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Top Ten Florida Beaches for Seashells

Posted by Jody on February 28, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Laura Hoot from HomeAway!

Top 10 Florida Beaches for Seashells

Look no further than Florida for some of the best seashell collecting in the country. Throughout the Sunshine State there are beaches with lovely shells and sea glass that are worth planning a trip around. Some travelers will prefer beaches with oceanfront vacation rentals, while others might prefer lesser-known beaches or protected state parks for a serene experience. Whatever type of beach you crave, you’ll find a match in Florida.

1. Sanibel Island

Located near Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is one of the best places in Florida for collecting seashells. On this barrier island, shells cover the beaches. The island is also appealing for its wildlife, great restaurants, and low-key development. Here you can expect a quiet, leisurely trip full of good walks on the beach.

Sanibel Island Beach Treasures

2. Caladesi Island State Park

If you’re looking for protected state beaches, plan a trip to the Caladesi Island State Park in the Tampa Bay Area. You can’t reach this beach by car — only by boat — leaving the quiet beach yours to explore. There are great shells here and it is a popular spot for swimming and picnics too.

3. Captiva Island

Often considered one of the very best places in the whole state for collecting shells, many people return to Captiva year after year looking for the next great find.

4. Cedar Key

Another option on the Gulf Coast is Cedar Key.  This beach is especially great at low tide when you can explore all the tidal pools for shells. The fact that you need a boat to reach this small island also means fewer crowds on the beautiful beach.

5. Panama City Beach

There is also some great shelling at the panhandle at places such as the aptly named Shell Island off of Panama City Beach. Access the island with one of the many shuttles or tour boats for about $20 a person.

6. Venice Beach

If you’re on the hunt for shark’s teeth, check out Venice Beach south of Sarasota. If you have any kids that are big shark fans, this is the place to be.

Vecice Beach Treasures

7. Little Talbot Island State Park

One great option on the Atlantic Coast is Little Talbot Island State Park, located north of Jacksonville. This beach is known for being the home to dozens of shell varieties. While many visitors congregate around the boardwalks looking for shells, you will have a more serene experience if you venture north to the long stretches of empty beaches.

8. Honeymoon Island

Another beach near Tampa for shelling is Honeymoon Island. Here you and your kids can hunt for sand dollars and other interesting shells. The clear waters on the Gulf Coast make it possible to look for shells not just on the beach, but within the first few feet of where the water meets the beach as well.

Sunrise from the boardwalk. Let’s go! (Photo by Jay Malone/Wikimedia Commons)

9. Jupiter Island

Located north of West Palm Beach on the Atlantic side, Jupiter Island also has a large variety of shells. Coral Cove State Park is on Jupiter Island and over 200 varieties of shells have reportedly been found here. By paying the entry fee you are also ensuring the beach will be preserved for future generations.

10. Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach is located on Amelia Island. This is another beach popular for shark’s teeth. Many visitors are surprised at the sheer number of shells here. Expect to sort through piles of shells to find unbroken, colorful, or other special shells that appeal to you.

From the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast, from busy beaches to hidden coves, Florida is full of great options for shelling. Get your bucket and head to the beach!

About the Author

Laura Hoot has been writing professionally since 2004 and currently manages HomeAway’s Travel Ideas site.  She also manages a household of three dogs, a cat, two chickens and a baby boy with her husband. She’s written for USA Today’s travel site, GirlsGetaway.com , Cheapo Air, Travels.com, Trails.com, eFilmCritic.com, The Budget Fashionista, Travellogged.com and many more sites.

