Where and When To Find The Best Seashells?

A shell of the volute gastropod Scaphella juno...
Image via Wikipedia – Junonia Shell

Most people love to find and collect seashells. The tropics contain the best beaches to do your beach combing, and bad weather can add interesting shells to the shoreline. Storms will churn up the sea and can roll larger shells into shore. That is why shelling after a storm may bring you luck. Would you know which shells are the best to find? I have a seashell ID page with pictures of the various types of shells, and some of the better, rarer ones to look out for.

While I lived in Florida, the east coast beaches were closest for us to visit. We made it over to the Gulf side a few times, and the piles of shells I saw there were extraordinary. To include some serious beach combing, on your next Florida vacation, head to the west coast and visit the Sanibel and Captiva Islands. It’s a very touristy place, as are most nice places in Florida, but it is gorgeous and worth the trip. It’s almost impossible to NOT find an outstanding shell or 20, to take home.

People who live by the beach know a lot more about finding shells, especially in their area. One blog I read occasionally is written by Pam, who lives on Sanibel Island. She has a page of info on where and when to find the best shelling spots there. Sanibel is a busy place that’s known for it’s seashells, so you won’t be alone while you comb the beaches.


8 thoughts on “Where and When To Find The Best Seashells?

  1. What are u talking about! Sanibel is not touristy. U obviously have never been here. U shouldnt say things like that unless u know it for a fact. People like u ruin the islands reputation. Sanibel Island was just rated the number 1 place to live by frommers travel agency. Get your facts straight.


    1. I am sorry for the previous comment, Sanibel is very important to my family and I don’t want people to think of it as touristy. Please do not take offense, it is indeed a beautiful area and a fantastic place for shelling and so many other activities. I actually just found a fighting conch today on the island. Sorry again. I got a little carried away. 🙂


      1. I guess some people take the word “touristy” to mean “horrible – don’t go there”, which is not what I am saying. It means that there will lots of people visiting a beautiful spot – and why not? When I visit, I am a tourist. I lived in Florida for almost 30 years and I would definitely say it is a place for tourists.
        Your apology is accepted. Congrats on your find.


    2. I have been there a number of times, and in my opinion it is definitely a tourist attraction as are most Florida beaches. I’m sure it’s a beautiful place to live, if you have the money to do so. I am certainly not trying to “ruin the island’s reputation” and I don’t think that most people see this post in the light that you do – for some reason.


    3. I can Not disagree more strongly with John Smith. I am sure if you are a resident you probably feel different. We bought in Ft Myers in 1992. I think that is adequate time to form an educated opinion. Charging $6 to cross a bridge (was $2 YEARS ago to pay for the “new” bridge..which is now fully paid)..All weekends and most of the tourist season be prepared to circle the parking areas to locate a space. You should probably wear your beach clothes and bring water to wash off the sand since you will find limited access to bath houses. Public beaches do have access to portapotties if there is not a bath house. Remember all public parking has a charge. Seems like it is about 15 minutes for 25 cents. I always tell my visitors that you have to go to Sanibel just to say you have been there but in my opinion, beach, shelling, sunset, green flash and all…Lover’s Key and Turtle Key are fine beaches for shelling. You may have to walk longer and the shell mounds may not be as productive but there are definitely shells that are as pretty and fun to find as on Sanibel…And you can see a green flash any where there is a clear horizon if the weather/sky conditions are right.


      1. Thank you for the input and for sharing your opinion about the tourist aspect of the Sanibel area of Florida. I have to agree that there are many more places to collect seashells, and find good ones, than just the Sanibel area. As is true with so many beautiful areas in the state, it has been made less nice to visit than it once was (don’t really want to say ruined) by the huge influx of people.


  2. Hey- Maybe that’s why I haven’t found that elusive junonia yet…. I am so not an early bird. That’s okay, in Sanibel you can find seashells any time of day if you aren’t looking for specific types. It’s a tresaure hunt! You are a doll! It is so sweet that you mentioned me in your post about shelling today.


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