Rainbow over Shell Island, Panama City Beach, FL.

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Shell Island

Top choice in Gulf Coast

Offshore from St Andrews State Park, this sandy 'desert' island is fantastic for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. There are neither facilities nor shade: wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen. To get here, buy tickets for the Shell Island Shuttle at Pier Marketplace in the park; there's a trolley service to the boat. Snorkeling packages ($28) and kayak rental (single/tandem $65/75 per day) are available – the price includes your shuttle trip to the island. Check website for details and schedules.

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