Seeking Seashells On St. George Island

From the St. George Plantation to the East End beaches, you can’t beat St. George Island when beachcombing adventures are in your travel plan. While much of the Florida Panhandle may leave you craving more of a beachy haul, our Gulf Coast island is a treasure trove of coastal rewards!

Common Seashell Finds On St. George Island

The northern shores of Florida’s Gulf Coast are primarily awash in the hardened outer remains of shellfish. Oyster, clam, and scallop shells in a variety of colors can be found along the coastline. Arks, cockles, boat shells, and carditas are also generally easy to find. Discoveries along the shore can vary by the day. While some days see burgeoning shell deposits, other days find sponges, starfish, and sand dollars washing ashore in great numbers. The beach is never the same from day to day!

Rarer Treasures To Strive For

When Florida storms come calling, they tend to leave treasure in their wake, including more uncommon finds on the shoreline, like fighting conch, lightning whelk, fig shells, olives, pen shells, baby’s ears, murex, tulip, angel-wing shells, and brilliantly colored coquinas. Shark’s teeth can occasionally be found on the island, but they are more prominently found on Amelia Island near Jacksonville or south of Tampa Bay in Sarasota or Venice Island.

Beachcombing Tips – Where And When

St. George Island State Park is the epicenter of successful treasure hunting on the island. The best time for shelling is early in the morning, 2-3 hours before low tide, just after low tide, or as the waters are beginning to recede, revealing the finds just beneath the surface of the waves. A few other general tips and tricks for a successful mission:

  • Bring a shovel and metal detector.
  • Keep a camera on hand for the finds you can’t take with you.
  • Purchase a shell identification book to readily recognize your discoveries.
  • Bring your own backpack, or a mesh bag for keeping your shells secure as you hunt.
  • If it appears to be alive, leave it be!
  • A full moon or new moon have the most extreme tides so this is a great time to shell.
  • Watch wind direction! If the wind is blowing from the water to the shore, the waves are more likely to wash shells to the shore.

Other Treasures Along The Shore

Don’t discount the appeal of all of the ocean’s bounty. Beyond the seashells, visitors to St. George Island can also appreciate a wealth of natural coastal beauty in the form of reviving sand dunes, sea oats, and other oceanic vegetation, including batches of seaweed and wildlife like crabs and dolphins. Whether you’re admiring our marine inhabitants, or collecting coastal remnants for your next Pinterest project, there’s plenty to admire along the shorelines of Florida’s Forgotten Coast!