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Shelling on Pensacola Beach

It’s hard not to love shelling. Whether you’re 3 or 93 something about scooping treasures out of the sand is universally appealing. Of course, it also helps that it’s free! This Pensacola Beach vacation take a little time for the simple things in life; let’s go through a list of what you can find and how you can find it.

Five Flags Pensacola Florida

Best Times to Shell

Sunset on Pensacola Beach FL


You’ve heard it before: The early bird gets the worm and the best shells. If you want the first pick of the spoils then you have to hit the sand before the crowds. Try combining your “watch the sunrise” day with your shelling day.

2 Hours Before Low Tide

If you’re determined not to wake up early on a single vacation day then arriving two hours before low tide is your best bet.


Shelling is a perfect activity for the winter months when there is less competition.

After Storms

A good storm will pull up larger shells onto the beach. This is a particularly great time to find sand dollars.

Shelling Spots

Shelling on Pensacola Beach Florida

Pensacola Beach

Smaller, lighter colored shells.

Swash Zone

This is the stretch of sand that stays wet. If you go through enough broken shells in the swash zone you will eventually earn a handful of tiny but perfectly formed seashells. They’re often very colorful.

Wrack Line

This is the crunchy smelly part of the beach with the piles of seaweed. Now Pensacola is well known for not having much of it – but when it hits it hits hard. Now you have a reason to be excited when you see it!

Those clumps of seaweed hold all sorts of good finds: Larger shells, sea beans, crab claws, and sea glass.


Some of the best specimens are right under the emerald waves waiting to be spotted. Retrieve them with nets in knee-deep water or snorkel out a few more feet and dive for them.


You’ll find larger and darker colored shells in the bay. On this side what you pick up will often have live critters in them – make sure to put them back after admiring them. If you’re lucky to find an abandoned home, you’ll need to polish that shell up to get it looking its best.

Tools To Help

Net, snorkel mask, mesh bag, a good stick for poking seaweed, patience.