Beaches with the Best Seashells in the World

Feast your eyes on these stunning destinations that are brimming with whelks, cockles, Scotch bonnets, and conchs.

Sunset over Sanibel Island, Florida, USA FreeportSeascapes/Shutterstock

Sanibel Island, Florida

Named the best shelling spot in North America by Travel & Leisure magazine, Sanibel Island—located near Fort Meyers on the Gulf of Mexico—is a true haven for seashell-spotting enthusiasts. “It turns out this region’s east-west topography makes it an ideal final resting place for an amazing variety of shells,” says Gabe Saglie, senior editor, Travelzoo. “There are 400 varieties in all, rolling onshore by the thousands every day. Horse conches, jingle shells, giant cockles, calico scallops—take your pick. The Junonia shell is a locals’ favourite.” Sanibel is also home to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, the only museum in the United States dedicated to shells. A word of caution to all well-intentioned seashell gatherers: Collecting seashells from any beach may disrupt the local aquatic ecosystem (they provide homes for hermit crabs, a place for small fish to hide, and material for birds to build their nests), so it’s best to admire, take pictures, and then leave them in their natural habitat.

This location beat Hawaii as the best beach in the USA.

Shell in a Caribbean seaPhotostravellers/Shutterstock

Shell Beach, Saint Barthelemy

You don’t earn the name “shell beach” without having a truly impressive array of shells available—and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Shell Beach in Gustavia, St. Barths (as the French-speaking Caribbean island is commonly known). In fact, there are so many shells several inches deep, that you won’t be able to walk this beach with bare feet. “Shell beach is one part of the island where a ton of shells have accumulated on the shore,” says Sveva Marcangeli, owner and founder of travel blog Svadore.

Check out the 50 best beaches in the world!

Shell Beach in Western AustraliaBenzinger Volker/Shutterstock

Shell Beach, Australia

Thankfully, the name “Shell Beach” hasn’t been trademarked, because there’s another location worthy of the same designation—this time, it’s in the Shark Bay region of Western Australia. While this beach may appear to be covered in pure white sand from a distance, there actually isn’t a grain of sand to be found—it’s entirely blanketed in billions of tiny white shells from the cockle species, and runs up to 10 metres deep in some sections.

Don’t miss these gorgeous beaches with the clearest water.

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