Guide to Shelling on Marco Island, Florida

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Guide to Shelling on Marco Island, Florida

Visitors to Marco Island, Florida, are constantly left speechless by the amazing, pristine beauty the island has to offer. One favorite past-time activity for couples and families is hunting for sea shells – either while strolling the beach to relax or planning a trip strictly to find the best shells.

Where to Find Shells

A favorite past time on most any beach is strolling along the waters edge looking for the treasures of the sea. The beaches of the Gulf of Mexico along Marco Island are no exception.

Any of the beaches on Marco Island can provide shells anytime of year. However there are a few beaches that may provide a better chance to find shells that are common to the area as well as some unique finds like an occasional sharks tooth.

Tigertail Beach

Located on Hernando Drive on Marco Island, Tigertail beach offers thirty-one acres of everything from natural resources to beachside amenities, making your visit a rewarding one.

Big Marco Pass / Sand Dollar Island

Locally known as Sand Dollar Island, which is a somewhat remote beach that is excellent for long walks and for shelling.

Types of Sea Shells

Beach combers can discover a vast array of beautiful, exotic shells like worm shell, calico scallop, lightning whelk, moon snail, olive shell, fighting conch, sand dollar, starfish and horse conch, just to name a few!

Best Times for Shelling in Marco

Experts tell us that low tides, the new moon and the full moon, bring the best shells. If you visit Marco Island immediately after a summer or fall storm, you’ll find that the rough waves and strong currents will dislodge shells in shallow water and toss them onto the beach.

What to bring for shelling in Marco

If you’re going to do any serious shell collecting, be sure to bring a strong mesh, or canvas bag, to carry your finds — shells can get heavy very quickly. You’ll want sun protection and basic beach gear for yourself. It helps to bring along lightweight beach or water shoes to protect your feet so you can explore areas along the tide line where shells are arranged in thick bands.

Shelling Rules and Regulations

The recreational collection of sea shells is allowed depending on whether or not the harvested sea shell contains a living organism, the type of organism it contains and where you will be collecting.

Sea shells containing live organisms cannot be sold unless the seller has a valid commercial saltwater products license.

Prohibited Species:
All harvest of the Bahama Starfish (Oreaster reticulatis) is prohibited. Possession of live Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) at any time is prohibited. It is not unlawful to possess queen conch shells in Florida as long as the shells do not contain any living queen conch at the time of collection, and so long as a living queen conch is not killed, mutilated, or removed from its shell prior to collection. Possession of conch meat or a queen conch shell having an off-center hole larger than 1/16 inch in diameter through its spire is prohibited.

Visiting Marco Island?

We offer a huge selection of the Island’s finest vacation rentals in every price range. Whether you want to stay a week, several weeks, or even months, we can match you with a home or condo ideally suited to your needs. Contact our Marco office today.