Looking for seashells is a fun way to pass the time on the beach. You can find a lot of interesting shells with various textures, shapes, and colors if you know when to go looking for shells.
The last time I went to the beach hoping to collect seashells, I was surprised by the lack of shells. Apparently, there is a right time and a wrong time to find seashells.
If you are planning a trip to the beach in the hopes of collecting shells, take a moment to review the following information. Discover the best time to look for seashells on the beach.
Top Factors That Impact the Selection of Shells
Choosing the best time to collect shells, depends on a wide variety of factors. You should consider the following to maximize your chances of finding a wide selection of seashells:
- The tides
- The weather
- The location
- The number of people on the beach
These factors all impact the number of shells on the beach. However, the biggest factor is the beach itself. You need to consider whether the area has a lot of shells.
In some areas, fewer shells may wash to the shore. In these regions, even if you choose the best time of the day to search for shells, you may have trouble finding shells.
Low Tide Is the Best Time to Look for Seashells
When I ask people for the best time to find seashells, they always say during low tide. When the tide is lower, the water level is at its lowest point. This results in more shells washing to shore.
The only problem with this answer is that most people don’t know when low tide occurs. What is the low tide? The tide rises when the sun and the moon are aligned and then begin to fall until the tide rises again. In most coastal areas, there are two high tides and two low tides per day.
So, does the low tide occur in the morning or at night? The time of the day has little impact on the tides. In one region, the low tide may come in the middle of the day, while it comes in the morning somewhere else.
The best way to determine the tides is to check a tide chart. Tide charts are available from weather sites and provide an accurate time of the day or night for high or low tides in a specific area. As there are two low tides per day, you should find a time that suits your schedule.
Additional Times to Go Shell Collecting
While the time of the day does not impact the tides, you may still find that the early morning and the late afternoon are the best times for gathering shells. However, this may vary depending on the region and the popularity of the beach.
Going in the morning or later afternoon may allow you to beat other beachgoers that are looking to collect shells. You may also increase your chances of finding a lot of shells if the morning or afternoon lines up with the low tide.
Another time to consider looking for shells is after a storm. Big storms often bring more shells to the shore. However, I recommend that you wait until the storm has passed.
Determine Where You Should Be Looking
Along with the best time to collect seashells, you may need to determine the best place to look for seashells. Some beaches are littered with shells while others are bare. You may need to walk around for a while before you find a good spot.
The geography of the beach may also limit your ability to find shells. If the area is rocky, the rocks may crack or crush some of the shells as they wash ashore.
The best way to find a good spot for shell searching is to roam around. Start at one end of the beach and work your way across the shoreline.
Another option is to go out into the water. I found that some of the best shells may not make it to shore. You also have the chance of catching shells before others get the chance to collect them.
To search for shells in the water, you may need to go snorkeling or scuba diving. However, this requires the proper equipment and knowledge of the basic snorkeling or scuba diving techniques.
Bring Equipment to Collect Your Shells
If you plan on finding one or two shells, you may not need any special equipment. For serious shell collectors, I do recommend bringing a few items.
You should bring a bucket or a bag to carry the shells that you find. You may also need a small shovel for digging around in the sand.
- dimensions: 7.75” H x 10” W (expanded), 2" H x 10" W (collapsed), 1.3 gallon capacity (5 liter) and weighs 12.6 oz
- versatility: can be used for watering bowls for pets, as the perfect food bowl or as a hauler tub for firewood, sticks, water, supplies and more
- durable: sturdy, plastic rim and base for added stability
- convenient: fold-down carrying handle makes it easy to move when filled, it features a groove for smooth pouring and is collapsible for easy storage and transport
- materials: thermoplastic (tpr) construction and is dishwasher safe
One of the most useful tools is a filter. Any filter or screen should work. You just need something that you can dump sand into and sift to find shells.
As a side note, do not forget to dress for the occasion. Wear a hat and sunscreen to protect your skin. You may also need to wear comfortable shoes if you plan to search through a rocky beach.
Conclusion – How to Find the Most Seashells
If you want a wide selection of seashells to search through, you need to consider several details. First, you should research the beach where you plan to search for shells. Find out what types of shells you may expect to find, along with the best spots for collecting shells.
You should also check the tide charts and weather. The typical recommendation that I always receive from other collectors is to go right before or after low tide or after a big storm.
You may also want to head to the beach when there are fewer people around. Going in the early morning or late afternoon may make it easier to comb the beaches.
In the end, as every region is different, the best way to find seashells is to get to know the beach in your area. Each time you go out, pay attention to the details discussed and keep track of what times of the day provided the best results.
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.