Celebrate National Seashell Day

DATE: June 16, 2021

In honor of the 5th anniversary of National Seashell Day, we bring you shell cleaning tips, shelling tricks of the trade and the brand-new Sanibel Seashell Passport and Coloring Page!

Since the first National Seashell Day in 2016, we celebrate each year on the first day of summer. National Seashell Day is a celebration of the wonder and beauty of shells and a reminder to get out to the beach and get your toes in the sand.

sanibel island shells lace murex

Shelling Tips:

  • Practice the Sanibel Stoop – Keep your eyes on the sand as you walk the beach and enjoy the property. Great shells can be found at any time.
  • Perfect the Sanibel Shuffle – When you are wading into the waters of the Gulf, shuffle your feet in the top layer of sand to feel for hidden shells concealed by the shifting sands.

lettered olive on sand sanibel shelling

  • Best Time to Shell – The optimal time for shelling is during an exceptionally low morning tide, during a full moon, with a northwest wind, 2-3 days after a storm and during high-season (winter). All of these conditions happening at the same time is not common, we know. However, shelling is better when any of these conditions are present.
    • Low Tide – Low tide is when the water recedes to its furthest point, exposing the most shoreline and leaving many shells behind. You can check daily tide schedules here.
    • Full Moon – A new moon or full moon is important because it has an effect on the tides. During a full or new moon, the gravitational pull of the moon can cause for lower-than-normal low tides, exposing more shells.
    • Northwest Wind – Due to the positioning of the island, northwest winds push more shells onto the beaches than winds blowing in other directions. Keep in mind, this can also push more live specimens on the beach so make sure to check your shells and return any living shells to the Gulf.
    • After a Storm – If you’ve ever watched the ocean or Gulf during a storm, you’ll know that it causes a lot of churn in the water. This unearths shells that had previously been buried by sand and those that were further from shore. A few days after a storm is a perfect time to go out and discover what has been brought up to the beach.
    • Winter – The winter months, and especially February and March, are the best times for shelling because of the prevalence of extreme tides.

sanibel shell passport national seashell day coloring sheet

Click here to download and print the Seashell Passport and Coloring Page.

This year, we created our own Seashell Passport to help guests and shellers identify a number of popular Sanibel finds, mark off which shells are collected and introduce kids to the shapes and look of these shells with a fun coloring page. Pick up a copy of our Sanibel Seashell Passport during your next visit and color in the illustration next to each shell as you add them to your bag. Challenge yourself to find all the shells listed in each category and share your shell passport or completed coloring page with us on social using #sundialpassport and by tagging @sundialresort in your post or story. We might just share it on our page!

Lavender shares her tips from the Seashell Station. Once you’ve filled your Sundial Shelling Bag with your new finds, visit the Seashell Station to sort and clean your collection, pose with your fellow shellers and swap stories about more most prized pieces. Remember to check that none of your shells are living specimens and please return any to the water if you come across one.

Shell Cleaning Tips:

  • Rinse off any salt and sand at the Seashell Station
  • When you get back to your room, find a sunny spot to lay out your shells and allow them to dry
  • Wrap shells in a t-shirt or towel to get them home safely
  • Once home, soak shells in a diluted bleach mixture to remove any dirt and grime
  • Rinse shells in warm, soapy water to remove bleach and scrub any trouble spots with an old toothbrush
  • Let dry once more in the sun and then find a place to display your collection

Happy shelling and we can’t wait to see your new shell finds!