Little Known Facts About Captiva Island Shells

Little Known Facts About Captiva Island Shells

Captiva Island has over 400 shells and sea life species in the area.

By Brand Ambassador | February 8, 2022

Captiva Island is just north of Sanibel Island, and the shells are some of the most beautiful found all around the nation. Captiva and Sanibel are fantastic options for finding that rare shell, sea stars, sand dollars, or even looking at a live shell. Shelling on Sanibel Island or Captiva is so popular that an entire museum is dedicated. Captiva Island is a perfect vacation spot for any activity, especially shelling with the white sandy beaches or finding those marvelous manatees. 

Three unique Captiva Island shells are some of the most popular looked for all around the nation. Three of the most desired shells that shelling enthusiasts search for

  • Junonia
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Lion’s Paw

Captiva Island has over 400 shells and sea life species in the area. Read on for more interesting facts.    

Captiva Island Shells Are Some Of The Most Desired

Captiva Island Shells Are Some Of The Most Desired

Shells of many different types and sizes are all around Captiva island, from the North Captiva beaches to the lighthouse beach located on Sanibel. Captiva Island is known to find great large shells but making sure you can keep it is another question. Since seashells are essential to the ecosystem, Captiva and Sanibel are known for shelling collecting of live shells is determined by Florida law. The “Live Shell” is defined by statute as any specimen containing an inhabitant, whether or not the mollusk seems alive. The Florida law also protects sand dollars, starfish, and sea urchins. The best way to avoid this is by picking up the shell and making sure nothing is inside it. Captiva Island shells that are ready to be located are genuinely superb, and some shells are:

  • Conch
  • Junonia
  • Lightning Whelk
  • Scotch Bonnet
  • Lion’s Paw
  • Cockle
  • Scallops
  • Murex
  • Olive
  • Tulip
  • Coquina

North Captiva has many areas where you can find all types of rare shells, and looking around Allison Hagerup Beach park and staying at Jensen’s Marina and Cottages™ is a great place to start. 

Is shelling good on Captiva?

Captiva and Sanibel are known for shelling and are considered the shelling capital. Shelling on the islands is so well known that it is dubbed the Sanibel stoop. Getting those shells on Captiva can be found on either side of the island. One of the best places to find shells on Captiva is Turner beach. Captiva Island shells on Turner Beach are great since the beach is on the southern tip of Captiva, and it is right across from Blind Pass Beach. Since the water coming from the Gulf of Mexico travels between them, the current and tide bring outstanding shells for your shell collection. The shells found on Captiva are more significant than expected since the island's location. The beaches do get busy during the day for the Florida sun, so try and beat the crowd and go early in the morning for that shelling experience.        

Where are the sand dollars on Captiva Island?

Collecting shells along the beaches of Captiva is an excellent experience. However, finding a whole sand dollar in Captiva is almost winning a lottery ticket. Sand dollars are well known in the Captiva area but collecting them alive is no. A sand dollar that is still alive will be dark and color and possibly half-buried in the sand or water. Sand dollars can’t be out of the water for too long, so have them stay in the water. Another way to tell if it is alive or not is they will have short spines covered in cilia (tiny hairs) around the edge and on the bottom. Finding the sand dollar can be easy for anyone. The best place to find sand dollars is in the water just a few feet from the shore where the water is. Bury your feet in that soft sand and slowly shuffle your feet along the bottom. If you see a circular outline, then gently put your hands underneath it and lift, and you possibly have a sand dollar. Sand Dollars are located all along the coast on Captiva and even Sanibel, and you might also shuffle up more Captiva Island shells.  

What time of the year is best for shelling

What time of the year is best for shelling?

Every day, month, and year you can go shelling and find great shells all along the coast of Captiva. The Gulf of Mexico is a sight to see itself, but Captiva Island is like a suction cup for shells for anyone to find. Thinking of the beach and the warm sand and sun, you want to see those shells, but it is not summer. The spring season is another excellent time to go to the beach while it is not hot like the summer but not as cold as winter. Once again, the spring will come up short with the unique shells you are looking to collect. The fall is a beautiful time in Captiva, especially during the sunsets on your boat, but finding shells might be challenging. Since the weather is cold and more winter storms arrive and wash them ashore, the beaches are great to collect seashells during the winter months. 

What is the best month for shelling on Captiva Island?

While visiting a cottage or going by boat Captiva Island is a place to see any month. It is known for shelling, but the time of year and months do matter to find the type of shells that are hard to find. Even though Florida is known for the warm weather finding shells might not be ideal. During your visit to Captiva Island, the winter months are best to find shells. Some of the shells that you might see could be the Fargo worm snail, True tulip, or even a Broad-ribbed carditid.   November through February are the best months for shelling on Captiva Island. Sanibel and Captiva Islands are always a great time to go shelling at any given time, but the most important is to enjoy yourself and have fun while staying at Jensen’s Marina and Cottages™. 

What tide is best for shelling?

Knowing the best time for shelling is essential to find that rare, unique shell. The ocean tide constantly changes tides, and Sanibel and Captiva Islands are no different. There are two different types of tides: high tide and low tide. High tide is when the ocean water covers most of the beach or shore after rising to its highest level. Low tide is when the water retreats from the ocean floor to the lowest level moving away from the beach or coast. Every day of the month the, high tide and low tide change; you need to check the tides to know when to go for the best time for shelling. So when you visit Sanibel or Captiva, make sure you go morning time during low tide about an hour before towards an hour after to find the best seashells. Another great time to look for shells is after a storm can be excellent since the current will uproot all of those rare seashells from the ocean floor and bring them onto the beach for you to grab and keep.  

What Captiva beach has the best shells?

Captiva Island is known for finding great shells that come along the beach but having so many choices can be difficult if you aren’t sure which one to visit. Captiva Island shells can be found all around the island on the beaches. Some of the beaches that are in Captiva or Sanibel for the best shells are the following:

  1. Turner Beach
  2. Allison Hagerup Beach Park
  3. Captiva Beach
  4. Blind Pass Beach
  5. Lighthouse Beach

The Gulf of Mexico brings those fabulous seashells towards Sanibel and Captiva Island due to their geographical location. Depending on the beach you will visit will also determine if the beach is busy or not for shelling. From soaking in the sun to finding the shells during the Sanibel stoop having the best time on a beach on Captiva is worth the trip.     

Enjoy Shelling on Captiva Island from Jensen’s Marina

Enjoy Shelling on Captiva Island from Jensen’s Marina

There are some exceptional beaches for seeing the Captiva Island shells, so don’t wait to book your next vacation. Jensen’s Marina and Cottages™ has everything you need for that wondering Florida trip from renting a boat, fishing charters, and close to those beautiful beaches for shelling. Book your cottage today by calling us up and receiving a Captiva cottage for the weekend, a shelling experience, or just to relax and getaway.

Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™

15107 Captiva Drive
Captiva, FL 33924

(833) 668-7768
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