Where is the best place to go shelling on Sanibel?

This is probably the question we get asked more then any other one.  Unfortunately there is no straight forward answer to this.  All I can due 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 Sanibel  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! 

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. 

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! See below for examples of good beach low tides: