Emerald Coast Dolphin Tours: Top 3 Picks for Your Beach Getaway

Regardless whether you’re staying for a couple of weeks or just a couple of days in Emerald Coast, your beach escapade wouldn’t be complete without setting off on a dolphin cruise! Be sure to include dolphin watching in your itinerary and snap some fine shots of these friendly mammals. Spot them on one of the top 3 most popular and delightful Emerald Coast dolphin cruises:

1. Sea Screamer

Hop on Sea Screamer’s twin-turbo-powered 73-foot boat and experience a thrilling ride, unlike any other! With its spacious viewing deck and plenty of seating, Sea Screamer is always ready to delight tourists, the old and the young alike. It’s a favorite for family outings because every single tour is sure to bring smiles to every guest on board.

Set sail on their two-hour tour to catch sight of dolphins surfing alongside your boat. Sea Screamer offers Daytime and Sunset cruises for $17 to $32 per person. Passengers of all ages, from one-year-old toddlers to elders, may join the cruise. Want to bring your baby along for the cruise? No worries because babies come aboard free of charge.

Book the Daytime tour to explore the Shell Island area or reserve your spot on their Sunset cruise and enjoy some critter encounters. And guess what? You may even get the chance to steer the boat alongside the captain, too!

Be sure to arrive 30 to 40 minutes before departure because missed cruises are nonrefundable. When you come to play, wear your swimsuit—or any comfortable summer outfit—and sunscreen! And don’t forget to bring your camera and some cash, too! Snacks and refreshments are available for purchase on the cruise. Just don’t bring coolers, strollers, spray sunscreen, or chewing gum aboard.

Sea Screamer operates from February to December every year and offers a $1 discount for military and first responders. In the event of inclement weather, it’s up to the captain whether or not to cancel the tour. If your tour is canceled, the crew will help you rebook your cruise or refund you in full.


Activity / ExcursionCost
Daytime Dolphin CruiseInfants (<1 years): Free

Toddlers (1 to 3 years): $17

Children (4 to 11 years): $22

Adults (12 to 59 years): $27

Seniors (60+ years): $26
2-hour dolphin cruise

You will explore the best spots to see dolphins swim and play in their natural habitat in the wild.
Sunset Dolphin CruiseInfants (<1 years): Free

Toddlers (1 to 3 years): $22

Children (4 to 11 years): $27

Adults (12 to 59 years): $32

Seniors (60+ years): $31

2-hour dolphin cruise

Explore the Shell Island area to check out dolphins and other marine wildlife.

Critter Encounter: pull up crabs and other critters from the ocean and view them up close in the boat tub.

Source: https://seascreamer.net


SourceRatingNumber of Reviews
Trip Advisor5 / Excellent1,780
Google4.9 stars2,125
Yelp5 stars142

2. Dolphin & Snorkel Tours Inc.

Set sail on the waterways and join the adventure aboard Dolphin & Snorkel Tours’ dolphin cruise! Experience a three-hour tour, which usually starts with exploring the local waters to spot the area’s marine wildlife, including the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins. Dolphin & Snorkel Tours’ deckhands are locals and experts on the behavior of these dolphins in the Panama City Beach area. So, feel free to ask away during your educational ride.

Dolphin & Snorkel Tours changes routes every day to give you a unique experience on each cruise, which can accommodate two to six guests. You can either book a private cruise for $249 to $399 per group or join others on a public tour for $49 to $79 per person. Everyone, including infants and toddlers, may board the cruise. Your pet dogs are also welcome on private tours!

Everyone gets a life jacket to wear as provided by the crew during the ride. Full snorkeling gear, coolers, and refreshments are also available onboard if you wish to add to your experience. However, note that you may also bring your own snacks and drinks, including alcoholic beverages. Be sure to bring along a towel, a pair of sunglasses…and a sweater just in case the breeze gets bitterly cold during your cruise! 

Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before departure. If you’re more than 15 minutes late and you miss the boat, you will be considered a no-show. In case you need to cancel, be sure to do so at least 48 hours before your reservation to get a full refund.


Activity / ExcursionCost/PersonCost/Group
Sunset Dolphin Tour$49$249
Shell Island Dolphin and Snorkeling Tours$79$399Full snorkeling gear included
Dolphin Tour$59$299

Source: https://dolphinandsnorkeltours.com


SourceRatingNumber of Reviews
Trip Advisor5 stars1,468
Google4.9 stars460

3. Island Time Sailing

Climb aboard Island Time Sailing’s wide-body sailing catamaran that measures 50 feet in length. A catamaran is a boat with two hulls instead of one, providing greater stability and, hence, a smoother ride for passengers (best for those of us who may get seasick easily!). Island Time Sailing is also one of our top-rated Emerald Coast dolphin cruises. It glides across the calm waters of the Grand Lagoon and then past St. Andrew’s State Park to seek out the local wildlife. Tourists of all ages will definitely love the cruise experience, which accommodates up to 65 people. If you’re traveling with someone who uses a wheelchair, don’t worry because their staff will gladly assist them in getting on board. Plus, there are dedicated locations for wheelchair users on the cruise.

Island Time Sailing is famous for its “Rum Punch,” tropical music, and entertainment with games and dancing after sunset. Feel free to take in the glorious view of the ocean while sipping wine and nibbling snacks from their bar.

You must book your spot at least two hours before the tour and arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to departure time. Island Time Sailing accepts cash and most major credit cards for payment. While they offer public cruises for $10 to $49 per person, you can also charter your very own private catamaran tour if you want to keep it exclusive to your family and friends.

If you need to cancel, they advise you to contact them at least 24 hours prior to your scheduled tour for a full refund. Lastly, Island Time Sailing recommends wearing rubber, hard-soled shoes with good grip while on board. And ladies, please remember to leave your high heels at home as they are forbidden for potentially damaging the boat’s decks.


Activity / ExcursionCost/PersonCost/Group

Dolphin Sunset Cruise
$49 + Tax2-hour cruise
Dolphin Day SailCall for rates2-hour cruise

Available during the spring (Feb 15 to Apr 30) and fall (Sept 1 to Oct 31)
Shell Island Snorkeling and Sailing CruiseAdults (13+ years): $49 + tax

Children aged 3 to 12: $35 + tax

Infants aged 0 to 2: $10+ tax
3-hour cruise

The price includes snorkeling gear. Feel free to bring water shoes.
Private CharterCall for ratesMaximum of 30 to 60 people

Source: https://islandtimesailing.com


SourceRatingNumber of Reviews
Trip Advisor5/Excellent2, 221
Google4.8 stars698
Yelp5 stars85

Want to know more about our favorite Emerald Coast dolphin cruises? Reach out to us at hello@mightyvacay.com.

Or perhaps you’re looking for other things to do besides setting sail on our top-rated Emerald Coast dolphin cruises? Check out other local fun activities you can try out.

Need other info like weather safety and emergency tips for your getaway to the Emerald Coast? Learn more from our Mighty Vacay welcome guidebooks!

Haven’t booked your Emerald Coast vacation home yet? Not a problem! Check out our luxury beach houses located in Panama City Beach: Mighty Oceana, Mighty Seychelles, Mighty Tortuga, Mighty Paradise, Mighty Big Beach, and Mighty Little Beach.

NOTE: While this article has been written for your general enjoyment and personal informational use, it should not be relied upon because we cannot warranty the accuracy of information. Please be sure to contact each business directly to verify rates and terms of service.

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