Shelling is a very popular activity on the beaches of southwest Florida. Boca Grande offers a wide variety of sea glass, shells and pre-historic sharks’ teeth. You can visit the Johann Fust Library on the Island to check out famous shelling collections that will give you an idea of the quality of our shelling. Specimens from our shores have even dominated the popular Sanibel Seashell show.
Shelling is particularly good in the winter months on Boca Grande. The low tide following a strong cold front can expose some real treasures. You will find an abundance of Gastropod seashells and Bivalve seashells. A Gastropod seashell can be defined as a univalve shell that is not hinged together. A Bivalve seashell can be defined as a two-pieced seashell that is hinged together.
Sea glass is another interesting find. Shards of glass that are tumbled by the ocean floor create a soft frosted appearance, white, green, aqua and blue are some of the colors you may find. Pre-historic shark’s teeth can also be found and are generally smaller and more worn then those found on Venice beach.
It is by Florida Law that one is not allowed to collect any “live shells.” A live shell is defined as any shell with an inhabitant, whether or not the animal seems alive. Live shells include Starfish and Sand dollars.
Here are a few tips on how to properly clean your seashells to prevent the rotten smells that shells can carry if not properly cleaned.

  1. Soak Seashells in a 50-50 solution of bleach and water. You will know it is clean when the flakey leathering is non-existent.
  2. Use a dental pick to scrape off any leftover barnacles and other matter.
  3. Wipe your seashell with mineral or baby oil for a nice shine and glow.
  4. It is important to always wear eye protection during the process.

Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Boca Grande by collecting part of its unique treasures. Shelling on Boca Grande is an experience that everyone can enjoy on every visit. One will never run out of shells, sea glass and shark teeth to look for.