Panama City Beach?

Yes, you can actually see dolphins in Panama City Beach. The area is known for its abundant marine life, and that is an excellent habitat for dolphins.

And the best way to spot them is to join a cruise, and they even sometimes swim close to the boat!

While wildlife sightings can never be guaranteed, dolphin cruises in Panama City Beach have a high success rate, thanks to the knowledgeable crew who know the best spots to find these amazing animals.

How Long Do Dolphin Cruises in Panama City Beach Last?

Dolphin cruises in Panama City Beach typically last between 2 and 3 hours. This is enough for exploring the areas where dolphins are most commonly seen, without making the trip feel too long or rushed.

Some dolphin-watching cruises in Panama City Beach even include a drink, and this is a nice touch when spending the day out!

Also, in case the dolphin-watching trip is sold-out, you can consider joining a sunset cruise in Panama City Beach instead, which also allows you to spot the gentle creatures!

Best Panama City Beach Dolphin Cruises

What to Expect on a Cruise in Panama City Beach?

The cruise I joined was an excursion to Shell Island and we stopped on the way to spot and observe the dolphins. This is what you can expect when you join this experience.

From the moment you meet up at the designated spot in Panama City Beach, you’re in for a treat and you’ll get to Shell Island, a spot famous for its pristine beauty and wildlife.

Here, you can choose to snorkel in the clear waters of St. Andrews Bay, paddle board, or just relax on the spacious deck. The goal is to spot wild dolphins in their natural habitat, which is always a highlight, but you will of course have time to relax!

The boat itself is designed for comfort with a broad and stable deck, offering a smooth ride free from the rocking you might find on smaller boats.

Drinks were not included in this specific cruise but we could buy them at the bar, and that made the whole trip even better!

At the end of the adventure, the catamaran brings you back to the original meeting spot in Panama City Beach.

The awesome bit is that everything’s included—no need to worry about hidden costs. Your ticket covers all taxes, fees, and handling charges. For those willing to jump in the water, snorkelling equipment, paddle boards, and life jackets are all provided.

Shell Island Snorkel and Dolphin Catamaran

FAQ About the Dolphin Cruises in Panama City Beach

Now that you have more information about the trip and know what to expect, let’s answer some questions from first-timers that may be helpful to you too.

What Dolphins are in Panama City Beach?

In Panama City Beach, you can spot several dolphin species, including the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, Clymene Dolphins, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins, and Fraseris Dolphins.

The clear waters and abundant marine life of Panama City Beach make it an ideal spot for dolphins to thrive, and it’s great to see different species throughout the trip!

What’s Included in a Dolphin Cruise?

A dolphin cruise in Panama City Beach comes with everything you need for an unforgettable experience. Along with the thrilling cruise itself, you’re provided with snorkelling equipment and life jackets for safety and fun in the water.

A knowledgeable guide is also onboard, ready to share facts about the dolphins and the area as a whole. The cruise promises a fun time for families, couples, and solo travellers too!

Is There a Restroom on the Cruise?

Yes, there is a restroom on the cruise, which is comfortable and convenient.

Is There Live Music Onboard?

Live music does indeed feature onboard, adding to the relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere of the dolphin cruise. The music is soothing and adds a serene backdrop to the experience, making it even nicer.

What Time Do Dolphin Cruises in Panama City Beach Start?

Dolphin cruises in Panama City Beach start throughout the day, from early morning at 7:30 AM to the afternoon at 3:00 PM.

I recommend opting for an early morning cruise for a cooler, more serene experience. Alternatively, an evening cruise offers stunning sunset views, which I’m confident you’ll love.


Do Dolphin Cruises Sell Out?

Given their popularity, these cruises tend to sell out quickly, so booking early is essential to secure your preferred time slot and make the most of the cooler parts of the day.

Final Thought

Wrapping up, a dolphin cruise in Panama City Beach isn’t just another item on your bucket list; it’s a highlight that stands out, blending thrill and tranquillity in a unique way.

Watching dolphins in their natural habitat, feeling the sea breeze, and just being out on the water turns a simple outing into something so special.

To conclude, if you’re heading to Florida, then do yourself a favour and consider one of the dolphin cruises in Panama City Beach!

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