Shelling in Siesta Key

One of our favorite activities at the beach is collecting shells. Many Siesta Key visitors love to make necklaces and earrings with shells or use them for decoration. Let us take you through some of the best shelling in the Siesta Key area so you know where all the best search is! 

Tips For Shelling

Now we know early morning starts during vacation aren’t the most exciting thing, but waking up early will greatly benefit your shelling adventures. Lower tides equal more visible shells. And since it’s early in the morning, most beachgoers won't be on the shore for at least a couple of hours after the sun rises. Did we mention how beautiful the sunrise is at Siesta Key? 

A couple more occurrences to look out for are how strong the tides are and moon cycles. The low spring tides during the full moon and new moon are better than usual. This is because the gravitational pull is at full strength from the sun and the moon. That’s pretty cool! 

We also recommend shelling the day after a strong storm, because new shells tend to wash up on shore.

While visiting the shore early is important, we can’t overlook technique. When you scan the shoreline, look where the water meets the sand. Shells often reveal themselves right above the line as the tide travels down. Follow this line as you scan the beach, and don’t be afraid to dig with your hand a bit. 

Sometimes shells are dragged up from a strong storm and get caught in the beach foliage. Peruse the beach foliage next to the beach entrance for a possible score. Oftentimes, these shells are tangled in the plants so make sure you don’t disturb the critters who hide away in the plants! 
Important: Make sure you don’t bring a shell-dwelling creature with you on your shelling journey. This is illegal and can result in hefty fines if caught. 

Where To Go

Point of Rocks

Right outside of your Tropical Beach stay is Point of Rocks. This beloved area is at the southernmost part of Crescent Beach, attracting travelers who want to experience the unique series of rock formations right under the water. Created from limestone, molluscan grindstone, and quartz - these rocks house some of the most beautiful shells in the Key. If you are willing to dive into the waters, you can find some incredible shells. Just make sure you don’t take a living creature with you! If getting in the water doesn’t sound nice, no worries! Many awesome shells show themselves on the shoreline around here that make amazing souvenirs. 

Siesta Key

If this spot is not yielding great results we recommend changing locations. One rule of thumb for shelling is if there are a lot of people at the location, then there will be fewer shells available. Point of Rocks doesn’t attract as many visitors as Siesta Key Beach, which attracts over 350,000 people annually (that’s a lot of people looking for shells!).  

Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach is just a little bit south of Siesta Key Beach on Midnight Road and is a much smaller, less visited area. Although we enjoy the snow-like sand here much better on Crescent Beach, the coarser sand and fewer visitors make this an ideal place to find premier shells. Augers and Lightning Whelks are frequent finds on this beach as well as other rarities such as Banded Tulips and Horse Conchs.


With all this shell talk, we want to show you some of our favorite shells that you can find on our beautiful beaches. 
Here are some of our favorites:

Lightning Whelks

Known for their counter-clockwise shells and their bivalve residents (a mollusk not fully enclosed in its shell), these beautiful creatures create possibly huge living quarters with the shells growing to over 16 inches long! If you find one of these guys abandoned by their resident, make sure to snag it! 


Much smaller than the previous shell, Augers are known for their corkscrew shell that, if lucky, can create a dazzling unicorn-like horn. Fragile as can be, if you find one of these guys fully formed, you have a winner!

Banded Tulip

Famous for its stripes, this sought-after housing is loved for its beautiful blotched coloring and elegant construction. A rare find on these beaches, these are hard to come by.

Horse Conch

Now, this shell is HUGE. The largest marine snail creates the state shell of Florida. Growing up to 2 feet in length, this mammoth of a conch eats another marine snail such as the tulip snail shown above. 

If you find an abandoned horse conch housing - you won the lottery. These guys sell from $25 all the way up to $100 for larger specimens. 

Now you know what to look for out there, go out exploring! Experience shelling in Florida and find your dream souvenir to remember your time here on the beach.