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Is the swimming/snorkeling as good as Panama City Beach?

Tulsa, Oklahoma
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Is the swimming/snorkeling as good as Panama City Beach?

This will be my first visit to Gulf Shores so I'm not quite sure what to expect. I've been to Panama City Beach in the past and I love the clear water, and beaches that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. What's the beach like in Gulf Shores? Are the waves mild enough that one can swim? Is there plenty of shells? Is the water clear? The condos I've seen on VRBO talk about fishing and boat slips - are there lots of swimmers at the beach?

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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1. Re: Is the swimming/snorkeling as good as Panama City Beach?

The beaches are nice and not as crowded as PCB. They have sugar white sand. Shells are plentiful. I have seen many nice ones this year washed up. The water is similar to PCB, about the same clarity IMO, just shy of Destin's clarity. Swimming is done nearly everywhere. The public beaches all have lifeguard stations and there are adequate facilities. Most beaches are free. They charge a $5.00 fee to park at the main West Beach. Waves will depend on the offshore conditions but it is usually calm enough to swim the majority of the season. The beaches will be full of people but not as much as PCB and there will be more families here than college age kids. There are a few places to snorkel with organized tours as well or you can always just go on your own.

Denham Springs...
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2. Re: Is the swimming/snorkeling as good as Panama City Beach?

We absolutely LOVE gulf shores! beaches are clean! plenty of activities & we went for a day trip 2 weekends ago & saw hundreds of manta rays! they were amazing as they swam with beachgoers & all the kids! totally harmless & beautiful swimmers! My family visits here every year. But we would like to do a fishing excursion & a scuba dive also. Kids are 15 & 12. Last boat we hired was super cheap, ($30 pp) but that place wasn't there last yr. any suggestions for family fishing under $200 for all?

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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3. Re: Is the swimming/snorkeling as good as Panama City Beach?

http://www.orangebeach.ws/fishingcharters

Here's a link to the Orange Beach Charter Fleet. You could try the Zeke's Lady. I believe kids are $55 and adults are $85 for walk-ons. There are several inshore charters as well that may be cheaper and might take you just offshore to troll or fish the jetties in the pass. It will be hard to stay under $200 though anywhere you look but not to say it can't be done. There is always the state pier and the last time I was there you could buy fishing licenses from the state at the pier itself.

4. Re: Is the swimming/snorkeling as good as Panama City Beach?

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