Tips for Finding Seashells on the Beach

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Scanning the beaches for hidden seashell treasures is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. However, finding large and intact shells is difficult for even the most experienced collectors. With patience and some insider tips, you’ll be able to knab some beautiful new additions to your collection.

Search for Seashells in the Winter
In the United States, December through February are the best months to go looking for seashells. The cold weather means that the beaches aren’t attracting lots of tourists, and beaches lay largely undisturbed for long stretches of time. This means you get first pick of the seashells that accumulate during the cold weather.

Explore Beaches After a High Tide
High tides create tumultuous waves that unearth treasures buried deep in the sand. Stop by beaches immediately following a high tide or a storm advisory. The waves will have been more forceful than usual, and this usually results in lots of seashells finding their way to shore.

Wear Proper Attire
Shells tend to collect in the natural low lying areas of a beach. If you’re searching in common shell deposits, there are likely to be lots of broken shells and other debris lying around. To avoid cutting your feet and ankles, you’ll want to wear closed-toed water shoes.

Some shells may wash up on rocky beaches or in areas with grass growing. If you plan to explore these areas, wear long pants to avoid injury from sharp rocks. If you’re searching for shells in the winter, long pants won’t be as uncomfortable as they would be in the summer. Walk slowly in grassy areas to avoid stepping on snakes or other nesting animals.

Keep your Findings Safe
After you’ve spent a day collecting seashells, you’re going to want to make sure that your findings stay pristine. Collect shells in a bag that can withstand a lot of weight. Avoid swinging or jerking the bag, since seashells may break against each other if handled roughly. Wash seashells with water to remove excess sand and grime. After water, wash over with a detergent that won’t damage the seashell’s color or texture for a truly beautiful shell.

What Can You Do With Your Shells?
After your shells are cleaned and looking their best, there are several different options for what to do with them. You can use your best finds as decoration pieces in the home. Seashells look great on a mantle or as a centerpiece on the kitchen table.

If you’re looking to make a few dollars, you can use auction websites like Ebay to sell your shells. Conchology, Inc is a shell-specific website for buying and selling seashells. Some of the most high-quality shells on this site sell for over $400.

If you’re an avid shell enthusiast, we recommend joining the Conchologists of America, Inc. Joining this organization will put you in contact with shell collectors across the country. You’ll have more opportunities to buy, sell and trade shells as well as having conversations with like-minded individuals.

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