We're "SHELL-EBRATING" The 2nd Annual National Seashell Day... Tomorrow!!

Do you guys know what tomorrow is? It's National Seashell Day!!! Tomorrow (June 21st) is the day to shellebrate seashells, and the home of the shellebration is our beloved Sanibel Island. We had the opportunity to enjoy the festivities last year, and today we are sharing a few reasons why you should put the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel on your must-see bucket list. For real. It's THAT cool. Here's why:



Well, obviously. Everyone knows that Florida has a dreamy climate, especially by the beach. But what is interesting is that not many people head to southwest Florida. Even though it's easy to get to (fly into RSW – Southwest Florida International Airport), it’s very affordable, and it is peaceful and mellow (think the opposite of nearby Disneyworld in terms of crowds). 

While we were there last summer, we stayed at the South Seas Island Resort. Here we enjoyed palm tree lined streets, ocean views from our room, and saw TONS of wildlife – dolphins, beautiful birds, manatees, and monkeys to name a few! We spent hours lying in the sand or by the pool (also right in front of the sand). Blue skies, sunny beaches, your love by your side, and drink in hand... it really doesn’t get much better!



Our biggest takeaway from our trip last year is that sea-shelling is a legit activity - especially here. To us (California natives), the beach is for tanning, surfing, and relaxing. On the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel there are SO many shells (We found ourselves geeking out over the different varieties!) and it’s only natural for one to start combing the beaches looking for the more exotic shells.  

During our “shelling” sessions on Sanibel Island, we became addicted to the hunt of attempting to spot various shells on the sand. We would recommend getting a guide, like Captain Brian (he's the BEST!), to help you scour the beaches for “The Sanibel Six”. We found two – the Lightning Whelk and the Lettered Olive. We need to go back for the other four, as well as the prized Junonia (the rarest of them all). 



Whether you stay at the South Seas Island Resort, an Airbnb, or another nearby resort, the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel are a couple’s DREAM. The sunsets, the picture-perfect sand, the warm water, the food… it’s the perfect romantic escape for honeymooners, newlyweds, or oldy-weds that may need a break from their kids. We highly recommend long walks on the beach. ;)



You may never have enough shells, but chances are you'll at some point get too sunburnt to continue laying on the sand. In which case there are so many other places to see and things to do during your stay on the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel! For those seeking thrills, we would recommend parasailing on the open seas, or kayaking in J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. For those seeking time out of the sun, you can go learn about all of your shells at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Or for the history buffs, visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates! There is amazing shopping in downtown Fort Myers, there are islands to explore by boat (like Cabbage Key), and there are plenty of delectable restaurants to keep your stomachs happy. The opportunities are endless!!


You could do all that, or maybe you just want to keep searching for a Junonia? Good luck!


Thank you to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel for sponsoring this post!







Bobby & Alli Talley


Sea Shelling is COOL!

We both love the ocean. Growing up in Southern California, time spent at the shoreline revolved around tanning, napping, surfing, or swimming. Occasionally, while walking along the sand you may find a cool seashell that catches your eye and take it home. But here in Southern California, “shelling” is not an activity that we have heard of.

We recently learned that in other parts of the country, “shelling” is a thing. It is what it sounds like… combing the beaches for seashells of various shapes and sizes. Certain parts of the world are much better for shelling than others… like the Island of Sanibel in southwest Florida. So much so that Sanibel is the “Shellebration” location for National Seashell Day on June 20!

We were able to explore Sanibel Island by boat with Captain Brian of Captiva Cruises, and Marine Biologist Stefanie from the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. During our journey we learned why Sanibel really is one of the greatest places to find amazing shells. One reason is that Sanibel is a barrier island, which makes it a plateau that acts as a shelf for seashells. To put it in perspective, 80 miles off of Sanibel the ocean is only 600 feet deep! On top of that, Sanibel also has a hook-like shape, which traps the shells traveling along the north-flowing Gulf Stream. All that to say, there are a lot of shells on the Sanibel shores.

During our time on Sanibel we also learned about shells themshellves (hehe), not just how they arrived on the island. Did you know that every shell is made by a live animal? Shells are the left-behind external skeletons formed by mollusks. As mollusks grow, they secrete calcium carbonate, which hardens outside their bodies and forms the shell. As they grow, the shell grows too. There are more than 300 identified species of mollusks around Sanibel, each that produces a different type of shell! This is another reason why there are so many shells on Sanibel’s shores. Shellers are free to come and scan the beaches for their favorites, as long as the mollusk is no longer living. This is pretty easy to tell, because most likely the shell is empty. If you want to learn more about these little creatures, tune in to #WildlifeWednesday on Facebook with Captain Brian! 

We had a couple shelling sessions (try to say that fast) on both Sanibel and Captiva Islands (another shelling hotbed). It’s definitely addicting and challenging to try and spot various shells in the sand. We recommend you call Captain Brian, because he will take you to the best beaches and will help you spot some beautiful shells. While scouring the beaches, we learned of “The Sanibel Six”. These are six sea shells you should try to find during a vacation on Sanibel. They are the Horse Conch, the Banded Tulip, Alphabet Cone, Lightning Whelk, Lettered Olive, and the Apple Murex. We found two! The Lightning Whelk and the Lettered Olive. We also learned of the prized Junonia, a beautiful brown-spotted shell that are in deep water and rarely wash up on the beaches. Our goal is to spend more time on Sanibel in the near future and find one! 

While we do not have the same caliber of shelling in California, we have already combed our home beaches in search of shells with our new knowledge.  It’s not quite the same as on Sanibel, but it is a fun new hobby! Thank you Sanibel and Captain Brian, we can’t wait to come back!

Thank you to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel for sponsoring this post!