Shelling on Florida's Paradise Coast

Shelling

Bring back more than a tan from your beach vacation on Florida's Paradise Coast. Join a shelling excursion and your souvenirs can include starfish and fighting conch shells.

By Tiffany Connors

Bring back more than a tan from your beach vacation on Florida's Paradise Coast. Join a shelling excursion and your souvenirs can include starfish and fighting conch shells.

The southwestern part of the state benefits from the offshore currents piling up sand dollars and other seashells on the many deserted islands. And there are plenty of local businesses that can take you to those islands on nature cruises that are fun for the whole family. Just remember – it's against the law to take live creatures, so only pick up the starfish, sand dollars and shells that are no longer living.

Grab the gang and start combing. Here are a few of the many shelling excursions out of the Naples area:

Bahama Joe's Charters sets sail with an excursion for groups of up to six people to deserted islands around Marco Island and Cape Romano. Half-day or full-day trips are available. Multiple-boat beach parties can also be combined with shelling excursions.

If you'd like to learn more about Florida wildlife during your shelling excursion, check out Sweet Liberty. The Sweet Liberty runs a daily morning beach shelling excursion on a 44-person, 53' sailing catamaran to the remote 7-mile-long Keewaydin Island. The cruise is narrated and highlights some of the gorgeous waterfront communities in Naples before beaching. After you collect your precious shell treasures, you'll sail in the Gulf of Mexico.

Looking for a private jaunt? Cruise on over to Off The Hook Adventures, which features a six-person catamaran for a day of shelling on Marco's barrier islands. You can take the time to hunt down that lightning whelk, but you'll find a lot more than shells on your trip, according to Captain Corey Yuskaitis. "We see sea turtles, a pelican in its nest ...," Yuskaitis says of the trek. "We want to educate people about the environment. And shells are living creatures in the water, so we only keep the dead seashells."

For another relaxing catamaran cruise, consider Marco Island Watersports, which sails the 45-foot Calusa Spirit, for its two-and-a-half hour Dolphin Watch & Shelling Tours. Hop aboard the 49-person catamaran, which departs directly from the beach and transports you to one of the undeveloped and remote beaches of 10,000 Islands. Along the way, you'll enjoy views of the Gulf of Mexico and watch playful dolphins in their natural habitat. Once on Cape Roman, you'll have about an hour to shell, explore and swim.

For more shelling excursions and other tours, see our Tours listings.

Back to top of page
Map It!
VISITFLORIDA.com Collier County Government DiscoverAmerica.com Webaward Winner IAGTO - Golf Destination of the Year 2014 ACCREDITED - Destination Marketing Organization