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Panama City Beach (Shell island)

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#1
Headed to Panama City Beach June 17th. Any local info?

I know about Shell island.. anything else that is a great local find?
How about great places to eat? (would like to find a spot with great food that we can go take the boat to)

Thanks in advance for any info.
 
Messages
6
Ratings
3
Points
23
Location
Marianna, Florida
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2012
Boat Model
Limited
Boat Length
24
#2
We were just there today and we also spent memorial day down there as well since its only about an hour's drive. There are a lot of good ramps on the bay with Saint Andrews state park being a popular one but it does cost $8 to get into the park. We used the Saint Andrew's Marina launch. It's small but was not too crowded on the days we used them and they have lots of parking nearby if you go early enough.

Both trips where fantastic with the family loving every minute of them. The inlet area near the state park can get rough at times with the wind and a small tide changes, also it has quite a bit of traffic and can produce some sloppy conditions. On memorial day we anchored on the Gulf side of Shell Island in fairly choppy conditions which kept us at fairly low speeds there where a lot of boats but plenty of space for everyone. Crystal clear water with lots of Dolphins around and even had one riding our bow for a while on the way out.

On today's trip we went out to the Gulf side but with fair sized rolling waves we only played a bit then went back to the bay side. We saw a lot of boats anchored in or near the inlet on the bay side but opted to cruise eastward along the island and boy I'm glad we did. About half way down there are a couple of places to anchor just off the beach. They are fairly shallow and clear of seagrass. You can play in the bay or walk a few hundred feet across the island to play in the surf. There was a small wooden pier sticking out the into the water and about 10 other boats anchored in the area.

Hopefully some of the local board members will throw their two cents in here as well as this is fast becoming one of our regular boating locations and I'd love to find some of the hidden gems of the area as well! Boon Docks at the far end of West Bay where Hwy 79 crosses the inter-coastal waterway has good seafood and has a dock.
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#3
@ruztew - Would you please forward me any local information you may have. Thank you very much.
 

Wayloncle

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,608
Ratings
1,458 17
Points
198
Location
33080 San Quirino, Italy
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2009
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
23
#4
Uncle Ernies has a long dock to tie up to and great food, Bayou Joes is cool as well, park your boat right next to your table, here is an unedited video of me going to Bayou Joes

If the Gulf side is too rough, there is a very nice area on the bay side east of the pass you will see boats anchored out there one spot is a very short walk across the island to the gulf.

I miss the water, Dolphins, and perfect beach there very much.
I kept my boat on base where I lived and used the Tyndall AFB Marina ramp so I can't comment on public ramps.
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#5
@Wayloncle - Thank you very much!!

That video was awesome. Gave me a great idea of where to go and what I'll be looking for. Did want to ask, how much clearance did you have under the bridge? It looked tight and I was thinking I may want to drop the tower when we go under it.
 

Wayloncle

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,608
Ratings
1,458 17
Points
198
Location
33080 San Quirino, Italy
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2009
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
23
#6
If the Gulf is calm I'd suggest going several miles east you can't beat the beach and it is untouched all the way to Mexico Beach, I went all the way to Mexico Beach a few times but there are no docks to tie up to for any restaurants down there. Tucan's is very good and a cool place to eat/hang out, they have a mooring buoy just out from the restaurant and you can anchor to the beach (I called the harbor master to make sure) in the area just go slow and stay away from swimmers.

If you look at google maps, Spanish Ante is a good place to anchor/beach on the bay side. There's a few trails to go to the gulf side, a lot of the area is roped off or has signs to keep out because some birds live in the dunes:-/
image.png
 

Wayloncle

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,608
Ratings
1,458 17
Points
198
Location
33080 San Quirino, Italy
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2009
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
23
#7
@Wayloncle - Thank you very much!!

That video was awesome. Gave me a great idea of where to go and what I'll be looking for. Did want to ask, how much clearance did you have under the bridge? It looked tight and I was thinking I may want to drop the tower when we go under it.
There was probably about 10" or so at that time the camera was mounted on the top of my tower. The first time I went under it I was concerned going up to it but it was about as high as the tide gets there and I had room, going that way, the left side has more clearance the way the bridge is made, it's a draw bridge, they raise it often to let sailboats in and out. There is a sign saying what radio station they listen to to raise it but I forget. You should have plenty of room. You can see on the right there is a water level, I think it was about 8' on this video.

Here is my leaving video,
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#8
LMAO - I like how your "faster red option" is just too much for your GoPro!

Thank you again -- it's like google maps street view for our boats. Much appreciated.
 

Wayloncle

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,608
Ratings
1,458 17
Points
198
Location
33080 San Quirino, Italy
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2009
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
23
#9
LMAO - I like how your "faster red option" is just too much for your GoPro!

