Shelling tips from the pros

While we’d love to tell you that shelling was some sort of exact science, it just isn’t. Most of the time, it’s just about being in the right place, on the right beach at the right time. Some would call it ‘getting lucky.’

That being said – good shellers have processes and know how to – shall we say – increase their luck – when they go out. More often than not, shelling is simply a matter of practice and process producing good results cumulatively over an extended period of time.

Here are some tips some of the pros would give you so that you can find the best, coolest, most desirable shells. Let’s jump right in!

Tip-1: Go early in the morning

Low tide is the best time to go shelling – and low tide occurs in the morning. Like we said – finding good shells is a matter of being in the right place at the right time and the best time is almost always when the tide is out.

The other benefit is that you’ll be beating most of the crowds – so the competition for the good shells won’t be quite as significant. And oh yeah – not having the sun beat down on you while you shell is pretty convenient, too!
Tip-2: Take your time

An old adage in shelling is that you don’t find the good shells, good shells instead will find you. People often rush from beach to beach instead of just taking their time in one, specific place. Take your time sifting through that pile of shells. Comb that same 20 or so yards. Taking your time and paying a little more attention to the details is better than a speed run.

Tip-3: Go where others don’t

We’re not going to tell you to scale a dangerous cliff or anything, but we WILL say this is just like a business or a baseball game. In baseball you hit ‘em where they ain’t. Same in shelling. If you know one place is getting abused by mass waves of shellers, go somewhere where they’re not. When the shells zig, you zag. If you’re on a beach with lots of other humans, climb over the jetty and go comb where they’re not combing.

Tip-4: Go where it’s wet

You’re going to find the best shells in or below the wrack line on a beach. For those of you who are beach gringos – the wrack line is the wet area where the tide was the night before. Usually, it’s the wet area in the sand with all the debris in it. That’s where you want to be. You’ll find shells in the dry sand, too – but they’re usually pretty beat up – or they’re in an area where the good ones have all been picked out. Stay where it’s wet!


Like we said – shelling is an awesome hobby and an even better one-off beach vacation activity. Either way, the best things in life are always most enjoyable when you’re sharing them with the people who matter the most. Spend time with your kids and your family and make it a team activity. Have fun shelling and good luck this summer!