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Shelling: Souvenirs from the Sea

Updated: May 12, 2021

What is more peaceful and beautiful than spending a day at the beach? The sound of the waves, the warmth of the sun, and the sensation of the salty sea swirling around your skin and soft sand under your soles are all relaxing and therapeutic. Add a picnic (and maybe some wine), dolphins dancing in the sea, and a sunrise or sunset and your day will be perfect - almost!

Searching for wave-washed shells on America's beaches is a rapidly-growing industry and it's a hobby that can last a lifetime. Planning a beach trip around the quest for beautiful shells (and sometimes shark's teeth and beach glass) is something that people of all ages can enjoy, and shell-lovers around the world make pilgrimages to our fabulous beaches from Washington State and California to Florida and Hawaii every year.

Scalloped shells and sand dollars, and tiny cochinas and pink-lipped conchs are prizes that most shell-seekers live for. My bathroom has a shell theme and shells regularly get added into the over-sized glass jar by the sink - which is often complemented by our guests. I fill empty glass lamps with them and glue them to picture frames and mirrors, and they instantly become conversation pieces. I also make jewelry and when I wear the pieces, I get to take the beach with me wherever I go.

Simply put, shells are memories of days gone by that were spent at the beach.

Shelling tour companies around the country have already sought out the best places to spend your day searching for the ocean's treasures. Many offer trips to islands only accessible by boat where you'll meet fellow shellers, make new friends, share stories, and show-off your fabulous finds. All you have to do is sign-up and enjoy. Easy! No experience required.

"Shelling is such a relaxing hobby," says Captain Tammy Everts, Owner of Treasure Seekers Shell Tours in Goodland, Florida. "Each step brings about the possibility of a new treasure just waiting to be discovered. For the avid collector, it's the anticipation of finding the rare shells that makes your heart pound faster. Nothing makes this salty girl smile bigger than a beautiful chocolate colored Nutmeg shell."

We'd like to remind you to NEVER disturb any wildlife or their nests. Leave only your footprints any time you're on the beach - or anywhere else in nature.

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