For the serious beachcomber, the most important thing about shelling is to know the tides. Charts are featured in most local newspapers, as the best shells are found just before low tide. Another opportune time is after a storm – advancing cold fronts tend to push water away from the beach and tropical storms can churn up the tides bringing shells ashore.
Three excellent locations for shelling on Anna Maria Island are:
- Alamanda & North Shore Drive: Park at the pier near Alamand and North Shore Drive and walk counter clockwise around the tip of the island. It is a very short walk and although shelling is sporadic you’ll find plenty of starfish.
- Gulf Blvd and Palm Avenue: Park near the gulf front park at Gulf Blvd. and Palm Avenue. This is probably the best area for shelling, especially at low tide when the sandbar extends out into the Gulf a few 100 yards (on a good day).
- Egmont Key: Plan and simple, take the ferry to Egmont Key. But, remember to bring a bucket or something to bring back your load of shells!
Best Time for Shelling
Go during low tide for the greatest expanse of beach and shells. You can check Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key weather reports for low tide times. Go after a storm – cold fronts can push water away from the beach, somewhat like a low tide and tropical storms can churn up the water to bring shells ashore.
Shelling Fun Fact
Did you know a sand dollar is a living creature? Find out more »