Upon arriving on Sanibel Island, Ponce De Leon named it
"Costa de Carocles" - Coast of Seashells. Nothing could
better describe the shell rich beaches waiting for you.
With over 400 species of shells, Sanibel beaches are considered the
best shelling beaches in North America. These shells wash up on
Sanibel beaches because unlike other barrier islands which run North
to South, Sanibel runs East to West.
Winter is the best time for shelling on the islands. Winter storms
help push the shells along the shallow plateau of sand along the Gulf
of Mexico and deposit them along the beaches for you to find. Shelling
is usually best 2 hours prior to low tide. Walking a zigzag pattern
from the low to high tide mark will produce the best finds.
If you wish to visit the outer islands, a local Charter Captain can help you. These
captains will take you to North Captiva and Cayo Costa which can only
be visited via boat.
Shell collecting has caused a scarcity of many shells such as the big Horse Conchs. Other rare native shells are
the Sundial, Junonia, Nutmeg, Scotch Bonnet, Lion's Paw and many others. To obtain these
shells, you may need to purchase one at any of the shell shops on the
Live shell collecting is ~illegal~ on the Islands! This includes
shells, Star Fish, and Sand Dollars. It is also
illegal to take live shells from the State Park at Cayo Costa and
other areas of Lee County.
We've started a collection of Shell Photos
& we are looking for submissions
to make this grow.
The Sand Dollar is not only a beautiful shell,
it also has an interesting legend attracted to it. Please follow this Link and learn more about it.