Shelling is one of the oldest and most relaxing beach activities, enjoyed all around the world. People of all ages and backgrounds can spend hours walking up and down the coast, listening to the waves crashing down, feeling the warmth of the sun on their skin, and keeping their eyes low to the ground, looking for the next perfect shell to add to their collection.
In the United States, some of the best shelling spots of all can be found in Florida. The Sunshine State is known all around the world for its warm weather and beautiful beaches, many of which are filled with all sorts of treasures just waiting to be discovered. The tide brings in dozens of different shells, many of which are perfectly pristine and can serve as super decorations for the home or simple souvenirs, as well as being used in dozens of different craft projects.
Shelling is a big part of Florida culture. There are even shell museums, shelling tours, and shell shops selling shells of all kinds. But there's nothing better for a shelling enthusiast than simply visiting a beach and finding their own specimens. There are countless beaches along the long coastline of the Sunshine State, and some are much better for shelling than others. Here are some details on the top places to go shelling in Florida.
This is unquestionably the number one shelling spot in all of Florida. Ask any Floridian resident for the best beach to do some shelling, and they'll immediately tell you to take a trip to Sanibel. Located on the Gulf Coast near Fort Myers, Sanibel is a little island that can be reached by a causeway and is well-known for its wildlife and lighthouse, along with its soft, welcoming beaches. Hundreds of different types of shells have been found at Sanibel over the years, with the gentle waters just off the coast providing the perfect conditions to keep the shells as shiny and damage-free as possible.
Just north of Sanibel Island sits the long, slender island of Captiva. Captiva and Sanibel were once the same island but got split up in the 1920s after a bad hurricane hit the area. Now, Captiva Island is one of the top shelling destinations in Florida, with countless shells being washed up on the sands all around this island throughout the year. The best time to look for shells at Captiva Island is after a storm.
Just a little drive away from the beautiful coastal city of Naples, Marco Island offers some super shelling opportunities in the Sunshine State. One of the best beaches for shell collecting on this little island is Tigertail, which is situated on the northern part of Marco Island and also features several amenities and even a play area for children.
If you're looking to do some shelling in Florida, Cayo Costa is a must-visit location, but you'll need to be prepared as it's not actually possible to get to this beach by foot or car. Cayo Costa, located near Captiva and Sanibel, is only accessible by car but is one of the most pristine spots in all of Florida and is consistently filled with gorgeous, untouched shells just waiting to be plucked from the sand. Due to the difficult accessibility of this location, it never gets too crowded, so you can have the place to yourself if you choose the right times.
Not far from the city of Sarasota, Venice Beach is a very unique shelling spot. Why? Well, this beach is actually one of the best places in all of Florida to search for fossilized shark teeth. Plenty of pretty, colorful shells can also be found at this location, which offers gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico. Try looking near the pier for the best shelling results.
If you're looking to do some shelling on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, Jupiter Island is a great place to be. Not far from West Palm Beach, Jupiter comes with an entry fee that goes towards the conservation of this beautiful beach. More than 200 different kinds of shells have been found on this beach.
Naples beach is best known as a gathering spot for locals and residents to surf, sunbathe, and watch the sunset, but it's not a bad spot for shelling either. The fishing pier is a good spot to look for shells, and you can find some real gems at low tide.