Where shell on Sanibel Island

Where is the best place to go shelling on Sanibel

This is probably the most asked question on Sanibel. Unfortunately there is no straight forward answer to this. All we can really do is provide you with some tips to follow that are kind of rules of thumb. It is not to say you will not find large seashells in a spot that should have small. These are just the general way it usually is.

1- The small and miniature seashells tend to be more towards the lighthouse (East) end of the island, while the larger ones are towards Captiva end.

2- If shelling is good on Sanibel it will probably be great at the upper islands where the charters take you. This is not really due to the fact that these islands get more shells then Sanibel but there are a lot less people on those islands. Less competition for the seashells means more shells for you! Keep in mind though that if shelling is not good on Sanibel it will also be just as bad there.

3- Check out our identification guide to find out the habitats of each seashell. Some seashells live within the bay and mangroves. These seashells are going to be prevalent there but hard to find along the beaches and visa-versa.

4-– Make sure to check all of the wash lines. Not all of these lines contain the same material due to some seashells weighing more or less then others.

5- If possible on a low tide make sure to check out the sandbar. Often on a new or full moon there is even a second sandbar that appears. If one is there it is often worth wading out to. Make sure to watch the tide if you go out that far though, you don’t want to have to swim back and not be able to carry your treasures!

Sanibel Lowtide

A great low tide showing the exposed sandbar