Wednesday, 2 June 2010


Photo: Lighthouse Beach

Sanibel and Captive Islands are well known for their beautiful shell-strewn beaches. You can always find shell seekers out and about doing the famed Sanibel "Stoop." That is, bending down and carefully sifting through hundreds of different varieties of seashells that wash up from the gulf of mexico daily.

Photo: Shelling near Casa Ybel Resort

I was luck enough to squeeze in some quality shelling time on Sanibel and at Cayo Costa State Park with my family on a recent trip to 2010 Sanibel Shell Show. Here's my son and me getting down to business, looking though a wonderful mound seashells.

Photo: Mound of seashells near Casa Ybel

The strip of beach just steps away from Casa Ybel Resort, consistently proved to be the best shelling spot on the trip.

Photo: Live Van Hyning's Cockle

A recent storm tossed up some really great finds on the beach - including hundreds of live calico scallops and large Van Hyning's Cockles (above)! We did our best to toss them back in the water when we came across them.

Photo: Ocean treasures from Sanibel

We came back with a lot of nice shells (bags full) and these great sea stars!

Photo: Cayo Costa State Park

It was unbelievably cold the day we decided to go to Cayo Costa - we really could of used our winter coats we brought with us from home! Cayo Costa State Park turned out to be another great shelling spot and a great for dolphin watching too!

Photo: Driftwood Jungle on Cayo Costa

Photo: Colorful Crab stranded on the beach - yes, he was put back in the water!

Photo: Dolphin sighting near Cayo Costa

Photo: My husband Gary and my son hunting for shells.

If you are headed to Sanibel, here are a few of my favorite places & some important links you may want to check out:

PLACE TO STAY: Casa Ybel Resort is a great place to stay on Sanibel. It is situated just steps away from one of the best shelling beaches I've ever seen. Accommodations are all 1 or 2 bedroom efficiency units - all with views of the beach. It is family friendly, with a great pool, bike rentals on the premise and a kids club. It is pricey but well worth it if you wanting a place that has it all.

PLACE TO EAT: The Island Cow of Sanibel serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food is great, portions are big and the prices are reasonable. It is right next to the Sanibel Community House on Periwinkle Way.

PLACES TO EAT: The Bubble Room on Captiva is really fun - especially for kids. The entire place is filled (tables, walls, every place!) with all kinds of vintage memorabilia. The place is just jam packed with cool stuff to look at. Food is very good and very expensive.

FAVORITE SHELL SHOP: Sanibel has many shell shops scattered on the island. I love them all. She Sell Sea Shells is great one but my all time favorite is SANIBEL ISLAND INDUSTRIES or better known as SEASHELLS.COM . I love this store because is packed to the rafters with exotic seashells and sea life from every corner of the earth! They also offer Sailor's Valentine blank boxes and many other shell crafting supplies. A must see. ;}

FUN TOURIST TRAP: The Shell Factory (and nature Park) is located in Ft. Meyers and is a fun place to visit outside of Sanibel. It sort of reminds me of the Yankee Candle Flagship Store up in MA (a must see shopping complex) but instead of candles as the main focal point it has seashells. It stocks tons of shells and shell related things to buy.

Know before you go -

For excellent and up to date advise on where to find the best shells on Sanibel, visit - ILOVESHELLING.COM

For more comprehensive information about all Sanibel and Capitiva Islands have to offer, visit - SANIBEL-CAPITVA.ORG

For more information about the Ft. Meyers area and more info on Sanibel, visit: FORTMEYERS-SANIBEL.COM

Happy Shelling!

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