For quite a while I was an enthusiastic seashell collector. I liked to find my own shells, and only occasionally bought them from the store. Throughout my shelling days I learned quite a lot about where to find the best seashells, and today I am going to share some of what I learned with you.
First of all, I’ll start out by saying that through my experiences I’ve found that Florida’s Gulf coast is a lot better for shelling than the east coast, as the waves are much gentler on the Gulf side. Only twice can I remember finding something that excited me and was in one piece – most of the time I was finding bits and pieces of shells that I had been dreaming of finding whole. Though there are some shells that can only be found on Florida’s east coast and not the west, in general the west coast has the best shelling conditions.
I will say that I haven’t been shelling everywhere in Florida, but from where I have been, I’ve found Florida’s southwest coast to be very good shelling conditions. But, surprisingly, we didn’t walk the beach for shells much at all – the key is finding the shells before they reach the waves and are either cracked or broken. The secret is to snorkel for your shells – that’s another reason why the Gulf coast is better for shelling in my opinion – because the water is clear and you can easily spot shells on the bottom.
One of the best places to find shells underwater is at the base of sandbars. Here seashells pile up on the bottom as currents push them against the bar. It is here that you’ll often find piles and piles whole shells, usually in good condition. I have also found large Lightnign Whelks and Horse Conchs by using this method, and two relatives of mine have found Florida’s rarest seahshell, the Junonia, this way, too.
Some people say that Florida’s big bend is not a good place to go shelling, and I will say that I haven’t had much shelling experience there, but from what I have had, I’ve found it to be worthwhile – that is, if you know the snorkeling secret. I was snorkeling in Crystal Bay, just off of Crystal River, looking for scallops. I ended up coming across a fair sized True Tulip, along with two Apple Murexes (including a big one – the biggest one I’ve ever seen), and a Lace Murex. All shells were in one piece and in great condition, especially the tulip.
I hope that this page has given you some knew ideas for shelling! Thanks for reading!