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Monday, October 10, 2016

Sanibel Island, Florida - Where & How to Find Shells

Sanibel Island is known as one of the best shelling places in the world. The island's sloping incline and East West positing make perfect conditions for sea treasures to wash upon the beaches without damage.

I remember preparing for my fist trip to Sanibel. Reading all of the articles and watching videos on shelling had me so excited! I envisioned walking out to the beach and picking up tons of beautiful large shells all day long.

Well, that’s not exactly how it works. There are beautiful shells and some large ones, but timing and luck play a big part in finding them. I have walked out on the best beach at prime time and not found a single shell. Not even a tiny one!

Shelling is serious business on Sanibel! Lol No matter what time of year you go, there will be a lot of people from all around the world there too…and they are looking for shells!

 But there are several things that will increase your chances of finding shells.

Best times for shelling:
Low tide in the morning
Be out there at the crack of dawn – you will see people with flashlights way before daylight (Yes, I have been one of those people! :) )
A day or two after a storm – this stirs things up and brings in a bigger variety of sea treasures.
Cooler months - November thru February

Best places for shelling:(Information on beaches)
Lighthouse Beach
Blind Pass
Turner Beach
Captiva Beach
Bowman Beach

Don’t be discouraged if you walk out to the beach and don’t see any shells. You just need to go to another beach. The last time I was there, I tried Turner Beach and Blind, not a single shell. Then I drove down to Bowman Beach, not a thing. I decided later to drive down to Lighthouse beach and there were so many shells it was crazy!

One day you may not find anything and the next day may be excellent. But no matter what you find, it’s a great day if you’re on the beautiful Island of Sanibel!

Have fun shelling and making great memories!

Below are two short video with some shells on Lighthouse Beach, Blind Pass beach, and Turner Beach.


  1. I can remember going to Sanibel Island in the late 1950's by crossing an old wooden bridge and seeing a mountain of shells on the beach. There were so many shells, it really impressed me at that young age of 9 or 10.

  2. Being a rookie, seeing all these great Shells and some items I'm not familiar with, do you wear gloves for fear of getting stung or touching fire coral, etc?

  3. Thank you for the great post! We've just pinned it on our Pinterest board.