Sanibel and Captiva Islands are one of the top shelling destinations on the planet! It’s just one of the many reasons we attract millions of visitors each year.

Why does Sanibel Island get so many shells?

Sanibel is oriented quite differently from most of the beaches along Florida’s coast. Most beaches run North to South. Because Sanibel juts out from the coast in an East to West fashion, it disrupts the Gulf currents, and helps deposit millions of shells onto the shorelines like Easter eggs for shell seekers to find everyday.

Shelling excursions

When you take this unique topography, and combine it with spring winds and waves, and you have the perfect set up for a shell seekers paradise! Sanibel is “all in” when it comes to shells.

We have Shell stores like “She Sells Sea Shells”, Shell Clubs like the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club , Shell Museums like the Baily-Matthews Shell Museum, and Sanibel is even host to the world’s longest running Shell festival!  The Sanibel Community House just completed the 85th Shell Festival where they showcase everything you can imagine that is made with, or from seashells! It safe to say that no one takes shells more seriously than Sanibel!

Private Beach Trips

Where to go Shelling

Almost any beach on Sanibel or Captiva is a good place to start shelling. Some of the more popular spots include Turner Beach, Lighthouse Beach, Gulfside City Park and even Bowman’s Beach. Obviously some of these places can get plenty of foot traffic from other shellers.

You’ll find hundreds of different kinds shells on our beaches. From the coveted Junonia, Scotch Bonnet and Lions Paw to the more common Alphabet Cone, Sundial, Periwinkle and varying types of Whelks… you won’t have search to long before you’ve collected your own bounty of unique and beautiful seashells.

Visiting the Outer Islands

If you really want a treat, book a charter to some of the outer islands and remote sand bars that can hold a literal treasure trove of shells.  We can guide you to the sandy beaches of North Captiva and Cayo Costa State Park and beyond… there is an endless array of amazing places to explore!! As always we’ll provide the boat, some shade, and the know-how to get you back and forth safely.  

We also have the shelling gear to help ease your back from doing the “Sanibel Stoop” all day!!! The Sanibel Stoop refers to the hunched over position that is created while bending over to pick up your shells. We carry Shell Scoops on board to extend your reach and help to scoop up your prized shells along the way!  (BTW, you can also purchase these scoops in the office at our home port of McCarthy’s Marina!)

No matter what you do – Spring is Southwest Florida is a blast! Get down to see us soon! Happy Shelling!

Capt. Bryan Dollar