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16 Superb Vacation Destinations for Seashell Collectors

Updated on June 19, 2017

Seashells Are Washed Up On Beaches

Seashells are hard protective outer layers of some marine organisms. They are usually washed up on beaches after soft part of the animal would have been eaten by its predator or would have simply rotted out.

People Have Admired Seashells for Centuries

People have collected, studied and admired seashells from thousands of years. For some, collecting seashells is a hobby. There are many books on the subject of shell collecting. There are many "shell clubs" where people who are united by their shared interest in shells get together.

It's a very natural, thought-free, meditative thing to do while walking on a beautiful beach. It's a 'task' that takes only enough of your mind to be enjoyable, but lets the rest of your mind just be, in a good way.

— David Driver, an NYC-based artist

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Seashells Are Love Letters in the Sand


Top Shelling Beaches

There are many beaches where seashells are available in abundance. Here are some of them:

Sanibel Island Beach

This island is gifted with an abundance of sea shells. Seashell collectors have to visit this place. It is located in southwest Florida. Shells of many types and sizes are found here. Scallops, Cockle, Conch, Lightning Whelk, Junonia, Tulip, Olive and Murex are some varieties found here.

Sanibel Is a Barrier Island

One reason for the large accumulations of shells in this region is that Sanibel is a barrier island that is part of a large plateau that extends out into the Gulf of Mexico for miles.

Sanibel Is Blessed With Plenty of Seashells

This plateau acts like a shelf for seashells to gather. Sanibel has an east-west orientation when most islands are north-south. So the island is gifted with great sandy beaches and plenty of shells.

Waikiki Beach

Located in Honolulu, Hawaii, this beachfront neighbourhood is a great vacation destination for seashell collectors. The climate here is warm and cloud free. Collectors can find a varieties of seashells in this beach.

Research Lists of Pacific Shells

To make the most of your visit to Waikiki Beach, buy a Hawaiian shell guide. You may also research lists of Pacific shells. Familiarize yourself with the varieties of cone shells.

Be careful while handling cone shells. They host a predatory snail that will sting you if handled inappropriately. Avoid disturbing cone shells. Review the current list of endangered species on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Species Report. This is to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Ocracocke Island

Beaches in this island located in Hyde County, North Carolina offer varieties of sea shells.

NC 12, a single paved two-lane road, runs from the village at the southern end of the island to the ferry dock at the northern end, where a one-hour-long free ferry connects to Hatteras Island.

The second ferry dock, located in the village, has toll connections to Swan Quarter, NC, on the mainland and Cedar Island, near Atlantic, NC. A passenger ferry operates across Ocracoke Inlet to the deserted village of Portsmouth, at the northern end of the Core Banks.

Another option is to fly to this island. Ocracoke Island Airport is located slightly south-east of the village. Note that small aircraft can land here. The average commute time on the island is three minutes.

Marco Island

Beaches in this barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico are located in Collier County, Florida. They are well-known for their various sea shells. Marco Island is a great vacation destination for seashell collectors.

You will find resort hotels, beaches, marinas, golf courses and a network of inland waterways in this island. A long beach covers most of the west coast. It is the largest barrier island in the region.


Galveston Island

It is a barrier island on the Texas gulf coast in the United States of America. It is approximately 50 miles southeast of Houston. The beach here is literally decorated with seashells. It is definitely one of the best vacation destinations for seashell collectors.

A markerGalveston Island -
Galveston, TX, USA
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Beaches in Bandon, a city located in Coos County, Oregon, have many varieties of seashells.

A markerBandon, Coos County, Oregon -
Bandon, OR 97411, USA
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Stinson Beach

This beach is located in Marin County, California. This beach offers limpet shells and sand dollars, but the water here is cold and fog is common throughout the year.

Tunnels Beach

This beach is located in Kauai, Hawaii. Seashell collectors will definitely not be disappointed here.

San Jose Island

It is a barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Texas. It offers 21 miles of unspoiled coastline full of seashells. Seashell collectors can find olive shells, wentletraps, shark's eyes, sand dollars and lightning whelks.

Flag Ponds Nature Park

Flag Ponds Nature Park is a beautiful gift of nature. It is located in St. Leonard, Maryland, along the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the seashells found here are fossils dating back to millions of years.


Silver Strand State Beach

This beach is located in San Diego County, California. It is famous for its silver oyster shells. Collectors can also find other varieties of seashells like cockles, scallops, sand dollars and limpets.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

It is located in Camden County, Georgia. This island is accessible only by boat. Seashells like sand dollar are available here. Another advantage is that this place is not crowded.

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Shelter Island

Located in the state of New York, this is an ideal summer retreat for seashell collectors. The beach here is famous for orange and yellow jingle shells. It also offers other types of seashells like large spindles, scallops and snails.

Eleuthera Island

This is an island in the beautiful Bahamas. Beaches here offer a wide varieties of seashells. This place is also famous for its sea food.

Point Roberts

Located in Whatcom County, Washington, this place is famous for its wealth of sea life. Seashell collectors will love the beaches here. They can collect oysters and clams in peace.

Great Peconic Bay

Located in the state of New York, this place is famous for scallop shells.

Vacation to any of the above destinations is sure to be a memorable one.

Shelling Tools

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How to Find More Seashells?

To make the most of your shelling trip, hit the beach one hour before low tide.

The best time to find shells is at low tide. There are two low tides per day, and you'll want to go out during the lower low tide — but, I suggest going out an hour before low tide. That way, you can walk one way and then the other, and slowly scope everything out.

— Spencer Richardson, outdoor education coordinator at Sanibel Sea School

I have the world's largest collection of seashells. I keep it on all the beaches of the world... perhaps you've seen it.

— Steven Wright


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    • Travel-Wise profile image

      Travel-Wise 2 months ago

      This is a fantastic list for shell collectors! Thanks for sharing :D

    • srirad0675 profile image

      Srikanth R 2 months ago

      Most welcome!

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