Panama City Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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Our most recommended Panama City Beach Dolphin & Whale Watching

Panama City Beach: Sunset Catamaran Cruise

1. Panama City Beach: Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Admire the sunset as you cruise around the Gulf of Mexico aboard a catamaran. Unwind with a drink as you marvel as the blue sky transforms into a spectacular light show. Check in with plenty of time, then take a 5-7 minute walk down to the dock where you will board "Footloose," your catamaran for the evening. Set sail to explore the Gulf of Mexico and admire some of the best sites Panama City Beach has to offer with the sea breeze in your hair. Listen to tropical music as you sail and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, Sangria, cold beer, or a non-alcoholic drink. You can buy additional drinks and snacks at the fully stocked onboard bar, which takes cash or credit cards. Keep a sharp lookout for dolphins as these majestic creatures are often more active in the late afternoon. Enjoy the company of family and friends as you admire the western horizon turn every color imaginable in a breathtaking show.

Gulf World Marine Park: Dolphin Swim Adventure

2. Gulf World Marine Park: Dolphin Swim Adventure

Get up close to dolphins in ways you’ve never imagined at Gulf World Marine Park during this dolphin swim adventure with admission to the park included. Join park shows and education chats and explore the many indoor and outdoor animal exhibits. Embark on a fast and exciting ride with a dolphin while you hold onto their pectoral fins in the magnificent belly ride. Experience other interactions and behaviors including the handshake, hand target, hug, and touches. As you make new friends with the dolphins, learn about these interesting creatures with Gulf World’s marine mammal specialists. As an added perk, every swim with a dolphin encounter is photographed by professional photographers, available for purchase after your encounter. 

Shell Island: Water Park and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

3. Shell Island: Water Park and Dolphin Watching Boat Trip

Embark on a boat trip from Panama City Beach to Shell Island, including a complimentary drink and a variety of water activities to make your day memorable. Have fun at the inflatable water park or try out kayaking or snorkeling. End your day sailing into the Gulf of Mexico for dolphin sightseeing.  Your day begins with a scenic trip through Grand Lagoon and over to Shell Island. Once at Shell Island, enjoy an inflatable water park, paddleboards, kayaks, and snorkeling. Have a go on trampolines, a water see-saw called the “rockit,” and other inflatables. If you’re looking for something a little more slow-paced, explore the waters on a kayak, take a paddleboard ride, or give snorkeling a try. Get plenty of time to take in all of the natural beauty that Shell Island has to offer. If just hanging out is your plan, relax and listen to music on the boat or in one of the two sunning nets located at the front of the boat while you sip on a refreshing beverage. All activities and inflatables are all-inclusive with unlimited use during your trip. The last portion of the trip will be spent sightseeing and dolphin watching before making a round-trip return to Panama City Beach.

Gulf World Marine Park: Dolphin Meet and Greet

4. Gulf World Marine Park: Dolphin Meet and Greet

Learn all about the world's most beloved sea mammal, the dolphin, at Gulf World Marine Park. See the immense Atlantic Ocean and create a bond with one of the most intelligent marine species in the world. All options include important information about dolphins, their diet, care programs, as well as some tips on how to help save their natural habitat. Choose from the following options: Dolphin Encounter Meet the friendly dolphins up close and personal as you stand on an underwater platform where the interactive activities occur. The beloved dolphins will swim by you, allowing you to touch, splash, hug, and even kiss them. Use the hand-target in which the dolphin will jump to touch your hand with its nose. Dolphin Swim Adventure Discover perhaps the most comprehensive program at this location. With this program, you can shake hands with the dolphins. You also get to touch, splash, hug and kiss these lovely creatures. Then, experience an exciting belly ride as the dolphin will allow you to hold onto its pectoral fins and will carry you through the water. Dolphin Meet 'n Greet Enjoy a Meet 'n Greet program where you will have an unforgettable first up-close dolphin adventure, next to the Dolphin habitat. Come and hang out at the edge of the fantastic Atlantic Ocean as you enjoy the warm Florida weather. In this program, you will touch, splash, and even kiss one of these amazing animals, while standing next to the dolphin habitat.

Panama City Beach: Dolphin Watching Trip by Catamaran

5. Panama City Beach: Dolphin Watching Trip by Catamaran

Head out to sea to meet the resident Panama City Beach dolphins. Enjoy informative commentary from your captain and crew, and sip a complimentary drink as you go. Board the “Footloose” Catamaran and head out into shimmering waters of the Gulf of Mexico near Shell Island. Partake in a beer, wine, or soft drink as you head out from the dock. Watch the dolphins as they swim, play, and feed in their natural habitat. Learn all about these beautiful creatures with informative commentary from your captain and crew. Take advantage of an onboard bar during your trip. Keep your eyes out for encounters with the bottlenose dolphins as you voyage through the turquoise waters.

Panama City Beach: Snorkeling Trip by Boat

6. Panama City Beach: Snorkeling Trip by Boat

Enjoy a snorkeling trip by boat as you look out for dolphins and other sea creatures. Treat yourself to a complimentary drink on board as you cruise through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Depart into Historic Grand Lagoon for a 15-minute relaxing cruise out to the Shell Island snorkeling area. Along the way, keep your eyes out for sea animals in their natural habitat. Take in the views as the vessel drops anchor. Plunge into the waters to snorkel for seashells and to catch a glimpse of the underwater world. As well as snorkeling, treat yourself to time to relax, float, and take in the sun. Sip on a complimentary drink on board. Wade through the shallow water onto Shell Island to hunt for more shells. Before returning home, the boat will ride out further into the Gulf of Mexico to search for more dolphins and sight-see along the way.

Panama City Beach: Gulf World Marine Park Dolphin Encounter

7. Panama City Beach: Gulf World Marine Park Dolphin Encounter

During this experience, you'll stand waist-deep in the water and interact directly with the dolphins at Gulf World Marine Park. Learn more about the dolphins and their unique personalities as you engage with them. Learn how to get the dolphins to do tricks like the hand-target, where they jump up to touch your hands and receive a dolphin hug. Professional photographers will snap photos as you play with the dolphins. Photo prints and digital files on a CD will be available for purchase after your experience. After your dolphin adventure, you can explore the other exhibits in Gulf World Marine Park and learn all about the different habitats and animals that live in them.

Frequently asked questions about Panama City Beach Dolphin & Whale Watching

What are other things to do than Dolphin & Whale Watching that are worth visiting in Panama City Beach?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Panama City Beach

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What people are saying about Panama City Beach

Being able to engage with the dolphins was so much fun! The trainer had us touch their noses, shake their fins, rub their belly all with signal that the trainer used. We also saw penguins, huge tortoises, many tropical Macaw, Cockatoos, and African parrots. I felt the help were knowledgeable and friendly, especially Bethany the photographer! Our trainer was very friendly and answered any questions we had. I was concerned the $74 price was very high, but in the end I guess I was worth it. However, the photo package for $90 is ridiculously high. After paying $74 admission we couldn’t justify the photo package. Had it been $50 I probably would have bought it. The condition of the building needs updating and wasn’t very clean. A coat of paint would really help.

Absolutely beautiful cruise. The crew was knowledgeable and fun! Even saw some dolphins playing that night. Thank you for making my one night in Panama City so enjoyable!!

My grandchildren are ages 4 and 6. They thought this was the coolest activity ever. It was a great learning experience for everyone. Fun day!

Extremely recommend it. Grandkids thought it was amazing. Sandy the dolphins was the best.

So much fun and the crew is amazing!!! Got to see dolphins up close