The Best Florida Beaches for Shells
Florida is home to more than 400 species of different types and colors of seashells. The great barrier islands, which are alongside the southwest portion of the Florida coast, are where most of the best shelling in the state lies. Here beachcombers can find a variety of multicolored shells, from scallops to brown-speckled junonia. Shelling involves a good eye and plenty of space to carry the shells---they can get heavy and cumbersome. While shells can be found on most beaches
in the state of Florida, these locations are more plentiful than others.
Caladesi Island is an unspoiled gem of a beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. Abundant with wildlife and natural landscape, the Caladesi Island beach is also a great place to find shells and sea life. While there is not an abundance of shells, there is typically a small amount of visitors to this undeveloped island---making beach finds easier to come by. Starfish, sand dollars and clamshells are abundant here. The occasional abalone is a rare treat but can be found as well---making a perfect pendant for a keepsake necklace. Bring a large cloth bag for shelling.
This tropical oasis just off of the city of Fort Meyers is a sheller's paradise. Sizes, shapes and colors vary from white to a dark chocolate brown. Seashells adorn the beaches, and as the waves roll in seashells can be heard clicking and chiming---a noise distinct to the beach area. While the landscape is pristine with outstanding views of the Gulf, the sands are not as soft as other areas beaches because of the shells. Water shoes or tennis shoes should be worn at all times. There is a shell museum called the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, where visitors can find information on their shell finds and learn about the history of the area.
Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum
3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road
Sanibel, Florida 33957 USA
While this island is made up of both Captiva and Turner Beach, there are several areas that are perfect for shelling. Turner has swift currents and high waves throughout the late afternoon and early evening, which makes early morning beachcombing the best for finding new shells. Because Captiva jots out from Florida---it lies east and west---it becomes the perfect drop-off for shells from the sea because of how the current runs. The beaches on Captiva are not cheap---they average around $2 per hour per person (as of 2009) to enjoy the beach. For those who are shell and sea-treasure lovers, this beach will fill up a bucket fast.
Panama City Beach
While Panama City Beach is best known for its spring break trends among college students, it is also a great place to pick up sea shells and sea glass. The beaches are well kept, with a mixture between light-brown sand and pure white sugar crystal sand. While Panama City Beach is grated daily---especially during spring break---it can be difficult to find shells. Look for shells at the first signs of daylight when the tide is slowly rolling in. The beaches are unspoiled and untouched, because there are few people on the beach in the morning.
Bonita Springs is a city located on the southern coastline of western Florida. The area consists of five beaches, but the most popular ones for shelling are Barefoot Beach and Lovers Key State Park. The beaches here are perfect for strolling and shelling. Visitors can enjoy a variety of colored shells and conchs. The best time to shell is when the tide is high and rolling in. The waves will reveal a fresh new assortment of shells with each tide. There are signs posted that state no live shelling is permitted; this means if there is still a living creature inside of the shell, it must be left alone.
Julie Boehlke is a seasoned copywriter and content creator based in the Great Lakes state. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Boehlke has more than 10 years of professional writing experience on topics such as health and wellness, green living, gardening, genealogy, finances, relationships, world travel, golf, outdoors and interior decorating. She has also worked in geriatrics and hospice care.