Most people love to find and collect seashells. The “best shells” is a relative term, as it may mean different things to different beach-combers.
I’m lucky to live in Florida where a beach is always close by. The West coast is the place to search for beautiful shells, and probably the Keys too, but I do find some cool shells on the East coast where I live. The truth is that I find the best shells while out boating.
The best place, in general, in the state of Florida, to find beautiful and unique seashells would be Sanibel Island and the surrounding area. I would also include any islands away from shore where there are fewer shell-seekers to compete with.
The best time, in general, to search for keepers would be at low tide or after a storm.
I’ve never done any shell collecting just after a big storm, but I’ve read blogs where people have found loads of particular shells washed up on the beach. I have come across shells far up on the beach, or tucked under roots of trees where they were shoved by the force of storm waves.
Anything sturdy and possibly buried in the sand can be moved with the extra-high tides and large waves that erode areas, especially after hurricanes. I am usually too busy dealing with the after effects of the hurricane to go out and collect seashells.
What does “best” Mean to you?
Shells I consider to be the “best” are the ones I come across less frequently, like these flat dosinia shells.
The best shells to find are the more rare ones. Big beautiful gastropods, like the pink conch, horse conch, and helmet shell (pictured below), can also be categorized as the best. Good luck finding an empty one in good shape.
It depends on what you hope to find. Sometimes tiny shells can be special as well. I once came across some little Marsh Periwinkles which I’d never see before. I was walking around an island near Ponce Inlet and found three of them just lying in the sand. My Seashell ID book tells me this type of shell is not commonly found in my area, but can be found further north. They were empty so I took them home.