Shell early morning. Low tide is best.
Avid shellers say that anytime is a good time for shelling, as one never knows what will wash ashore. The thrill of the search is part of the allure. Peak shelling season is generally considered to be May through September where it is possible to find 50 to 60 different kinds on a given day. Typical winter cold fronts produce great shelling on the southwest side of many barrier islands with changing tides, strong currents and prime weather conditions constantly changing island formations.Be patient!
No one area is good all the time and no collection worth viewing was ever found on one outing. Yet there is something innately appealing about shelling that keeps most people coming back time after time, year after year. Morning, evening or midday, shell seekers throughout the islands and mainland coasts of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
assume the famous “Sanibel Stoop" or “Captiva Crouch," position to gather gifts from the sea.Celebrate the shell!
It is no surprise that shelling enthusiasts gather each year for an annual shell fair that draws visitors from all over the world. One of the most unique events in the country, it began on a porch with just a few islanders and has evolved into today's Annual Sanibel Shell Fair & Show, which takes place at the Sanibel Community House on Periwinkle Way. The event includes demonstrations, shell displays, crafts, prizes, food and entertainment. Serious shellers compete for prizes while visitors shop and enjoy treasures that include award-winning Sailor's Valentines, popular in the 1800s when sailors brought them home to their sweethearts. Help preserve this natural resourceThe Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
treasures this natural visitor attraction. Shell activists work to preserve this natural resource and protect live shells from being over-harvested and endangered. By signature of the late Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, the City of Sanibel Island banned all live shelling as of Jan. 1, 1995. As of March 2002, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, at the request of the Lee County Board of County Commissioners, also banned all live shelling throughout the Fort Myers and Sanibel area. However, collection of uninhabited shells, ones where the animals or mollusks are already dead or gone from the shell, is unlimited and encouraged.