Hi there!

 

Okay, so there are many shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.

But I think you will not be disappointed if you make your own and only beach visit Bowmans Beach if shelling on Sanibel Island is your goal!

I went to almost all of the public Sanibel Island shelling beaches, and Bowmans Beach was the most memorable.

It felt like there were so many shells as you keep walking and walking along the shoreline!

Of course, *asterisk, your experience may vary!

Bowmans Beach was also the very first beach I went to on Sanibel Island, so it’s possible that the first impression I had just stuck!

In any case, Bowmans Beach is a very good beach for shelling on Sanibel Island.

And, you might even spot a sea turtle on Sanibel Island at Bowmans Beach!

 

 

Bowmans Beach shells

Yes, Bowmans Beach is good for shells!

There is shelling at Bowmans Beach, so you can make your time at Bowmans Beach all about shelling.

You can find so many seashells on the shores of Bowmans Beach.

 

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog
👆 Sanibel Island beaches, including Bowmans Beach, are some of the best shelling beaches in Florida.

 

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Bowmans Beach shelling. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

Bowmans Beach shells. best sanibel island shells. best sanibel island beaches for shelling. bowmans beach seashells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

 

Sanibel Island shell identification guide

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You have a chance to find lots of different types of shells at Bowmans Beach!

 

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You may also be interested in visiting the National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island.

You can stop by the National Shell Museum on your way to Bowmans Beach!

According to Lee County, live shelling is not allowed on Sanibel Island. This means that you can’t take home anything you find that is alive. Otherwise, you can take home shells you find at Bowmans Beach and other Sanibel Island beaches.

 

Sanibel Island seaweed

sanibel island seaweed at bowmans beach shelling. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

You might also see seaweed washed up on the shore at Bowmans Beach with shells!

Seaweed and sea grass are considered to be an important part of the coastal ecosystem. If you see seaweed while shelling at Bowmans Beach, you can just consider it a part of your Sanibel Island experience!

 

sanibel island seaweed at bowmans beach shelling. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

sanibel island seaweed at bowmans beach shelling. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

sanibel island seaweed at bowmans beach shelling. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

 

Sanibel Island visitor center

stop by sanibel island visitor center before bowmans beach shelling. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

Since shelling is your goal (and even if it’s not), be sure to stop by the Sanibel Island visitor center!

You’ll look for signs for the visitor center right after you get on Sanibel Island.

Most importantly, you can pick up a shell identification guide!

You can also pick up a map of the shelling beaches of Sanibel Island and Captiva Island.

 

sanibel island shelling map. bowmans beach shelling map. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

sanibel island shelling map. bowmans beach shelling map. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

 

Cost to go shelling at Bowmans Beach on Sanibel Island

In order to go shelling on Sanibel Island, you’ll need to drive across the Sanibel causeway bridge.

There is a toll for driving the bridge to Sanibel Island.

If you have a Lee County pass, a Florida SunPass, or any other kind of compatible pass, you can drive straight through and you will automatically be charged.

The cost of the Sanibel Island toll is $6 per car if you have a pass. If you don’t have a pass, it’s $9 per car. See current fees under Sanibel toll plaza.

 

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how to get to bowmans beach shelling beach. sanibel island bridge. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

There is also a Sanibel Island beach parking fee, and this includes at the Bowmans Beach parking lot.

It is an hourly fee, and you can expect to pay around $5 an hour for parking. See current fees.

 

bowmans beach shelling cost for bowmans beach parking. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

So the starting cost to go shelling at Bowmans Beach is $11! ($6 toll + $5 for one hour)

But since you will probably be shelling at Bowmans Beach for more than an hour, it will likely cost you minimum $16 for the Sanibel toll and Sanibel Island beach parking.

 

bowmans beach shelling cost for bowmans beach parking. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog
👆 In 2022, the cost of Bowmans Beach parking was $5 per hour.

 

 

More for your Southwest Florida road trip and beyond

 

See below for pictures of shelling at Bowmans Beach!

 

 

🐚

 
More photos/info below, but first...
Side note!
Here's some info on Florida trip prep!


I have a lot of 30-90 second Florida outdoor travel videos. A few of them might be on this page. If you can't see the video directly below, it might be because you have an ad blocker. Save the Southwest Florida video playlist to watch on youtube later!



Southwest Florida is where Hurricane Ian made landfall in September 2022 which resulted in historic destruction. If you are looking to help but not sure how, consider donating to the Florida State Parks Foundation: DONATE HERE. One of the notable Florida state parks in Southwest Florida is Cayo Costa State Park. Cayo Costa is mentioned as the first spot that the hurricane made landfall.

Are Florida state parks open after the hurricane? Check the Florida Park Service website for current closures. (There are many state parks that are closed.)

Are Florida national parks open after the hurricane? As of December 2022, the Miami side of Everglades National Park is open, while the Gulf side is closed. For current updates, see: What is closed in Everglades National Park?

Is Sanibel Island open after the hurricane? Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island were among the hardest hit by the hurricane. The Sanibel Island bridge that links the mainland to Sanibel Island and Captiva Island was destroyed during the hurricane. As of December 2022, Sanibel Island is not yet open to visitors. For current updates, see: What's open in the Fort Myers area? (scroll down to Sanibel Island)

 

 

Sanibel Island shells at Bowmans Beach

My Bowmans Beach shelling trip was in April 2022. Your experience may vary!

 

Bowmans Beach is on google maps, so you can use that to get you there. (map)

 

sanibel island shelling map: bowmans beach shelling map. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Explore the Sanibel Island map of Bowmans Beach.

 

Once you get on Sanibel Island, it will be about a 20 minute drive to get to Bowmans Beach.

At the first main intersection you’ll see once you get on Sanibel Island, you will follow the sign towards Captiva Island. (The other direction is for Lighthouse Beach, another popular Sanibel Island beach.)

You’ll pass by the National Shell Museum if you want to make a stop there. (map)

Eventually, you will see a sign for Bowmans Beach, and you take follow that sign.

 

how to get to bowmans beach shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

 

It’ll take you down another road, and then you will arrive at the Bowmans Beach parking lot!

The other nice thing about Bowmans Beach is that the parking lot is pretty big so you have a better chance of finding a parking spot.

 

how to get to bowmans beach parking lot for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

how to get to bowmans beach parking lot for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

 

Once you park, you’ll look for the payment station so that you can pay for parking.

 

bowmans beach shelling cost for bowmans beach parking. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

Then, you can look for the path to the beach!

 

how to get to bowmans beach parking lot for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

 

Near the parking lot is where you’ll find the bathroom and outdoor showers.

Now, one minor inconvenience about Bowmans Beach is that it does require a bit of a walk to get to.

It’s not that long of a walk, but it’s not like the beach is right at the parking lot.

Maybe you’ll walk 5 minutes or so to get to the beach.

 

how to get to bowmans beach trail for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

how to get to bowmans beach trail for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

how to get to bowmans beach trail for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

how to get to bowmans beach trail for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

 

And then you’ll arrive at Bowmans Beach!

 

how to get to bowmans beach trail for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

how to get to bowmans beach trail for sanibel island shelling beach. southwest florida travel blog

 

And then you can start looking for shells at Bowmans Beach!

 

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bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

You can start your Bowmans Beach shelling walk in either direction!

I went to the right.

You can find shells scattered on Bowmans Beach.

 

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bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

You can find mounds of shells at Bowmans Beach along the water!

 

bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shelling. sanibel island shelling beach. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

You can find shells in the water too, so you might want to wear water shoes when you go shelling!

 

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

More Sanibel Island shells at Bowmans Beach!

 

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bowmans beach shells. sanibel island shells. sanibel island seashells. best sanibel island shelling. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

And that’s a bit about shelling at Bowmans Beach!

 

More for your Southwest Florida road trip and beyond:

 

HAPPY SHELLING AT BOWMANS BEACH ON SANIBEL ISLAND!

 

 

👇 Explore the Florida Keys map on google maps!
florida keys map. florida keys snorkeling map. florida keys campground map.

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Things to pack for your Florida vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're swimming.

More for your Florida packing list



Watch the videos to see Florida in action!

Find more amazing things to do Florida: Watch my Florida videos on youtube
If you see an activity you like, look in the description below the youtube video for the individual blog post about that specific activity!