Capt. Anderson’s Marina and Restaurant are Panama City Beach landmarks, so it’s no wonder you’ll find one of the best dolphin tours around right here.
Captain Marc will likely be your tour guide because he runs the boat six days out of the week. You’re in luck – you really couldn’t ask for a better guide.
Marc loves his job, explaining, “You’ve got to love this job! It’s the same thing every single day! But the crowd is always different … and that’s what keeps me going.”
He’s knowledgeable and entertaining. Since you never know if you’re going to run by a manatee, a school of stingrays, or even a bald eagle, you’ve got to be prepared for anything. He knows facts about all the animals in the area and loves educating the guests on board.
The dolphin cruising vessel was built in 1984 for this very purpose! (Is it okay if we say porpoise?)
There are two types of cruises you can take: a daytime cruise and an evening one.
From March to October, here are your cruising options:
CHILD (2-11) $12
CHILD (2-11) $8
Whichever cruise you’re on, it will start with four loud honks from the boat! Don’t worry … Captain Marc will let you know so your kiddos won’t be alarmed.
Then, you’re ready to start your relaxing adventure. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Shell Island. Plus, you can feed seagulls Cheetos all the way there. As Marc says, “We’ve been feeding these birds for 50 years!”
Once the boat launches from the dock, dozens of birds will flock. The kids love this part.
Between his information about the area, Captain Marc plays Jimmy Buffett tunes to get everybody in the island spirit.
Once you dock up at Shell Island, you can walk the trails that are here to keep the plant life safe and flourishing, or you can relax on the Gulf side. It’s the perfect one-hour beach trip. The sand is white as snow and the water is so refreshing. Wear your suit, because you won’t want to miss splashing around.
True to its name, if you walk the beach and hunt them down, you will end up with a bucket full of shells! Once you head back to the boat, the awesome crew will rinse your feet off for you so you can make the journey back comfortably.
By this time, you’re probably a little peckish, so head to the concession stand in the lower deck (near the glass bottom) to get a $2 hotdog and some water. Maybe even a slushy or some chips. There’s bound to be something you want, and all at reasonable prices.
Now, it’s dolphin time. But before you hit the Gulf, Captain Marc throws a net out of the front of the boat and drags it through the sand to catch some sea critters to put in the little aquarium on the lower level.
Heading out into the Gulf is exciting because you’re not sure when the dolphins will show up. Soon, Captain Marc will exclaim, “There’s one at 3 o’clock!”
Once you spot your first, more and more will start to show up. You’ll see groups of them, and more times than not, there’s a cute little baby dolphin at his mother’s fin.
This cruise is a unique and fun experience that won’t break the bank and takes up half the day.