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Summer Guide to Going Shelling

Based on a quick Google search, it doesn’t appear that the internet shares the same definition of “shelling” as the locals of our surrounding beaches do.


Growing up in Pensacola, with only a 5 to 15-minute drive from the beach, my Mom would throw us in the car with nets and a bucket to take us shelling on the weekends. She would call it a treasure hunt which locked us into the mission pretty quickly.

Beach culture will prove it to be true when you see a sign on someone’s door reading “Gone shelling” and you know not to disturb.

Shelling in our terms means a walk along the beach, admiring and collecting washed-up seashells.

Seashells can be found in all shapes and sizes. The easy finds are washed up on the beach or tumbling around in the shoreline. Be sure to check if it’s still home to a little sea creature, in that case, let them live their life.

Often gone unnoticed as a relaxing way to pass the time, shelling is a free, fun way to get out of the house and exercise. It’s a walk on the beach that can happen at any time. The supply list of what you’ll need is limited, and you get to keep just about anything you find!

Below are a few tips and tricks to help make your shelling journey a memorable time:

  1. Bring a container – A large cup, bowl, or tote bag would work great. The worst is when you hit a honey hole and have nothing to carry your best sea shell finds!
  2. Bring a couple of tools – Often times when going to the beach we have plenty in tow. You may have these tools already packed and you didn’t even know! A mask/goggles are great for searching for shells in the water shoreline. While a small net will help you as you walk along and filter through the sand.
  3. Collect & Identify – One of the most exciting parts of your shelling adventure is learning about what you find. This https://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/seashell-identification/ guide will help you to identify.
  4. Bonus tip! – If you have ever gone shelling before, you’ve probably seen signs of washed-up trash. Bringing a grocery bag or small tote for the trash you see as you go will give you added bonus points even if no one knows!

Shelling along the Gulf Coast is relaxing, free, and so much fun. It can be an activity for all ages and doesn’t have to be done in the middle of the hot sun. Although the beach locals may not want you to know, the early morning times are the best time to go.

The shores aren’t guaranteed with shells every time. So don’t be discouraged if you head out for a treasure hunt with no luck in sight.  The conditions may vary in regard to the best time.

Grab your gear and make it out to the beach. The Gulf is providing us with many treasures to seek!

Happy shelling!