Top 5 U.S. Beaches for Shell Collecting
It’s a favorite pass time for many beach combers, collecting shells as you take a leisurely stroll in in the sand. There’s really no telling what type of beautiful sea treasures you might find along the coast as you walk. Shells of all shapes, sizes and colors can be found along beaches throughout the U.S. So, here’s a look at some of the best beaches in the United States for collecting shells.
Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, Florida
These two islands were once one many years ago, but today they are the ideal spot for shelling in Florida. While you may not find really large shells on Sanibel Island, there’s a good chance you’ll find some rather unique shells in the area. The best time to visit Sanibel Island if you’re an avid shell collector is during the month of March when the annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show is held. Here, shell collectors and artists from around the world showcase their shell collections and some of the beautiful creations that they have made using nothing but shells.
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
The tides bring in quite the splendor along Waikiki Beach in Oahu, Hawaii. Here, you will find some of the most unique and beautiful Hawaiian seashells which are always quite different from shells that you may find along other beaches of the world. Local artists and jewelry makers often use the handpicked shells of Waikiki Beach to make specialty items such as necklaces, bracelets and even windchimes. The best time to visit Waikiki Beach to collect shells is when the tide is just coming in—it is during this time that the shells tend to roll right up onto the shore making them quite simple to find.
Marco Island, Florida
You may not always find large shells on Marco Island but at certain times of the year, particularly after winter storms, the shells here can be absolutely perfect! After a low tide there’s usually a good chance to find small to medium sea shells on Marco Island but after a winter storm with a northwesterly tide, there’s a good chance you’ll find large conch shells and a variety of other shells that are as big as your hand or larger. Just make sure that the shells you take home don’t still have creatures (such as sea snails, crabs or clams) still living in them.
Silver Strand State Beach, California
While there are of course hundreds of beaches up the pacific coast where you can collect shells, Silver Strand State Beach is at the top of the list. Here, along the coast of San Francisco, it’s not uncommon to find sand dollars and small shells that are ideal for any shell collection. A search of the tide pools that are left behind once the tide goes out may lead you to some additional sea treasures such as starfish and the occasional sea anemone that couldn’t find its way back out to sea with the tide. The best time to visit for shells is when the tide has just gone out or as it begins to come in right after a low tide.
Venice Beach, Florida
While there’s a lot more going on along Venice Beach than just some shell collecting, you’re sure to have fun finding the treasures that the Gulf of Mexico has washed up on shore at this beautiful Florida beach. Venice Beach is known as the shark’s teeth capital of the world and for good reason—a short walk along the beach leads you to handfuls of sharks teeth that have washed up. You’ll also find your fair share of shells, mostly small but some about the size of a half dollar. The best time to visit Venice Beach for shells is at low tide but the crystal clear waters make finding shells even simple during a relative medium to high tide as there isn’t a large drop off of the sea floor as you go out.