The month of March is here and if you're a Floridian, that means perfect beach weather is pretty much here. If you're not from around here, now's the time you probably have already started thinking about your next trip to the beach. One of our favorite pastimes is collecting shells on the powdery shores of our beaches. It's truly a wonder of nature just how many different shapes, colors and variations of even the same type of shell can exist. Grab your beach bag, your sunscreen and a keen eye - it's time to expand your shell collection.
1) Caladesi Island State Park:
Located near Dunedin, this little snippet of Gulf Coast paradise is surrounded by crystal blue waters, loads of marine life and is draped in powder-fine white sands. This beach is only accessible by boat or personal watercraft, so the peaceful serenity of shell-hunting is all yours.
2) Honeymoon Island State Park
Also located in Dunedin, this state park island is actually right next to Caladesi Island and features a pet-friendly beach. It is accessible via car across the Dunedin Causeway, with plentiful parking. You can also explore the Osprey Trail, which provides visitors without 2.5 miles of grounds to explore.
3) Fort Desoto State Park
Fort DeSoto is made up of 3 miles of white sandy beaches, with the North Beach being the most popular for shelling, swimming and relaxing. This beach is located near St. Petersburg and also boasts ample campgrounds for overnight getaways at the shore.
4) Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key
Near Bradenton, Florida, Anna Maria Island is a splendid taste of Old Florida island life, only about an hour's drive from the Tampa area. The best way to search for shells is by knowing the tides. Find out more about shelling in Anna Maria Island and the ferry to Egmont Key.
5) Marco Island
Marco Island is about 3 hours from Tampa Bay (near Naples), but we had to add this destination to the list. If you love shells, get ready. And you better bring TWO beach bags to put them in. The amount of shells and variety available on the shores along Marco Island are astounding, and the sands are even finer than our Tampa Bay Gulf Coast Beaches. If you can't make it this far south on your trip this time, we highly recommend penciling it in your next vacation.
Sources: Florida State Parks, Florida Rambler, IslandAnnaMaria.com