Time to Shell

If you’re looking for shells on the beaches, it’s all about timing. You’re going to want to get up before sunrise and make your way out to the shores before the rest of the shell hunters. Walking along the shore just as the sun is rising is the perfect way to start the day! But first thing in the morning isn’t the only time for shelling. Check the tide forecast to see when the next low tide is due. Low tide gives you the best chance at not only finding more shells, but finding fewer broken ones too.


Where to Shell

Not every beach in the Bradenton Area is ripe for shelling. Some are more suited for things like horsesurfing or bird watching. But if you’re looking for the best beach in the area for shelling, look no further than Coquina Beach! The beach sits on the southern edge of Anna Maria Island and was ranked by Condé Nast as one of the Top 10 Beaches for Perfect Sand in the World. Comb through the soft white sand and clear waters to find the most shells in the Bradenton Area!

Bean Point and Manatee Public Beach are two other beaches that are good for shelling. They aren’t as bountiful as Coquina, but they’ve been known to collect plenty of ocean treasures. And if sand dollars are what you’re after, stop in at Shiny Fish Emporium on Pine Avenue to pick one out. Even better, you can sit down and paint it right in the store!


Kinds of Shells

Now that you know when and where to find shells, let’s talk about the types of shells you’ll find in the Bradenton Area. Sure, you might find a few rare gems, but we’ll cover the ones you’re most likely to find. Coquina shells are among the most prevalent. And since the dime-sized shells are so small, you’ll often find them fully intact. Cockles are the classic scallop-looking shells that are ridged along the outside. They can get pretty big, so sometimes they end up cracked and fragmented when they arrive on shore. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a perfect one on your trip! Auger shells are skinny, spiral shells that are also extremely tough. That’s why they’re some of the most intact shells you’ll find here.


Save Our Shells

One of the most important things to remember when shelling is to make sure there are no living creatures hiding inside. If there are, put them back in the water. That goes for sand dollars, too! There are plenty of other shells on the shore waiting to go home with you. So, be mindful while you’re having a shell of a time.

Now that you know where to go shelling, find out what you can do at the other beaches in the Bradenton Area by taking the Beach Finder Quiz!