Set just offshore of Florida’s Gulf coast, this sweet island is known (and much-loved) for the wide variety of seashells that wash up on its shores—and now it’s a must-visit spot of this summer!

By Lauren Phillips
June 23, 2017
Photo: Danita Delimont/Getty Images

Every week from Memorial Day through Labor Day, our readers are voting for the best spots of the summer—and this week’s winner for the Best Shelling Beach is Sanibel Island, Florida!

This Gulf island is located just offshore of Fort Myers on Florida’s southwest coast. Seashells (more than 250 varieties of seashells, in fact) cover the beaches here, and Sanibel is also home to The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and an annual shell fair and show. With so much shelling-specific attractions, it’s no surprise that shell lovers of all levels flock to Sanibel Island (and its sister island, Captiva), but Sanibel also offers a wealth of attractions beyond its famed shelling.

Reached over land only by crossing a three-mile causeway, Sanibel Island boasts a delightfully unhurried atmosphere, with zero traffic lights and only a handful of national chain restaurants. The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge welcomes bird-watchers, hikers, kayakers, and more to its cool, shaded pathways, and manatee visit the waters surrounding these islands in the winter. Ready for vacation yet?

Congratulations to last week’s winner for Best Beach Hotel, Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa in Riviera Maya, Mexico! Click here to see all the winners so far, and don’t forget to vote in this week’s competition: What's the Best Town for Celebrating July Fourth? Keep an eye on our Best of Summer 2017 voting schedule to make sure you don’t miss a single competition!

Congratulations, Sanibel Island!

Photo: Danita Delimont/Getty Images