I get asked a whole bunch of questions about what to bring to the beach, or what time of year is the best for shelling. Hopefully some of the below information will help answer your questions!
What time of year is the best for finding shells?
Winters are typically the best time of year to find shells here in Southwest Florida. Winter storms and winter winds help push sand and shells onto the beach, while the summer winds and tides bring the sand and shells back out to the gulf. You can see the explanation I provided in a previous video here: Winter vs. Summer shelling
When is the best time to go to the beach to find shells?
There are 2 different times I recommending trying to find shells; either first thing int he morning or at low tide. The tides change during the year, so in the winter the low tides are in the morning and in the summer they are in the afternoon.
What do you do with your shells?
I don't keep all the shells I bring home or I would definitely need to start renting a storage facility! The ones I keep I put in glass jars and containers. I did make a video about my collection because I kept getting so many questions:
I did manage to finally get around to one project I had really been wanting to make; a shell mirror: My Shell Mirror
Do you sell any of your shells?
I do sell some of my sea shells! When you purchase shells from me, you know they were ethically harvested and no harm came to the critter that made the shell. I do have a $20 minimum, and most shells range from $.50-$4 depending on the shell, the size and the quality. The average shell goes for about $1. For a while there I was doing custom orders but I can't keep up! Now I put an assortment together and hope that someone will like all the shells. I will still put custom orders together for anything $75 and over. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can send you a list of what I currently have available.
What is the best beach to go shelling?
Each beach is a little different, and there is never a guarantee that you'll find any shells when you go. However, I like to increase my changes at finding treasures by going early in the morning, by going at low-tide, or going after we've had a storm. I also cover lots of beach, because even 100-yards can make a big difference.
Do you ever find shark's teeth?
I don't typically find shark's teeth while I'm beachcombing, however a little north of where I live in Venice, FL the beaches are known for shark teeth and we did indeed take a trip up there to try our luck. Here's a link to the video.
What are the best beaches on the East Coast to go shelling?
I've only visited 3 locations on the East Coast and I really enjoyed my trip at each. In order of preference: Hope Sound Beach in Jupiter, Coral Cover Park in Tequesta and John Mac Arthur State Park in North Palm Beach.
I recently tried shelling over at Dania Beach near Miami and my advise would be to travel a little more north and try one of the beaches in Jupiter or North Palm Beach.
Have you ever found a Junonia?
I have not found a whole, intact junonia. I have found pieces, but not a whole one. Yet.
What is your favorite beach to go shelling at?
My favorite beach is a beach that has lots of things to discover! I am very fond of Fort Myers Beach, Bowman's Beach on Sanibel, Tigertail on Marco Island and Turner Beach on Captiva.
What is the deal with parking on Sanibel?
There are only a few public lots on Sanibel, with Bowman's Beach being the largest. Parking is $5 an hour at all the lots. There are electronic meters so you park, pay and then leave the receipt on your dashboard. Here is a PDF of Sanibel Island with the parking lot names and locations.
What is the deal with parking on Captiva?
There are only 2, yes 2 public parking lots on Captiva. Turner Beach is a pretty small lot and parking there is $5 an hour. The only other option you have is Allison Hangerup Beach parking and that lot is $40 for the day!
What is the deal with parking on Marco Island?
Well, you're going to only have 2 options.
Option 1: Tigertail Beach, which is $10 for the day:
There is a lot of parking at this beach and it's a fabulous place to look for shells. You can use your parking receipt to also park at the other lot on the island in the same day should you feel extra adventurous!
Option 2: South Marco Beach, which is also $10 for the day:
There is not as much parking at the South lot so I might recommend getting there early during the winter months.
Do you give shelling tours?
I was doing tours when I first launched my channel but work has me quite busy so I don't have the extra time in my week to squeeze in any tours. I really do hope that changes in the future!
What tours in the 10k Islands do you recommend?
I have done the kayak tour with SWFL Shell Guide a few times and I would absolutely recommend her tour: https://www.swflshellguide.com
I've also toured out of Goodland with Reel Kind and they will a also take you to the 10k islands: https://www.reelkind.com
I do plan on taking more tours in the future so I will add any other recommended companies as I check them out.
What tours in the Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva area do you recommend?
I took a tour over to North Captiva with Adventures in Paradise and they were a lovely crew to go out with. https://www.adventureinparadiseinc.com
They are very conveniently located in Fort Myers before the Sanibel Causeway.
If you are on Sanibel or Captiva and want to tour to Cayo Costa, I've used Captiva Cruises: https://captivacruises.com
The bonus with touring with this company is you can leave your car parked in their lot and walk over to the gulf to spend more time on the beach.
I'm thinking of moving down there. Do you have a Realtor you can recommend?
I have a wonderful neighbor that has helped one of my viewers purchase a home and I'm sure she can find you the perfect home as well. Be sure to tell her you heard about her from SWF Beach Life!
What tide chart do you use to track the tides?
I use an app called, "Tides" but it's much easier if I show you. I have talked about this free app in previous episodes: https://youtu.be/skpXEeeU9ZU?t=179