Thank you, Laura!  You’ve given us some wonderful choices  for our next visit to the Sunshine State! ~ Happy beachcombing ~ Jody

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86 Responses to “Top Ten Florida Beaches for Seashells”

  1. my sister and brother in law have a place just north of the Cape Canaveral Nature Preserve, it is awesome

  2. I knew when I saw your post title that Sanibel would be first. You made me miss my childhood. We used to get to be there every Thanksgiving at a little beach house. So beautiful, and I long for the Gulf coast sometimes, even in my NW mountain paradise. :) Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • Jody said

      Yes, Sanibel is pretty much the premium beachcombing beach in the country (not just Florida)! Greg and I love to get away to Sanibel Island. So I know exactly what you mean. Happy memories! :-)

  3. Beautiful photography. Great sea shell hunting advice. Thank you.
    And thank you for your like.

  4. fgassette said

    Your information is very helpful to know. Thanks for sharing and viisiting my blog.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  5. elizabethweaver said

    Thank you for the list and such beautiful shell photos! Thanks too for visiting my photoblog.

  6. Had a wonderful week on Captiva, and was amazed at the variety of different shells. The shell museum at Sanibel was a highlight, a superb collection, and interesting history. As were the guided tours of the mangroves :) .

    • Jody said

      Yes, Sanibel and Captiva have so much to offer. The Baily-Matthews Shell Museum is an amazing place, too. Thank you so much for your insight!

  7. anspired said

    Here in South Africa we don’t have a lot of shelly beaches, but I collect pieces of Abalone
    and turn them into necklaces. Your beaches look amazingly rich!

    • Jody said

      Yes, the beachcombing can be pretty amazing on many of Florida’s beaches. But in the Pacific Northwest – not as much. The scenery makes up for the lack of variety, though! And then other beaches have the awesome surf. It’s all good! :-) I’d love to see your Abalone necklaces. ~Thank you for checking in!

  8. Great topic, great idea. I spent a lot of time on Florida beaches in my past life during business travel. Not as much lately. But loved the sea shells, sea turtles and piper crabs.

    • Jody said

      Jim, thank you! Coast to coast, Florida has so much to offer! We haven’t seen Florida’s sea turtles yet. We’ve only seen their nests. ~Maybe next time.

  9. mhdriver said

    Jody I Know that Florida has some great beaches. If you check out the header on my blog, That is the pier at Venice Beach – Sharky’s . I have been blessed to have been on many beaches on the west coast, Hawaii, and the Philippines.

    • Jody said

      Oooooh! Sharkey’s on the Pier is one of our favorite spots in Venice! I highly recommend the Boathouse Salad! Feel free to jump in any time with a guest post on a favorite beach! We love to share & we’ll be happy to link back to your blog.

  10. Mazigrace said

    My parents spent many winters in Fort Meyers. Mom gathered shells while Dad fished. What a life! I still have some of those shells today. Thanks for the wonderful blog. And thanks for the like on mine. Stay tuned for more.

  11. mhdriver said

    Jody,thanks for stopping by my blog again. I didn’t post my picture on the like button again because it would appear that I had shaky hands and just hit the button too many times.

  12. I enjoyed reading your list. I can’t imagine how many beaches you’ve been to in order to compile such a list. Amazing. Thanks.

  13. Happiness is sand in your shoes and a shell in each pocket. We do love our beaches. Thanks for liking my posts. Maybe one time you might leave a comment. Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. mhdriver said

    i can’t say that I’ve been to all those beaches but I
    ve been to number 1-6-10 Fernandina Beach thought t was pretty good. Mele Kalikimaka

  15. puglife said

    Great post. I have had great luck on the northern part of Gasparilla Island, especially, with sand dollars as well.

  16. kronquillo said

    nice layout of the seashells :)

  17. [...] Top Ten Florida Beaches for Seashells « Beach Treasures and …Feb 28, 2012 … Throughout the Sunshine State there are beaches with lovely shells and … Coast is Little Talbot Island State Park, located north of Jacksonville. [...]

  18. Nice ppst..thanks for liking my post

  19. I have many sharks teeth from Venice beach – I also picked up a pure white one from St Petes beach many years ago :)

  20. JK Bevill - Lost Creek Publishing said

    Reblogged this on lost creek publishing.

