Here are some examples
Although you can find shells on just about any beach, southwest Florida's Lee Island Coast on the Gulf of Mexico boasts some of the best shelling in the United States. The more than 100 barrier islands, which make up the Lee Island Coast cling lightly to the Southwest Florida coastline, yielding approximately 400 species of multi-colored seashells, from the commonplace scallop and clam to the exotic – tulips, olives, fragile paper fig shells and the rarest of the all, the brown speckled junonia.
Shelling is a favorite pastime of tourists and residents alike who search the shoreline for Neptune's treasures. Some even don miner's hats with lights so they can arise before sunrise and find the best specimens that have washed ashore.
You will want to plan your shelling around the low phase of the tide, which allows more beach area on which to shell. Try to go to the less populated beaches about an hour before low tide and work until an hour after the low tide.
Many seashell creatures are hidden just beneath the surface of the sand where the surf breaks, so it is important to know where to look. A good spot is the shell line, just where the highest waves stop as they come upon the beach. This is where groups of shells come up and are reshuffled by each wave. It saves digging to find the great shells.
The other good spot is at that slight drop in the surf line, just where gentle waves break before rolling on the beach. While this area is only accessible when weather permits, it usually hold the most and finest specimens..
Florida best shelling spots:
1. Sanibel Island, Florida
Experts love Sanibel, west of Fort Myers in Southwest Florida, as the best U.S. shelling spot, and one of the best in the world. Seashells cover the beaches, as they tumble over one another in the waves. Low-key development, abundant wildlife, and great restaurants make the island a wonderful all-around getaway. Shell fanciers should also visit The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and the annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show held every March.
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.
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.
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.
10. Fernandina Beach to Little Talbot Island
Fernandina Beach is located on Amelia Island and Extends down to the St Johns River . This is another beach popular for shark’s teeth. Many visitors are surprised at the sheer number of shells and Sand Dollars here. On April 24th 2013 I retrieved over 10 sand dollars from the North end of Little Talbot Island.
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!