While visiting our lovely Island and some of the surrounding area beaches, shelling is one of the favorite pass times of tourists and locals alike. The most important thing to know about shelling is to know the tides. http://cannons.com/anna-maria-tides/
The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum has a wonderful on-line shell guide. There are pictures and descriptions of the various shells you can find in South West Florida. We have provided the link for your convenience.
Some of the types of shells you can expect to find are
and even Sand Dollars !
Usually the best times to go shelling are at low tide and after a storm. Typically tidal pools and flats, sandbars, around the piers and in seaweed are great places to find a variety of beautiful “memories” to take home with you.
Below are great locations to begin your search:
1- Bayfront Park on North Shore Dr (Northeast side of AMI): You may park there (It’s free!) and walk counter-clockwise (East to West) around Bean Point from Tampa Bay toward The Gulf of Mexico.
2- Gulf Front Park on Gulf Blvd and Palm Ave (North West side of AMI): Parking here is also free. At low tide there is a sandbar that extends about 100 yards out into The Gulf of Mexico.
3- Manatee Public Beach at the West end of Manatee Ave (SR 64): Parking here is free and there is a gift shop and cafe’ in case you would like to purchase some souvenirs and/or would like a refreshing, cold beverage or a bite of local fare. There are also public restrooms and showers, for your convenience.
4- Coquina Public Beach on South Gulf Dr: This area is best known for finding shark’s teeth! A popular local phrase for finding them is “shark’s teeth will tumble while shells roll”. Again, parking is free and there is a concession stand that also offers food, drinks and public restrooms and showers for your convenience.
5- Egmont Key: This historic little Island is located in Tampa Bay between the great city of Tampa and Anna Maria Island. The original Lighthouse was completed in May of 1847 but badly damaged in September of the same year. It was reconstructed in 1848. The Egmont Key Ferry leaves Fort Desoto Park in Tampa and will transport you to The Island. The schedule varies during the year but we have provided it below as a guide.
Once you have collected your shells, we recommend you rinse them and clean them in a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water for a bit and allow them to dry out of the sun. Sort and organize them by size, shape and color to make them easier to identify. It is best to cushion the more fragile ones between foam or layers of newspaper.
We hope you enjoy your shelling experience and our little piece of Paradise, here on Anna Maria Island and the surrounding areas! We know once you have spent some time here you will fall in love just as we have and bring your family back for many years to come!
Ferry from Fort De Soto to Egmont Key $20
Daily Egmont Key Ferry from Fort DeSoto County Park
US Coast Guard Certified Tour Boats
▪ 46 foot ferry
▪ Refreshments/snacks available
▪ Covered, comfortable seating
▪ Open deck area, easy ramp access to beach
▪ Clean restroom, modern snorkeling equipment
▪ All tours fully narrated, informative and fun
Private Charters Available for any Occasion ▪ 727.867.6569
“Interested in knowing more about Egmont Key
– read http://www.egmontkey.info
Information and reservations (727) 398-6577
Fort DeSoto Ferry to Shell Key Preserve