  21. Rahburt said

    aw my town didn’t make it, ha

  22. so beautiful dear

  23. Ninnaann said

    Vince Beach does have sharks teeth, however, the photo displayed on this page is very misleading. We rented two sand/shell scoopers and each scoop does not even have a sharks tooth in it. We did come away with about 10 after a few hours.

    • E.G.D. said

      Aloha, Ninnaann! It really does depend on the time of year, the tide, and whether there has been a recent storm. There are a lot of factors in play! I’m glad you found some treasures, even if it took some work. Mahalo- E.G.D.

    • Jody said

      The photo is an actual representation of what we found in a very short amount of time on Venice Beach! We were scooping up shark teeth (in our hands bare! – no scooper needed) at an amazing rate!
      Your experience may have been affected by time and tides, as most beachcombing seems to be.
      I say… try again and again just for the fun of it! :-)

  24. Connie T said

    You have found some big shark teeth. Nice pictures.

  25. Capt Jill said

    Your photos and comments make me miss the beaches I grew up on. I used to spend a lot of time looking for shells when I was a kid. I grew up in the Madeira Beach-Treasure Island area W Coast of Fl. Now I live near Surfside Beach, TX. The beach here is still nice but not the same kind. Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my photos of the sea.

    • Jody said

      How wonderful! We’ve been lucky enough to visit Treasure Island a couple of times. It’s a beautiful stretch of sand and sun! Now we have family living in Houston and have visited the Texas Gulf Coast beaches of Quintana, Surfside, and Bryan Beach! Surfside is a great place for shelling! The jetty park is quite family friendly. What a lovely place to live. Please feel free to write a guest post for us! We just love to share.

  26. Jeanette said

    Hi Laura, I’ve recently started collecting sea glass on Jupiter island. I’ve lived here for ten years now and I wished I would of started sooner;)
    I noticed you mentioned a fee for Coral Cove park. You might be thinking of Blowing Rocks preserve which is about 2 miles north of Coral Cove. Just thought you might be interested in knowing. Thank you for article it was helpful.

  27. aj vosse said

    Too good to be true!! Another summer has past and I still haven’t done an Irish beach post for you! Life… ;-)

  28. Charisse said

    What a beautiful selection of shells from Sanibel Island Beach. The colors, designs and shapes are inspirational.

    • Jody said

      Thank you! It’s such an amazing experience to walk along the beaches of Sanibel Island. Everyone is so very happy to be there. It’s simply a beachcombers paradise!

  29. I certainly got some nice nice treasures from Fernandina Beach and even made jewelry out of it.

  30. jennifer said

    hi just wanting to plan a getaway for me and my husband, we have been in fl for a year now, and have been to Clearwater and pine island. could you recommend a good beach, for 2 people in late 20s, to have a grate 8 year anniversary in may. thank you.

    • Jody said

      Oooh! That’s tricky – mostly because it depends so much on what you personally like. I’d recommend Sanibel Island. It’s one of our personal favorite destinations. The bike riding is great! There are so many food choices and the shelling on Sanibel is incredible. The Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge is on the island and there is also a wonderful seashell museum: The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. It’s all good! :-) Please let me know if this helps & have a wonderful time!

      • jennifer said

        yes this dose help. Thank you very much. all I have to do now is get a sitter, hotel , and put in for vacation time. :) what hotel would you reamed?

      • Jody said

        We have stayed at the Sanibel Collection of properties & they often offer free bikes!! Also have stayed at the Sanibel Siesta Condominiums and have had good luck in the past. Please check for recent reviews. Things change! Come back with your photos! :-)

  31. jennifer said

    that’s recommend. gottta love word corrector on your phone .

  32. Thanks for your like on my blog.
    On reading yours it seems you like beaches too!
    Andrew Herridge Contemporary Art
    http://www.andrewherridge.co.uk

  33. Jan said

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and reading “Sea Glass”. I like your blog and if I ever make it to Florida I definitely will be visiting some of the beaches you suggest!

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