Go Shelling On Sanibel Island – A Perfect Winter Getaway

Don’t let your wanderlust wane away this winter! Forget the cabin fever and the winter blues. Gear up to have the vacation of the year in the balmy, beautiful Sanibel Island – a treasure trove for nature lovers. Shelling here is not only an adventure to you as a nature lover but you get to take a few pieces of nature’s best souvenirs along with you to cherish for a lifetime.

shelling on sanibel island

Sanibel Island is located about 25 miles south of Fort Myers in Florida. It is a famed destination for its salubrious sunsets, heritage lighthouse, and family-friendly resorts. The most popular activity on Sanibel Island is shelling. It is impossible for you to pass by the beach without trying your hand at the so-called Sanibel Stoop – loaded with irresistible shells.

Take a glimpse of this post to know when would be the best time to visit, how you get there, what activities you can indulge in and the best accommodations available for your stay in Sanibel Island.

Ideal Season to visit Sanibel Island

The best time to visit Sanibel Island is from December to April, which is also the peak season. It is advisable to start planning in advance in order to save on travel and accommodation. These months are also ideal to immerse in the idyllic beach weather.

Ideal months for shelling

During periods of extreme tides throughout the winter months, there are more shells as well as a wider variety of species that are washed ashore. Shelling in December and January is pretty good, but February and March are usually the best times for extreme tides that bring pretty shells to the shore.

So, where are the best shelling beaches on Sanibel?

Sanibel has three wonderful beaches where you can find a lot of precious shells. If you book your stay along the island’s south coast called the Dolphin’s belly and if you are an early riser, your chances to find the most incredible shells would be a lot better. But if you’re not used to getting early, you can still get a variety of shells if you go to the right place. Here the three best beaches where you will return with some good amount of shells for sure.

Bowman’s Beach

It is right there on the western side of the Island and is an ideal place for shelling. Navigate through the shopping area and take a right turn and then left and drive until you are able to spot the sign to Bowman’s beach. It has ample parking space and a kiosk to pay for parking. Restrooms are available on the way to the beach.

Bind Pass Beach

It is located at a short distance past the turn you take to the Bowman’s Beach. You can identify it by the bridge that marks the location. Though there are tiny inlets that separate Sanibel and Captiva Island, this one can be identified by the bridge. Go to the side of this bridge facing Sanibel Island to collect a good amount of shells. You can find parking spots on either side of the bridge.

Lighthouse Beach

It is located near the beautiful Sanibel Lighthouse that was built in the 1880s. It extends throughout the island’s boundary, which is a perfect place to enjoy a magical sunset. Paid parking lots are available and a narrow sidewalk leads you to the woods and the fishing spot, on the north side of the lighthouse.

Shelling tips

Here are a few shelling tips to help you get the best shelling experience:

Tip #1 – A definite No to Live Shells

Beware of the hefty fine if you are found catching live shells! You can identify if it is a live shell if the opening of the shell has a thick covering, which means it’s got a living creature. Sand dollars and Starfish are also live creatures and if you find any such creatures, you must let them back into the sea immediately.

Tip #2 – Low tide for shelling at the beach and incoming tide to snorkel for shelling

If you are not the deep sea adventurist, you can still have a good collection of shells as you swim at low tide, just chest-deep. If you are a snorkeler, you can get a good collection as well as you try while there is an incoming tide.

Tip #3 – Dig through the mounds

If you feel a bit lazy to get into the sea, just sit on the water’s edge and dig through the sand mounds to find shells that wash ashore whenever the wave hits the shore.

Tip #4 – Early bird catches the worm

A heavy night tide brings the best catch of shells to the shore. So if you head out early in the morning or just before the break of dawn, you can find the best shells washed afresh on the shore.
Where to stay?


Sanibel Island is a family-friendly destination and it has everything for every member of your family. There are multiple comfortable lodging options that you can choose from. Whether it is just an overnight stay or a week-long family vacation, Sanibel Island has just what you are looking for. From budget-friendly lodging to luxury resorts to, Sanibel gives the best of nature and hospitality.

Here is a list of some well-known family-friendly accommodations to choose from:

• The Inns of Sanibel

The Inns of Sanibel is a group of accommodations where you can enjoy the perfect beach atmosphere along with your family. They offer great service and it as a perfect place that is located closer to the nearby beaches.

• Sundial Beach Resort and Spa

This is one of the best hotels in Sanibel Island, reputed for its close proximity to the beaches and a variety of activities to keep the little ones in your family engaged and entertained throughout your stay.

• Sanibel Island Beach Resort

This beautiful boutique hotel is located next to the lighthouse on the east side of the beach. It offers excellent accommodation and great views of the blue sea. If you own a pet, then this is where you should book your accommodation as they are pet-friendly.

• Casa Ybel Resort

Casa Ybel is a wonderful place for a romantic rhapsody or a family vacation. It is a popular wedding venue and its vast acreage serves as a great place for privacy and peace. Their beachfront location makes it a great place to host weddings and get-togethers.
Shelling Must-haves

• Mesh Shelling Bags

These are small mesh bags that come in different colors. The mesh lets the water out without allowing the shells to wash away.

• Mask and Snorkel

The beaches are clear most of the days and a mask is not necessary to see through the waters. But you can find the shells that are not washed ashore and lay buried in the sandy bottom.

Don’t forget to stop by Jerry’s Market to grab some delicious takeaways. You can get some beach toys at Bailey’s Store to cheer up your kids.

Last but not the least – don’t forget to take your sunscreen and the beach umbrella if you are hoping to spend a few hours at the sunny Florida beach.

Guest Author : Madhumitha is a content writer and copywriter who specializes in ghostwriting, blogging and technical writing. She is a guest blogger at emporertraveline.com. She offers content marketing services to a variety of businesses to enhance their social media presence and search engine rankings. She also offers compelling copywriting services for both online and print media.
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