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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’s best shelling beaches’

“Pick Your Own” Prehistoric Shark Teeth!

Posted by Jody on January 15, 2014

Our family really loves the Venice, Florida area. In fact, I would describe Venice, also known as “The Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World,” as one of our absolute favorite playgrounds.

There’s just so much for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to do in Venice. It’s a designated “Bicycle Friendly Community” where you can ride bikes along the Intracoastal Waterway and over to the more secluded Casperson Beach. You might also want to pedal to the South Jetty where splashing dolphins frolic against the brilliant Florida Gulf Coast sunset. You can relax and enjoy lunch, with superb service, at Sharky’s on the Pier (Greg and I still try to duplicate their Boathouse Salad at home!). You can swim, kayak, beachcomb, bird watch, and walk the beaches to your heart’s content. The best thing of all though, is that beachcombers can “pick your own” prehistoric shark teeth that pepper the sandy shoreline.

Prehistoric Shark Teeth

Prehistoric Shark Teeth

Located in Sarasota County, the City of Venice is perfectly situated on the Gulf of Mexico, an easy-breezy one hour drive south of Tampa.

Venice Resident, A Great Blue Heron

Venice Resident, A Great Blue Heron

Venice doesn’t brag of sugar-white sand beaches. You won’t find dozens of name brand, highrise hotels lining the coast. And you definitely will not see a lot of flashy souvenir and t-shirt shops at the seashore. But what you most likely will find are some of the friendliest folks you’ll come across anywhere and great souvenir prehistoric shark teeth to take home with you.

Don’t think you need any fancy-schmancy equipment to collect prehistoric shark teeth. On our first visit to the area, we asked our hotel desk clerk if there was any secret to finding shark teeth at the beach. Perhaps something only the savvy locals would know? She smiled and ever-so-politely replied: “Just look down.” So, we followed her advice. It’s that easy!

Do you have a favorite shoreline where you find shark teeth?

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Please feel free to leave a comment.  We’d like to hear your own thoughts and tips on Venice beach ~ or any beach!

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Helpful links:

City of Venice, Florida

Venice Area Chamber of Commerce

Discover Natural Sarasota County

Sharky’s on the Pier

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

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

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Seashells, Tallies & Tips, Top Ten Beaches | Tagged: , , , | 120 Comments »

Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcomber’s Bonanza

Posted by Jody on September 8, 2011

Sanibel Island, Florida is the ultimate US vacation destination for the serious beachcomber! Sanibel Island, located in the Gulf of Mexico, is south and west of Fort Meyers. With miles and miles of shell-strewn, sugary white sand beaches and hundreds of different types of sea shells to pick from, you won’t need anything to keep you busy but the seashore!

©Jody Diehl

Sanibel Island Beach Treasures (©Jody Diehl)

Head out to the wide sandy shore, and soon enough you’ll find out exactly what the “Sanibel Stoop” is.  If you aren’t doing the “Sanibel Stoop” in a matter of minutes, you are sure to see plenty of beachcombers who are! We are stoopers.  Other shellers will come armed with shelling baskets attached to long handles. (These scoops are used to reach down into the sandy shallows.) Some come equipped with handy-dandy surgical tweezers to pick up the mini sea shells that are often found at Lighthouse Beach. I’m convinced that all systems for shelling on the beaches of Sanibel Island are equally effective.

Sanibel Island Lighthouse at Christmastime (©Jody Diehl)

Sure, you’ll be told the best time to shell on the beaches of Sanibel Island is a couple days after a winter storm, during low tide, when the moon is full…  Those may indeed be the ideal conditions for shelling, but that never seems to matter.  We have always come home quite happy with new beach treasures from our seashell hunting any time of year, no matter the tide, no matter the  phase of the moon, and no matter which Sanibel Island beach!

We have found teeny-tiny miniature shells in heaps, and we have come across live whelks as large as Greg’s size 12 sandal moving across the sand. The most amazing thing about shelling on Sanibel Island’s beaches is the number of whole, unbroken shells you can find.  Lightning Whelks, Fighting Conchs, Olives, Augers, Turkey Wings, Moon Shells, Alphabet Cones, Scallops, Banded Tulips! The variety is amazing and the colors are so beautiful.

Be sure to have good a shell guide for identification purposes and check out the tide tables if you do want to hit low tide at the beach.  You won’t want to miss seeing the sunrise and sunset from the Gulf side of the island.  Those colors are absolutely gorgeous, too!

Have a great day beachcombing on Sanibel Island, Florida!  -J-

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Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments »

 
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