Thank you again -- it's like google maps street view for our boats. Much appreciated.
I wish it had been a GoPro! It was a Sony handycam:-D

There actually is a "street" view all along the beach from the pass down to at least 7 miles east, it's pretty cool!
 

ruztew

Jet Boat Addict
Messages
252
Ratings
199 2
Points
93
Location
32408
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
SX
Boat Length
19
#10
I'd recommend paying and putting in at St. Andrews state park, it's easy and saves you having to trek through the no-wake zones using some of the ramps further back on Grand Lagoon.

Shell island is our usual Hangout, you'll find lots of boats parked and anchored along the bay side and if the water isn't rough the Gulf side is beautiful. If you cruise down shell island on the bay side you see 2 docks sort of close together and then you can keep going down to the third dock and it will be less crowded...

Something else fun to do is explore the intercoastal, you could cruise over to Boon Docks from where you put in and eat there... or staying directly in PC, Shrimp Boat, Uncle Earliest, and Bayou Joes are all boat friendly places to eat on the water.

I assume you run in salt water normally, if not, be sure to flush and wash the boat down every day... salt isn't a boaters best friend!

Make sure you have some cash while hanging out at shell island, there are ice cream boats driving around and it's a nice treat in the heat.

Might want to keep an eye on the Gulf flags, purple flags are flying down in Walton County due to sea lice (jellyfish larva that sting you but are invisible to the naked eye)... so far PCB hasn't been affected.

Enjoy and let me know if u have any other questions
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#11
Make sure you have some cash while hanging out at shell island, there are ice cream boats driving around and it's a nice treat in the heat.
Thank you very much! I knew Crab island at Destin had floating vendors but I didn't know Shell island had them too! The kiddo will be happy.
(the kid in me too!)
 

ruztew

Jet Boat Addict
Messages
252
Ratings
199 2
Points
93
Location
32408
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
SX
Boat Length
19
#13
I always throw my small grill in the boat and cook some burgers / hot dogs... not one of those fancy expensive grills, but a little Coleman fold N go... I set on the swim platform ... colemangrill_445x260.jpg
 

ToddW850

Jetboaters Lieutenant
Messages
1,396
Ratings
1,003 25
Points
173
Location
Destin, Florida
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2007
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
21
#14
Thank you very much! I knew Crab island at Destin had floating vendors but I didn't know Shell island had them too! The kiddo will be happy.
(the kid in me too!)
I'll one up you on the ice cream venders....we have a HOT BOILED PEANUTS boat vendor here at Crab Island. That's on top of the other ice cream vendors. There's actually two peanut vendors. The kids in the green boat sell cheap boiled peanuts. The guy in the RED boat sells legit ones. I get them almost every time I'm out there. Sure wish they were healthy.

Anyway, I have to work next weekend @Bennie however, if you find an extra day to trek over here in the ICW, you won't be disappointed. Water has been beautiful as of late (not much rain).
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#15
if you find an extra day to trek over here in the ICW, you won't be disappointed. Water has been beautiful as of late (not much rain).
I'd love to!! Would you happen to know any places that we could stay at that has boat access? We're debating on either taking the boat over there from Gulf Shores or trailering it.
 

ToddW850

Jetboaters Lieutenant
Messages
1,396
Ratings
1,003 25
Points
173
Location
Destin, Florida
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2007
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
21
#16
The actual hotels I know of that have docks are older. For whatever reason, they are kinda run down, especially for being on the water. I probably wouldn't stay at most of them. You'd be better off with one of the condos/townhomes off Gulfshore Drive (Holiday Isle Community) in Destin. Not cheap though.

However, I'll still provide you the names of the ones I know of.
1. Inn on Destin Harbor, 402 Harbor Boulevard (Highway 98) in Destin. This would be option #1 for me.
2. Marina Bay Resort. 80 Miracle Strip Parkway in Fort Walton Beach.
3. Quality Inn Bayside, 322 Miracle Strip Parkway in Fort Walton Beach. Only if you're desperate.

Then there's always Emerald Grande, 10 Harbor Blvd in Destin. Very nice. Don't have really designated boat slips, however, a buddy of mine stays here every year and always seems to find a slip.

Let me know if I could help you with anymore info.
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#17
Thank you very much @ToddW850.

A buddy of mine talks very highly of the Emerald Grande as well. I just wish they had dedicated slips. Would love to go there for a me-and-momma get away.
 

ToddW850

Jetboaters Lieutenant
Messages
1,396
Ratings
1,003 25
Points
173
Location
Destin, Florida
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2007
Boat Model
AR
Boat Length
21
#18
No problem. Good luck.
 

Bennie

Jetboaters Commander
Messages
1,467
Ratings
1,279 16
Points
178
Location
Loxley, AL
Boat Make
Yamaha
Year
2015
Boat Model
Limited S
Boat Length
24
#20
awww - you show off!!

Now I can't wait to get home and get ready. Just got my keel guard in last week, still need to install it. Thanks for the pics! Hope you and the family had a great time!!
 
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