How to Quickly and Easily Identify Florida Seashells
So you want to do some shelling and beachcombing during your Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores vacation but you need a little help identifying the types of seashells that you may find on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. We can help! Here are some tips and resources to help you quickly and easily identify your shells. Grab your mesh bag or bucket and get out on the beach. Your shelling adventure awaits and is only steps away from your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental. Let us know what you find!
1. Do some seashell research before your Florida vacation.
Do a little advance research before you even step foot on the beach. Take a look at what kind of shells you may encounter on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and familiarize yourself with the most common finds. Check out our previous blog post on the most popular seashells on Florida's Gulf Coast as a starting point. Get your kids involved and let them delve into researching what they might find. It's a great pre-vacation activity for your school-aged children and a wonderful way to get them excited about their upcoming shelling adventures.
2. Invest in a Florida shelling identification guide.
There are some inexpensive but very informative shelling guides available for purchase on Amazon and elsewhere that make a great addition to your beach bag. There are plenty of pocket guides out there, so find one that works for you and your family. You never know when you may need to pull it out and use it. We recommend purchasing a waterproof one that folds up easily and can conveniently be carried with you. We like this one. No electronics needed for this style of shelling guide!
3. Use online shelling identification guides and resources.
There are a ton of online resources available to help you with shell identification. From blogs to museums, and everything in between, you're sure to find the answers you need. The Baileys-Matthew National Shell Museum has an extensive online shell archive for you to peruse with everything you need to know about the shell you find from its scientific name, to close-up photos, to details of its inhabitants. We also recommend the I Love Shelling blog for shell ID.
4. There's an app for that—a shell ID app to be exact.
In this day and age, of course there are shelling apps available to you that are easily accessible on your phone. Most of these apps cost a few dollars to install, but they are a quick and easy way to find the information you need right at your fingertips. The Shell Museum App allows you to take a photo and in a few seconds the app will quickly identify the shell for you. It also has the shell identification guide right on the app if you need it. That's not the only app though, so explore your options.
5. Print out this Florida seashell scorecard & checklist.
If you're looking for a quick and easy Florida shelling guide that's free and printable, check out the Visit Florida seashell scorecard which gives you a checklist of some of the most common Florida shells with a photo and their common name—and a box to check when you find them. This makes for a ready-made shelling scavenger hunt that's fun for the whole family. So go ahead and print a collective copy for your family to work on together or one for each family member if you're having a little family-friendly competition.
One final note, although the collection of seashells is generally allowed statewide, if the shell contains a living organism, leave it where you found it. Some areas of Florida have collecting laws and penalties for their violation. You can read more about shelling regulations on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's website.
What's your best florida shelling find?
Drop us a photo in the comment section below!