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About Us

Friends of Shell Island, Inc. is a tax-deductible non-profit advocacy group based in Panama City, Florida. Our mission is to protect our access to the island we love, conserve its resources, and educate the public about its beauty in order to preserve its place in our lives and in the lives of the visitors who come to Bay County to experience it.

Shell Island Beach Visitors Shell Island is a pristine barrier island off the coast of Panama City, Florida that has been treasured by Bay County residents and visitors for over 100 years as a unique getaway destination. It is the jewel of Bay County for citizens who live here, and it is one of the top attractions for visitors who come here and contribute to our economy.

Over half of Shell Island is under the control of St. Andrews State Park, within the Florida State Parks System.

Shell Island Belongs to the People

Old Gulf pavilion Across from Panama City 1916 or 1917 "Shell Island belongs to the people, to treasure for generations to come. The people have a voice that must be heard."

New! January 9, 2015

State Park to Update its 10-Year Management Plan
Shell Island Could be Affected

The St. Andrews State Park owns the western half of Shell Island and a portion of the residential lots in the subdivision in the center of the island. The park has to update a "management plan" that sets a 10-year strategy for running the park, and they have requested input from the public about what you think of Shell Island and how you enjoy it. PLEASE SEND THEM YOUR INPUT by January 23, 2015. Click here for an easy form to submit your input.

State Park Clarifies its Jurisdiction

Update! March, 2013

In the past two years, there have been numerous incidents in which citizens have been told there was some type of "400 foot" boundary in the waters around Shell Island. Friends of Shell Island requested and received a written clarification in which the State Park System has confirmed that no such jurisdiction exists. So if a visitor is told that park rules extend out into the water, this is simply not true. If it happens to you, please contact us so that we can notify park management. They told us that all the state park and FWC employees are notified of this clarification, so no one should be told differently.

Click here to read the full letter (PDF format).

We also learned in this process that the State Park can put additional regulations on our waters through their "unit management plan" that will be updated in 2014. The public will be asked to input to this plan. Please join Friends of Shell Island to be kept informed of how you can participate so your voice can be heard.

Listen to Our Debut on FM Talk 101.1!

Listen to Friends of Shell Island's debut on Talk 101.1 Radio's Burnie Thompson Show.

Click Here for Part 1: The shocking events of the summer of 2006 which revealed that the boaters' vision for the future of Shell Island might be on a collision course with that of the State of Florida, when 14 people were arrested for violation of rules they did not know existed, and certainly didn't feel were needed.

Click Here for Part 2: The charter and mission of Friends of Shell Island, who seek to protect their generations-old access to this island. Boaters in Florida are under siege by encroaching regulations. Access to cherished waterways and anchorages is being restricted. Shell Island was purchased with taxpayer money for the benefit of the taxpayers. Friends of Shell Island's goal is to preserve that access.

Contact Us

Email: or 850-624-3219


  • Conserve the nature of Shell Island through education and on-site activities.
  • Obtain an active voice in the management of the Spanish Ante Subdivision in the center of the island.
  • Obtain an active voice in the management of any areas of Shell Island that must fall under the State Park rule system.
  • Obtain an active voice in the management of the sections of Shell Island owned by Tyndall Air Force Base and the US Coast Guard.

Sign the Petition

Submit the petition electronically by completing the fields below.

First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address:
Physical Address:
Zip Code:

Privacy Statement: Your address is required only for the purpose of establishing the validity of this petition. It will not be sold or used for purposes other than confirmation to you and presentation of this petition as part of the governmental processes regarding this issue.

Petition for Boaters’ Access to Shell Island

To: Officials of Bay County Florida, the State of Florida, Tyndall Air Force Base, and any other regulatory authority

Sponsoring Organization: Friends of Shell Island ( Date: March 20, 2009

Whereas, boating residents and visitors have been enjoying Shell Island as a year-round recreational destination since Bay County was settled in the 1800s; and

Whereas, the most popular boating anchorage is at the center of said island, at a residential subdivision which is comprised of private and government-owned lots, overlaid by county roads; and

Whereas, this boating anchorage is treasured by the undersigned taxpayers, whose money paid for the public land for their recreational use; and

Whereas, in 2006 visitors to Shell Island experienced aggressive police attempts to enforce unnecessary and unwanted State Park rules both within and outside of land owned by the state of Florida;

The Undersigned Request:

  • An official acknowledgement of the historical use of the recreational boaters’ anchorage at Shell Island;
  • Preservation of the current state and use of Shell Island for recreational boaters;
  • Preservation of the current management of the property consistent with the laws of unincorporated Bay County – NOT as a State Park.
  • A stakeholders’ interest in any future decisions about the use of the Shell Island.

Map of Shell Island and Our Traditional Recreational Anchorage

Map of Shell Island and Our Traditional Recreational Anchorage

Map of Spanish Ante Subdivision

Map of Spanish Ante Subdivision

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