by David Graham Blogger for Real Florida Vacations
One of the most popular questions asked of me about vacationing in Florida is, “where can I find the best shells?”. My answer is not where can you find the best shells, but how can you find the best shells (and a lot of other goodies too!) Finding shells would seem as simple as walking up and down the beach, but if you are looking for the really nice shells, they are generally found in the water. Now you are saying to yourself, but I don’t have all that expensive diving equipment, and I don’t know how to dive! Not too worry, with a couple of inexpensive and simple tools from the local Wal-Mart, you will be finding those beautiful collectables seen in gift shops.
The two tools needed are a rake and a colander. First we will start with the simplest tool, the colander, A two dollar plastic colander with holes large enough to filter out grains of sand but small enough to catch-all of the treasures. The second tool is a little different from your garden variety rake. You can either purchase a “clam rake”, which is a garden rake with a basket for catching clams (shells) or the “Florida Shovel”. The Florida Shovel is a, small rectangular basket on the end of a metal pole. The sides and the bottom of the basket are made of wire mesh, allowing you to collect your prize but not all of the sand.
Now that you have assembled your assortment of tools, snacks, beach towels, and sunblock (even cloudy days and evenings can burn you) you are ready to start shelling. Wade out ankle to knee-deep and you will feel a change in the bottom. It will go from extremely course shells to extremely smooth sand. The point of change in the ocean floor is where you want to begin, slowly draw your rake from the ocean to towards the beach and check what you have discoveries you have made. Two words of Caution, the tines on the clam rake are sharp and children need to be supervised and occasionally what you rake up is alive and may bite or sting. Always use caution!
With over 800 hundred miles of beaches, Florida offers an endless supply of locations and variety. Not only can you collect shells and rocks, but also bits of coral, sponges and even fossilized shark teeth. So make your preparations and plan some beachcombing and shelling into your Real Florida Vacation!