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Florida

Search for Seashells by the Sea Shore on Sanibel Island

Florida is already world renown for its beautiful sandy beaches and warm gulf waters making it the perfect tropical getaway for millions of tourists from around the world.

One of the biggest draws to the state isn’t just the numerous theme parks, unique history, and warm climate but shell collecting. Collecting shells or shelling is a unique hobby practiced by people all around the world and one of the shelling capitals of the world is Sanibel Island in Florida located right beside Captiva Island the location of one of CEC’s primary care continuing education conferences.

Sanibel Island

What makes shelling so popular in this region is the sheer abundance of shells in the area. Sanibel Island, in particular, is a sheller’s dream because of a unique combination of ocean currents pushing shells onto a nearby underwater shelf where tides pull them onto a curved beach where they lie just waiting for someone to come along and pick them up. The overall gentle currents around the islands also provide for ideal shelling because the shells are left in pristine condition instead of being ripped apart by the waves. The sight of seeing a person bending over at the beach to retrieve a shell that has caught their eye has become so common that it is referred to by locals as the “Sanibel Stoop”.

When local residents begin to dig in their yard or a new building is being constructed it’s very common to dig up numerous different specimens perfectly intact. The shells available to collect are not just abundant in number but sheer variety as well, there are over four hundred unique shells to collect in this small area alone. The local culture of the islands has fully embraced their reputation as a shelling capital with numerous different shops in the area selling all kinds of items and works of art made from shells collected by local residents. Sanibel Island even has a shelling festival held every year in March that brings shellers from all around the country and even the world to show off their collections and works of art.

Sanibel Stoop

If you’re ready to join many others in the “Sanibel Stoop” or are looking for a fun way to spend the afternoon or evening then shelling would be a perfect way to spend part of your vacation. Although Sanibel and Captiva beaches (CAN YOU ADD A LINK TO SANIBEL AND CAPTIVA BEACHES?) are known for having some of the best beaches for shelling in the world not all beaches provide the same yield. An insider’s secret to finding the best specimens is to look for shells either an hour before or an hour after low tide.

The yield can be particularly good during either a full or a half-moon when the tides are at their most extremes. Another secret is to know what kind of shell you’d like to find. Different beaches have different reputations if you’re looking for small shells such as sand dollars or clams than consider looking on Lighthouse Inn and if you’re looking for larger shells such as conchs then take a trip to Big Captiva or North Captiva beach. Lighthouse Inn beach is by far the most popular beach in the area and would be the perfect place to spend part of your vacation if you’re looking to both swim and look for seashells

Turner or Blind Pass Beach

If you’re looking to get off the beaten path or to take some fantastic photographs than you may want to consider visiting either Turner or Blind Pass Beach both have reputations for their rarer shell yields and beautiful scenery, although it is strongly advised that you do not swim in this area because of its stronger currents. If you’re considering going shelling during your Florida vacation then please be advised to follow the local laws and never pick up any live specimens or to take any sea stars or urchins. Any empty shell that you find is yours to take but please consider not taking shells by the bucketful, while there are certainly plenty of shells to go around they play an important part in the ecosystem.

Many species of marine life rely on shells as part of their diet besides playing an essential role in the local ecosystem. Shells play a vital part in the geology of the region as well. Beaches are formed by the gradual disintegration of seashells by the rise and fall of the tides which slowly withers millions of shells into the sand we see today.

Adventure in Paradise Tour

You don’t have to be a shell connoisseur to enjoy all that these islands have to offer. There are many different local tours available for everyone to enjoy. One of the most popular tours available in the Adventure in Paradise Tour. During this amazing experience, you’ll take a boat ride to a secluded island where you’ll get the chance to look for seashells, relax in the sun, or snorkel and swim in the waves.

This tour is led by an experienced captain and naturalist who will tell you all about the local wildlife and you may even get the chance to see manatees, dolphins, or sea turtles on your way. Another popular tour available is Sand Dollar Shelling, which provides a gentle cruise Marco Island. You’ll learn all about the local history and wildlife on your way to this unique adventure. Captiva Cruises is another amazing tour which has been family-run for over thirty years.

You’ll embark from Captiva Island for a full or half-day tour and travel to the nearby Caya Costa State Park, an island only accessible by boat. On these secluded beaches, you’ll find the perfect place to swim, fish, look for shells, take photos, or just enjoy a well-earned nap in the sunshine. You’ll not only complete your CME requirements in a unique and fun way but you’ll also bring back vacation memories that will last a lifetime, who knows you may also bring back a beautiful local shell you found along the way.


Upcoming CME Conferences & Online Learning

Want to attend a live CME conference in a beautiful locale or complete an online course from the comforts of home?

At Continuing Education Company, we provide you with options to make your medical continuing education fun, engaging, and relevant. Check out our conference calendar to view the dates and locations of upcoming conferences as well as the online learning courses and live streaming that are currently available. And, for a limited period of time, take advantage of our Special Offer! Attend one of our LIVE conferences in person and you will receive a FREE online 15 credit CME course from CME365™.

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