*UPDATED OCTOBER 2018
One of your Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores bucket list items should be some time spent shelling! The Gulf Coast of Florida has a lot to offer when it comes to hidden and not-so-hidden coastal treasure hunts.
Spend your days beachcombing and see what you find. It doesn’t take much to have a fun-filled shelling adventure. You don’t need any special equipment; just a bucket or a bag and a keen eye. It’s perfect for any age and makes for a great family activity with quality time spent together.
So what are some of the most popularly found and most sought-after seashells on Florida’s Gulf Coast? We’re glad you asked. We’ve put together this shelling slideshow just for you. Take a look at nature’s coastal artistry and learn more about what you can find on our Gulf beaches.
Florida Gulf Coast Seashell Slideshow & Identification
Florida Shelling Guidelines & Regulations
Whenever you plan to go shelling, it’s good to know the local laws, guidelines and restrictions before your start your beachcombing adventure.
The Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) oversees recreational shelling in the Sunshine State. While the collection of most uninhabited seashells is permitted statewide, there are a few things you should know. Collectors taking any inhabited shells from the shoreline or water for personal use are required to have a Florida recreational saltwater fishing license. The collection of Bahama Starfish or living Queen Conchs is strictly prohibited across the state.
You can read more about Florida’s shelling guidelines and regulations at myfwc.com.
Shell Identification & Scavenger Hunt for the Kids
Take your shelling adventures with the kids to the next level with this Printable Seashell Identification Coloring and Matching sheet, which can then be used as their shelling scavenger hunt list.
This is a great beach vacation activity that can be broken up into several days: reading about, identifying, coloring and matching the shells to their appropriate names and then going out to try to find as many as they can on a beach scavenger hunt.
You can visit Seashells by Millhill’s blog for links to help you identify and learn more about these shells. They are the creator of this awesome free printable seashell worksheet. Go on over to their site and check out more of what they have to offer!
Seashell Crafts for the Kids
Once you have completed your seashell scavenger hunt, take the next step and make one of these super simple crafts to bring back home with you as a memento of your Florida Gulf Beach vacation. They’re all so cute (and so easy)!
Florida Gulf Coast Shelling Tips & Tricks
- The best time to go sea shell hunting is at low tide or after a storm. Check out Indian Rocks Beach, Florida tide charts here.
- Look at the moon phase. New moons and full moons have the most extreme tides and offer the best shelling.
- Choose accommodations close to the beach. If you want easy access during those early morning or late evening shelling trips, stay right on the beach. Less hassle, no parking issues, convenient anytime you want to get out on the sand.
- Check the wind direction for the location and days you want to shell. Depending on where you are, you want to choose a day when the wind is at your best advantage for your specific location.
- Once you find your treasures, you’ll want to clean and restore the shell’s original colors. How do you do it? What’s the best ways to clean your seashells? Check out this shell cleaning tutorial.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Have fun shelling all along the Gulf of Mexico!
What’s your favorite shelling find on Florida’s Gulf Coast?
If you have a photo of it, drop it in our comment section so we can see it!