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Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Seashells | Williamson Realty Vacations

Hunting for sea treasures has to be one of the best activities along the North Carolina coast. As the tourist season comes to an end, the seashells begin to wash ashore. When walking along Ocean Isle Beach during the fall, be sure to take along a basket or bucket to collect your shells. Learn how to score the best seashells, and even get a little education on native species. Let’s get to it, and go shelling.

Discover when and where to find the best shells

So you are ready to go on a shell hunting
adventure? It would be nice if there were a crystal beach ball so you could
magically see the shells washing ashore. Ocean Isle Beach has miles of pristine
beaches to walk and scour for shells.

The best time of year

Shells can be found year-round on Ocean Isle Beach, but the best time for beachcombing is often during late summer and fall. This tends to be the time when the Atlantic is most active with storms. Storms churn up shells and are beachcombers bread and butter. But you don’t have to wait for storms to roll through. Look at the tide chart, and plan to hit the beach one hour before and after low tide for shelling prime time! The tide chart will also tell you the moon phase. The most extreme tides are during a full moon and a new moon, giving maximum beach exposure.

The early bird catches the worm

If you are shelling during the middle of summer, there are a few things you’ll want to remember. First, get out to the beach as early as possible. This will give you first pick from what has washed up overnight. And don’t be afraid to get your toes wet! Sometimes there are great treasures hiding in several inches of water.

If you come across a place on the beach that is covered in a layer of broken shell fragments, you may want to stop. Take time to squat down, or sit…and dig a little. These shell beds are the perfects places to find small shells…like Olives and Augers…and even sharks teeth.

Stay near the waters edge

You can improve your shelling experience by renting a vacation property on the beach! With the shoreline right outside your back door, getting to beach is easy on Ocean Isle Beach. Williamson Realty Vacations, serving Ocean Isle Beach and beyond, has many beautiful oceanfront properties to choose from.

seashells on the beach | Williamson Realty

Everything you need to bring with you

Polarized sunglasses

A pair of polarized sunglasses is a great piece of equipment for beachcombers. The lens of these glasses will allow you to see into the water more clearly. This is perfect for finding seashells that are in the water’s edge. Polarized sunglasses range in price from five bucks to very expensive.

Bucket or bag

You’re going to need some kind of basket, bucket, or bag to collect your treasures. A mesh bag, store-bought or a recycled onion bag is great for collecting shells. The mesh will allow sand to fall through without losing your shells. A quick dip in the water will also allow you to rinse off any mud or sand. A basic plastic sand pail is also good for gathering shells. A lot of people use plastic shopping bags, but please be very careful not to lose these as they are very harmful to sea life.

Zip-Top bag

A small sandwich sized zip-top bag is just the thing you need to hold your tiny treasures, such as sharks teeth and mini shells.


There is a tool you can purchase, that has a sifter on the end of a long handle. Very cool! You don’t even have to bend over to pick up your prizes. But any sifter will do. You can use a colander from the kitchen, or a toy sifter (the kind included in a children’s sandcastle kit).

Other supplies

There are a few other things that will help to make you seashell hunt a great experience. Be sure to wear sunscreen and reapply… even when it isn’t hot. UV rays are always making their way to the beach! You may also want to bring along some water and a snack. Don’t forget to pack your camera, so you can get lots of fantastic pictures!

All that is left is to hit the beach and begin your hunt for those treasures we all love to collect. While hunting for shells you are likely to find Whelks, Scotch Bonnets, Augers, and Olive Shells. Let us know about your favorite finds on your favorite social media platform.

Now is the perfect time to head to Ocean Isle Beach. Fall, as we mentioned above, is a beachcombers and seashell lovers time of the year. The crowds have thinned, the temperatures are perfect, and we have all the best rates on your favorite fall vacation home. Go ahead and splurge on the oceanfront vacation rental. Give us a call today, and one of our friendly reservationists will be here to help you sort out your next Ocean Isle Beach fall vacation.

Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Seashells | Williamson Realty Vacations

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