The secret to collecting seashells you will want to keep, and display, is twofold. First, figure out what it is you are looking for, in general. Do you want a great big fabulous shell for the coffee table or mantle? Or, are you looking for a bunch of shells to use in a craft project? Maybe you dream of finding a whole sand dollar, or you need more cockle shells for a picture frame.
There are shells that are very common and others that are rare finds. Some people search for years for that special junonia or lion’s paw or other coveted shell. Every vacation to the tropics is partially spent eyeing the beach sand and snorkeling in hopes of getting lucky.
The shell must not be occupied, which further narrows down the availability. Taking seashells that are inhabited is usually against the law. Often empty shells become a home to hermit crabs or some other sea creatures which move in after the mollusk dies. You can’t collect those either.
Obviously if you want to collect special shells, sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins, you should know where to go to find them. There are no guarantees, but it’s a good idea to search where there is a greater possibility of success. Know the laws of the area before you collect anything.
Don’t spend all your time searching at the waters edge. Shells wash up with the tide, so check out the dune area for shells left behind after high tide.
Do your research when planning a vacation, or traveling to a nearby beach. The west coast of Florida is known for it’s wonderful beachcombing opportunities. The Keys also have an abundance of shells, and the water is so clear that it may be the perfect place to easily find a beautiful specimen.
Don’t overlook the small shells either. They can be quite striking as well. Even bits and pieces that belonged to large shells are interesting finds. It’s best to just enjoy the variety and hope for something extraordinary. That’s the fun of shelling.