One of the most enjoyable aspects of shelling is the treasure hunt itself. Long story, short – you just never know what you’ll find. This month we elected to stray off the beaten path a bit (literally) and discuss some of the world’s most popular beaches for shelling in the US.
Calvert Cliffs State Park, Maryland
Located along the Chesapeake Bay, this beach was formed almost 20 million years ago. It’s gorgeous largely because it’s covered in cliffs that once upon a time, were submerged in water. Occasionally, its rocky slopes will drop fossils, shark teeth and other interesting tidbits. Also – if you’re into scallops, clams and oysters – the meat and their shells – you’ll love Calvert Cliffs.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Located a bit south of us off the coast of For Myers – natives of Sanibel Island often joke that you can tell who visitors are because they’re always bent over picking up shells. And whew – the shells you will find! Coquinas, scallops, olives, tulips, conchs and lightning whelks can be found in abundance. Simply put – it’s one of the premier spots for shell collectors.
Oracoke Island, North Carolina
As the tip of North Carolina’s outer banks, Oracoke is home to abundance of natural wild life and of course – seashells! It also happens to be a beachcomber’s paradise. You’ll find a little of everything here, from Scotch Bonnets, clams, periwinkles and over 20 other species and subspecies of shells. Also – this beach tends to be a little weedy, but don’t let that scare you away! Weed through those weeds and you’re sure to find some interesting shells hiding underneath.
Galveston Island, Texas
The western end of this 32-mile long island is an incredible spot for shelling. There, you’ll find over 60 species of shells, including murex, marsh shells, shark’s eyes, clams and more. The Sea Shell Beach Pocket Park is usually where all the real action is. Especially after a storm or at some point during the winter, you’ll be able to find virtually any kind of Gulf Coast shell you can imagine.
In closing, remember that no matter your setting, treat the beach with respect and be a steward of the seashore. If you find a shell with a live animal in it, put it back where you found it. Also be sure to ask about local restrictions on shelling when you reach your destination. And finally – if you’re traveling abroad, be sure your country allows you to export the shells you’ve found.