It’s hard to go 500 yards in Florida without running into a crowd.
A trip to an amusement park provides ample time for standing in lines. The beaches are teeming with locals and tourists. Even the roadways are packed at all hours of the day and night.
If there’s anything worth doing in Florida, chances are that hundreds of other people are doing it at the exact same time that you want to do it.
I think that’s what makes Shell Island such a spectacular experience.
Shell Island is a tiny stretch of land located in the intracoastal waters of Clearwater, Florida. It’s a barrier island – which means it’s a long, narrow island that runs parallel to the mainland. It also means that it’s perfectly positioned to gather an extraordinary amount of sea shells.
To get to Shell Island, you need to catch one of the many boat excursions available from the pier and marina at Clearwater Beach. I highly recommend taking the Cleawater Marine Aquarium’s Sea Life Safari Eco-Tour boat. (It’s the very last boat on the pier, so keep going until you see the sign for Sea Life Safari!)
There isn’t anything to do, per say, on shell island. It’s simply a tiny island covered in sea shells in the middle of deep blue waters. Here is where you’ll have the best chance to find sand dollars and conc shells outside of a gift shop. You might also see crabs and small fish in the clear, shallow waters that surround Shell Island. When my family was there we got to witness – and explain to our children – two horeshoe crabs mating just off the shore.
On a Wednesday afternoon in April, our family shared this island with just two other people. The kids ran free and had their pick of the best shells. The scenery and relative silence was breathtaking.
Tickets for the 2 hour Sea Life Safari, which includes a stop at Shell Island, are $21.35 for adults and $13.75 for children. Coupons for the boat are available at many of the information booths along the pier.