Sanibel Island #1 Among the Top 10 Best Shelling Beaches in America

If you’ve visited Sanibel Island in the past you won’t be too surprised to learn that Travel & Leisure magazine ranked Sanibel Island #1 of the Top 10 Best U.S. Shelling Beaches in the country. The Weather Channel’s Facebook friends’ also voted Sanibel Island as the beach they like best for shelling. Conditions are ideal off the coast of Sanibel and Captiva Islands to acquire the finest and largest number of shells that you have to see to believe.

Sanibel Island #1 Among the Top 10 Best U.S. Shelling Beaches
Some say that both Sanibel and Captiva Islands are created entirely from seashells. When local residents install new gardens in their backyards they often find conchs, whelks, scallops and clam shells — all in pristine condition!

It’s because of the lay out of the land that these islands rank the best in the world for shelling. The Island of Sanibel is a curve shape that follows the coastline. The east-west torque of Sanibel’s south end acts like a shovel that regularly scoops up all the seashells that the Gulf carries in from the Caribbean and other southern seas.

What to Bring if You’re Collecting Shells

Be sure to bring a bucket or other container to hold all the seashells you collect and hit the beach during low tide when shells are more exposed. The best times for Florida shell-lovers to collect are at low spring tides during full and new moons. Gulf storms are also responsible for moving a large number of shells up the Gulf and onto the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Sanibel Island #1 Among the Top 10 Best U.S. Shelling Beaches

Where You Can Find the Best Shells

The best places to go shelling are on the Gulf-side beaches from the Lighthouse to North Captiva Island. With hundreds of thousands of shells, the beaches are sources of every type of shell imaginable; with a fresh supply coming in regularly from the Gulf and Caribbean. Please know that shelling is prohibited in J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

What You’ll FInd

There are many different types and sizes of seashells on these beaches. The smaller seashells can be found on the Lighthouse end of the island chain. But if it’s the larger shells you’re after you’ll want to check closer to Captiva and North Captiva. You can expect to see Conch, Junonia, Lightning Whelk, Cockle, Scallops, Murex, Tulip, Olive, Coquina, among the types found there.

Florida Seashell Laws

Seashells are important to the chain of life on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Because both of these are refuge islands, where all life is considered precious, the State of Florida has outlawed the collecting of live shells on the island. A “live shell” is defined as any specimen that contains an inhabitant, whether or not the mollusk seems alive. The law further protects sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins. Sheller’s are urged to limit even their empty-shell collection.

Where to Stay

When you’re looking for an affordable place to stay on Sanibel Island be sure to check out Blind Pass Condominiums. Our accommodations are beautifully decorated and fully furnished and will easily accommodate most any size group.We look forward to meeting you!