Best place to find them: Sanibel Island, Florida. Off the coast of southwest Florida near Ft. Myers, Sanibel is North America’s premier spot for scooping
up shells including conchs, whelks, cockles, and breathtaking, perfectly preserved sand dollars. Locals say Bowman’s Beach
is the best for shelling. (We’ve also been lucky in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Galveston, Texas.)
Why here: Sanibel’s unique east-west orientation in the Gulf of Mexico means currents constantly deposit shells along its crescent-shaped shoreline.
Don’t miss: The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum houses an extensive collection of shells from Florida and around the world; 888/679-6450 or shellmuseum.org.