Searching for the perfect souvenir on your Daytona Beach staycation? It might just come straight from the ocean!
You won’t need a wallet to bring home some truly stellar finds in the form of seashells, sand dollars and other marine keepsakes. Plus, the journey is half the fun—shelling is a free, easy activity to enjoy with friends and family on sunny days by the water. And you never know what you’ll find.
Wondering how to get started on your shelling adventure? Just read on as we share our top ten tips!
Prepare the perfect gear…
One of the keys to successful shelling starts before you ever hit the sand. Bring a few simple tools such as a shell shovel, which will help you sift through the sand to find those big, shiny shells you’ll want to take home; a bucket for storing your finds along the way; and smaller containers for more fragile shells that you want to survive the ride back!
… and cover up
In addition to protecting your precious shells, you’ll want to protect your skin. Since shelling can be a time-consuming activity, you may be exposed to the sunlight for quite a while, so bring a good t-shirt with a tight weave, a hat, and plenty of sunscreen for the day ahead.
Get to know your shells (and other sea treasures)
It can also be helpful to get to know your shells (and other sea treasures) before your adventure. Search what types of shells are commonly found in your area—in Daytona Beach, that includes the beloved heart cockle shells, colorful turkey wing shells, and translucent jingle shells—and get to know what live sea animals look like vs. their shell form. For example, did you know that sand dollars are the bleached, dull “skeleton” of underwater sea urchins? The unique flower-shaped “shell” is okay to take home as long as it is no longer alive.
Search at a quieter beach
Quieter stretches of shoreline offer a great chance to find shells others may be missing. This is where a trip with Family Custom Charters comes in handy! We can take you out to destinations that are only accessible by boat, such as the Disappearing Island, which offer choice opportunities for shelling in a serene natural environment.
Go at low tide
The hour before and after low tide can be especially productive for finding shells—so when possible, plan your day around this point! (Shells can, of course, still be found throughout the day—so be sure to have a look around whenever you’re in the sand.)
Stick to wet sand
The best shell action can typically be found closer to the water, where the sand is wet, as opposed to farther up the beach.
Slow it down
To improve your odds, take some time! Patience is key here. While you can certainly stumble upon a photo-worthy shell within seconds of hitting the beach, more often than not, the best finds are the product of long, careful looks through the sand.
Perfect your shell posture
The perfect shell posture, with bended knees and eyes close to the ground, is sometimes referred to as the “Sanibel Stoop” or “Captiva Crouch,” named after our fellow Sunshine State cities known for their great shelling! Get used to this position (and even bring a magnifying glass, if you need!) in order to find the best shells around.
Indulge in some healthy competition
Traveling with friends or family? Sometimes, a bit of healthy competition can make shelling even more fun! See who can find the most shells in a selected amount of time, or designate a judge to determine which shell is the best find of the day. Win or lose, shelling is a great activity to enjoy as a group.
Continue the fun at home
If you’ve found some particularly pretty shells, bring them home and turn them into gifts for friends and family! Kids will enjoy stringing shells together to form a beachy necklace, while you can also assemble a “beach-in-a-jar” with sand and shells to offer up breezy coastal inspiration long after you’ve left the sand.
We hope that today’s guide helps you find your best shells yet—and, most importantly, have fun by the water this spring and beyond. Be sure to call Family Custom Charters today to plan your upcoming adventure!