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You can’t talk about Sanibel Island without talking about shelling!

Sanibel Island is most famous for shelling in Florida.

You can make your time on Sanibel Island all about shelling.

 

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

 

Sanibel Island shells

Yes, Sanibel Island is good for shells!

You will find some of the best shelling in Florida on Sanibel Island.

Not only that, it’s said that you will find the some of the best shelling in the WORLD on Sanibel Island! (Although, there might be a little bias. 😉)

In any case, there is some very good shelling on Sanibel Island.

You can find so many seashells on the shores of Sanibel Island.

 

Where on Sanibel Island is the best shelling?

You can go to any of the beaches on Sanibel Island and you will find shells.

Along the shoreline, you can find tons of small shells

And the more you look, the greater your chances are for finding different types of shells!

Again, you can find shells pretty much everywhere along the gulf coast of Sanibel Island.

But the most popular beaches for Sanibel Island shelling are Lighthouse Beach and Blind Pass Beach.

My favorite Sanibel Island shelling beach was Bowmans Beach!

Tarpon Bay Beach is a lesser known Sanibel Island shelling beach, but you can find lots of shells there too.

You can also start a long shelling beach walk from almost all of the Sanibel Island beaches.

 

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Sanibel Island shells: You can find some of the best shelling in Florida at Lighthouse Beach!

 

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Sanibel Island shells: You can find some of the best shelling in Florida at Blind Pass Beach!

 

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

👆 Sanibel Island shells: You can find some of the best shelling in Florida at Bowmans Beach!

 

 

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Sanibel Island shells: You can find some of the best shelling in Florida at Tarpon Bay Beach!

 

 

Sanibel stoop?!

sanibel stoop: sanibel island shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

The Sanibel stoop is a thing when shelling on Sanibel Island.

The Sanibel stoop is when you see people stooping over in search of shells on Sanibel Island. 

 

sanibel stoop: sanibel island shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

sanibel stoop: sanibel island shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

If you can avoid the Sanibel stoop, it’s probably easier on your back! 😜

Rather than stooping, just sit and surround yourself with shells! 😄

 

sanibel stoop: sanibel island shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

Another way that you can look for shells on Sanibel Island instead of stooping is by bringing some type of shelling stick when you go shelling.

You can scoop up shells without having to bend over as much.

It will also allow you to search for shells in shallow water without putting your face in the water.

A shelling stick also can help you in rinsing off shells in the ocean (err… Gulf of Mexico…) too.

You also might want to wear water shoes when you go shelling to avoid getting cut since some shells can be sharp!

 

sanibel island shelling stick. what to bring shelling in sanibel island florida. gulf coast florida travel blog

sanibel island shelling stick. what to bring shelling in sanibel island florida. gulf coast florida travel blog

sanibel island shelling stick. what to bring shelling in sanibel island florida. gulf coast florida travel blog

sanibel island shelling stick. what to bring shelling in sanibel island florida. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

 

Sanibel Island shell identification guide

sanibel island shells, sanibel island shell identification guide. what shells can you find on sanibel island beaches? sanibel captiva shells. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

You have a chance to find lots of different types of shells on Sanibel Island!

 

sanibel island shells, sanibel island shell identification guide. what shells can you find on sanibel island beaches? sanibel captiva shells. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

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

You can stop by the National Shell Museum before you go to your first Sanibel Island shelling beach! (map)

 

can you take home shells from sanibel island? live shelling sanibel island. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

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 Sanibel Island beaches.

 

Sanibel Island seaweed

sanibel island shelling beach seaweed. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

You might also see seaweed washed up on the shore of Sanibel Island with shells!

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

 

sanibel island shelling beach seaweed. gulf coast florida travel blog

sanibel island shelling beach seaweed. gulf coast florida travel blog

sanibel island shelling beach seaweed. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

 

Sanibel Island visitor center

stop by sanibel island visitor center before sanibel 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. sanibel island map. sanibel captiva. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

 

Cost to go shelling 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.

 

how to get to sanibel island shelling beaches. sanibel island bridge. sanibel island toll bridge. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

how to get to sanibel island shelling beaches. sanibel island bridge. sanibel island toll bridge. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog

 

There is also a Sanibel Island beach parking fee at every beach parking lot.

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

 

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

 

So the starting cost to go shelling on Sanibel Island is $11! ($6 toll + $5 for one hour)

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

 

sanibel island shelling cost for sanibel island beach parking. gulf coast, southwest florida travel blog
👆 In 2022, the cost of Sanibel Island beach parking was $5 per hour.

 

 

More for your Southwest Florida road trip and beyond

 

 

See below for pictures of Sanibel Island shelling!

 

 

🐚

 
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 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. Also see: State parks in Southwest Florida

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? Check the National Park Service website for current closures (October 2 update: Most of the Miami side of Everglades National Park is open, except for camping)

 

 

Where do you find shells on Sanibel Island?

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

 

1. Lighthouse Beach

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. best florida shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. best florida shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

Lighthouse Beach is often listed as one of the best shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.

Lighthouse Beach is a part of Lighthouse Beach Park.

It’s possible to find shells walking along the shoreline at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach!

 

Sanibel Island shelling: Lighthouse Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Lighthouse Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

The Lighthouse Beach parking lot is not small, but it’s also not huge.

Because it’s popular, it’s possible that you might arrive to find a full Lighthouse Beach parking lot. You can wait around and hope that someone will leave soon.

You can also drive around to go to the other parking lots, including the parking lot near the Sanibel City Pier. (You can also find shells at this beach. Next on the list!)

You can also drive around to see the Sanibel Island lighthouse! Even just driving to get a closer view will give you a scenic drive along the water, although it’s just a short part that is the scenic drive!

 

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

 

 

 

See more about this Sanibel Island shelling beach:

 

 

2. Sanibel City Pier beach

Sanibel Island shells. Sanibel City Pier Beach, Sanibel shelling. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Sanibel City Pier Beach, Sanibel shelling. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

The Sanibel City Pier, also commonly called the Sanibel fishing pier, is also located at Lighthouse Beach Park.

This is a small pier with beach on both sides of the pier.

You can give a try to look for shells along the beach here.

 

Sanibel Island shelling: Sanibel City Pier Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Sanibel City Pier Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Sanibel City Pier Beach, Sanibel shelling. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Sanibel City Pier Beach, Sanibel shelling. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Sanibel City Pier Beach, Sanibel shelling. Lighthouse Beach Park shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

You can park at the main Lighthouse Beach parking lot and then walk over to the Sanibel City Pier beach.

Or you can keep driving to find another parking lot within Lighthouse Beach Park that is closer to the Sanibel City Pier beach.

 

sanibel island shelling map: sanibel pier beach shelling map. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Explore the Sanibel Island map of the Sanibel City Pier beach.

 

 

3. Gulfside City Beach

I didn’t make it here, but Gulfside City Beach is a Sanibel Island beach along the gulf coast, so there’s a good chance you can find shells at the Gulfside City Beach too!

Plus, there are some google reviews that say there’s good shelling at Gulfside City Beach.

This is a Sanibel beach that isn’t as well-known.

 

sanibel island shelling map: gulfside city beach shelling map. gulfside city beach park shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Explore the Sanibel Island map of Gulfside City Beach.

 

 

4. Tarpon Bay Beach

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

Tarpon Bay Beach, officially at the Tarpon Bay Road Beach Park, is one of the lesser known shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.

It doesn’t have as much name recognition as other shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.

But it’s possible to find lots of mounds of shells walking along the shoreline at Tarpon Bay Beach!

 

Sanibel Island shelling: Tarpon Bay Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Tarpon Bay Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Tarpon Bay Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Tarpon Bay Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Tarpon Bay Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Tarpon Bay Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

 

There is a Tarpon Bay on Sanibel Island, but you aren’t actually going to Tarpon Bay for the shelling beach.

Tarpon Bay Beach is at one end of the road called Tarpon Bay Road. This is the gulf coast end of the road.

On the other end of Tarpon Bay Road to the north is the actual Tarpon Bay. (map)

For most people, the driving directions you will want to use will be “Tarpon Bay Road Public Beach Parking,” also called the Trost parking lot. (map) This is a short walk down the road from Tarpon Bay Beach. The only parking available directly at Tarpon Bay Beach is if you have a disability permit.

 

sanibel island shelling map: tarpon bay beach shelling map. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Explore the Sanibel Island map of Tarpon Bay Beach.

 

See more about this Sanibel Island shelling beach:

 

 

5. Bowmans Beach

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. best shelling in florida. best shelling in the world. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

Bowmans Beach is one of the best spots for shelling on Sanibel Island.

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!

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

There were mounds of shells along the Sanibel Island shoreline!

 

Sanibel Island shelling: Bowmans Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Bowmans Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Bowmans Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Bowmans Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Bowmans Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Bowmans Beach, Sanibel shelling. Sanibel seashells. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

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

The Bowmans Beach parking lot is pretty big, so it’s one of the Sanibel Island beach parking lots that may be easier to find an open parking spot.

 

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

 

See more about this Sanibel Island shelling beach:

 

 

6. Blind Pass Beach

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. best florida shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Best Sanibel Island shelling. Best Sanibel Island beaches for shelling. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. best florida shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

Blind Pass Beach is often listed as one of the best shelling beaches on Sanibel Island.

You can find a lot of shells walking along the shoreline at Blind Pass Beach!

 

Sanibel Island shelling: Blind Pass Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shelling: Blind Pass Beach shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

Sanibel Island shells. Blind Pass Beach, Sanibel shelling. gulf coast florida travel blog

 

Blind Pass is the channel of water between Sanibel Island and Captiva Island.

The bridge that goes over Blind Pass that connects Sanibel Island and Captiva Island is called the Blind Pass Bridge!

You can drive across this bridge, and you can also walk across this bridge for great views of both Sanibel Island and Captiva Island!

There are shelling beaches on both sides of Blind Pass, on both Sanibel Island and Captiva Island.

Blind Pass Beach is at Blind Pass on the Sanibel Island side of the bridge. Turner Beach is at Blind Pass on the Captiva Island side of the bridge.

There are beach parking lots on both sides of Blind Pass, although they are pretty small parking lots.

This means it usually requires a little bit of luck to find an open parking spot to go shelling on Sanibel Island at Blind Pass!

 

Sanibel Island and Captiva: Blind Pass shelling walk on Sanibel Island. southwest florida travel blog
👆 Blind Pass: To the left is Blind Pass Beach and Sanibel Island. To the right is Turner Beach and Captiva Island.

 

sanibel island shelling map: blind pass beach shelling map. gulf coast florida travel blog
👆 Explore the Sanibel Island map of Blind Pass Beach.

 

 

 

See more about this Sanibel Island shelling beach:

 

 

IMPORTANT!!! Check to see if Blind Pass Beach is open or closed before you go.

 

In June 2022, Blind Pass Beach was closed due to beach erosion.

 

According to the City of Sanibel:

The shoreline at Blind Pass Beach has gradually eroded and a steep escarpment has developed at the end of the beach access paths making public access to the water unsafe.

 

Check the City of Sanibel website or general Sanibel news reports (aka a simple google search!) for current updates to see if it’s open when you go.

There were local news reports about the Blind Pass Beach becoming closed, so hopefully there will similarly be news reports about when Blind Pass Beach opens!

 

 

More shelling on Sanibel and Captiva

Blind Pass Beach will take you to the end of Sanibel Island!

But, you can keep driving!

If you continue driving, you will end up on Captiva Island!

Captiva Island is also known for shelling.

You can go to Turner Beach or Alison Hagerup Beach.

 

 

And that’s a bit about where to find Sanibel Island shells!

My Sanibel Island shelling trip was in April 2022. Your experience may vary!

 

More for your Florida road trip:

 

HAPPY SHELLING ON SANIBEL ISLAND!

 

 

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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!