There is something that lures thousands of us to the beaches in search of beautiful shells. It is an indescribable feeling to find the "perfect" shell — no knicks or blemishes, no barnacles attached — a faultless specimen with just the right color and shape. Even though perfect specimens are hard to find, knowing where to look can increase the odds of finding them.
Below are a list of beaches known for their consistent quality and quantity of shells and if you want to make shelling the main objective of your next Florida visit, there is also a list of shelling tours. If you simply want to see beautiful shells, check out the shell museums. And finally, if you perfer to shop for those shells you seldom find and those nautical craft items there is a handy list of shell shops.
Shells can be found on just about any beach in Florida. These are some of the best known for their abundance of shells.
Tip:Always check local regulations regarding collection of live (shells with animal tissue still inside) shells. Collection of live shells are prohibited in some areas.
- Marco Island
Go back to main page for location information, but not before you take in the great information on shelling.
- Sanibel/Captiva Island
Sanibel has an abundance of shells and white sandy beaches. Captiva is a great shelling area although not a good beach for swimming.
- Bahama Joe's Charters
Seek beautiful shells on islands that are only accessible by boat. Take one of two trips — north to Sanibel and Captiva Islands or south to Marco Island and Cape Romano.
- Day Star Charter Shelling
Exclusive shelling trips to remote islands off Naples.
- Grey Pelican Charters
Capt. Mike Fuery takes you to the shallow bay waters to remote North Captiva and Cayo Costa Islands to sample shelling today... the way it used to be.
- Marco Island Sea Excursions
Cruise to uninhabited barrier islands or sandbars only accessible by boat for great shelling excursions.
- Sweet Liberty
Affordable three-hour shelling excursion setting sail from Naples to Key Island's seven miles of remote beaches.
- Tropic Star Cruises
Day cruises offer a variety of activities in the Pine Island Sound area including shelling.
Have you been on a shelling tour in Florida that is not listed? Write me an email and let me know about it, so it can be included in this list.
- Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum
Hear the sounds of the Everglades as you stroll through the Kingdom of Landshells, see cameos carved from shells, explore how nature has created shells, and discover why seashells wash ashore. Located on Sanibel Island. Adults $9, children 8-16 $5, and children age four and under are admitted free. Open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- South Florida Museum
Florida's story is told from prehistoric to present with fossil, bird and shell collections and with life-size dioramas, exhibits of Indian life, and Southwest Florida's maritime traditions. Located on Florida's west coast in Bradenton. Open 7 days a week January through April and the month of July, Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. All other months the museum has the same hours, except is closed on Mondays. Admission for adults is $15.95; seniors (65 and older), $13.95; children (ages 4-12), $11.95; and children age 3 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult.
- Shell Factory
This North Fort Myers landmark has the world's largest collection of rare sea shells, sponges, coral, fossils and sea life specimens. Truly a unique Florida shopping experience with gifts from every exotic shore as well as wildlife exhibits, aquariums and alligators. Spend an hour or a day.
Online shopping for shells, nautical supplies, coastal decorations and island wear.