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Sanibel Island -Shelling, Shows and a Shoe

Sanibel Island (off the west coast of Florida) is one of the world's most renowned shell hunting grounds. Supposedly more than 400 types of shells can wash ashore.

"Shelling became our daily past-time, as did it for most the other visitors we saw on the beach," Kelly from Pass the Torch says. And if you find the prized Junonia Shell, your photo will be published in the local newspaper!

A tip from Dorothy. "The best time to look for shells is just after the lowest tide and early in the morning, before the beach has been picked over."

Pam from Small Serendipities loves to hunt along the stretch of beach around Lighthouse Point where small shells abound.

And this is what you can expect to find on the beach after a storm, posted by Snowbird on her blog Sand Between Toes, who moved to Sanibel from Ohio. Another Sanibel island blog is Sanibel Toot's Lazy Days.

Sanibel Island also has the longest running annual Shell Fair in the U.S. where shell artists exhibit their work. From shell critters to Sailors Valentines to shell flowers, even shell embellished shoes! The show is hosted by the Sanibel Community Association and Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club and takes place the first Thursday in March every year (soon!). Intrigued? Then watch Martha Steward's Video.
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  1. Hi Maya
    Sounds like a wonderful place where I could have a lot of fun!! Isn't Pam's photo wonderful.. just makes you want to get out there.. Have a great week xx Julie

  2. The person in the third photo is in the typical stance of a true sheller, lovingly called the Sanibel Stoop, bent over from the waist and looking closely for our treasures.

    On my Bucket List is finding a Junonia, I have one, but it is from the day many years ago when I finally broke down and bought one. They are deep-water shells and rarely do you find them on shore. The day after a big storm, you'll find the die-hards on the shore in the Sanibel Stoop, hoping this will be the day you come home with the prize!

  3. I finally found a Junonia early last year, after 30 or so years of shelling Sanibel's beaches. It's in somewhat faded and pitted condition, but whole, and is a great treasure to me. There are a few shell species I remember finding years ago that I've not seen in ages ... sundials and janthina, for two examples. Thanks for including me in your post for today, Maya!

  4. I am so glad you posted this! I find ALL of my shells on Sanibel Island. I live in Tampa for now, but Sanibel is my ultimate goal. I can't wait to check out these other blogs :)

  5. Great shots! I love looking for shells any beach I go to. Here, winter's the best time to find treasures since no one's here to get there before us!

  6. Sanibel Island is famous for shelling. As such, it attracts a lot of tourists. If you have the opportunity to rent a boat and go a little north to N. Captiva Island, you'll be even more thrilled as you'll have the shells all to yourself:-)!

  7. I love Sanibel and Captiva! Ir's been years since I last visited... It's on my list for this spring...after the tourists leave. (Lower rates!)

    The MS video was incredible. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  8. Oh wow what a great post! I love shell collecting but have yet to go to Sanibel. After your post it's moved to the top spot on my list!

  9. Beautiful pictures and looking for shells is always so much fun and I look forward to it. Great tip to go out in the morning - I will have to beach comb during that time some morning!

  10. That beach looks really nice... always wanted to go but never had the opportunity... maybe this year... ;)

  11. Had to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. My family and I spent 12 summer vacations on Sanibel-Captiva, when our children were growing up. It will always be a special place for us with such wonderful memories---not the least of which were the shells. We still have boxes full! Thanks for your nice comments on my post this morning.

  12. what are the dates for next year? 2011

  13. Just found your blog and love it - Sanibel Island is my very favorite place in the whole wide world!! I have been going there every year since I was born, and my mom's family has been going there since she was in high school :) can't wait to be back soon!