Picking up shells on the beach can be a fun activity for all ages, a sort of real-life version of the fantasy of digging for buried treasure. Best of all, it’s free. Other than a few select protected sections of beach, you can pick up shells all around Sarasota, Florida, to take home as souvenirs, use as decorations for your sandcastles or turn into an educational experience by looking up information when you get home about the shells you find.
Three beaches are situated on the island of Lido Key, two miles from the shoreline of Sarasota and easily reached by bridge. Almost three miles of beach runs along the coast of the island, which is divided into North Lido Beach, Lido Key Public Beach and South Beach. Along the beach, you will find large sand dunes, a public swimming pool, restaurants and South Lido Key Beach Park, which has nature trails and picnic areas. Shells tend to be more plentiful on the northern half of the beach, which is less busy than the southern half, where the hotels are.
Just offshore on the south side of Sarasota, Siesta Key’s beaches include Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach. Although you can find shells on all three beaches, Turtle Beach on the south end of the island generally has the most, because of its geography and because it is less crowded than the other two beaches. You can take a break from shell collecting at one of the island’s restaurants, including Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster, Turtles Restaurant On Little Sarasota Bay and the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar, all of which are just steps from the beach.
Nokomis Beach, on the island of Casey Key, is seldom crowded because the area is mostly residential and the beach is undeveloped. A few hotels sit on the southern end of the beach, so the best shelling is generally on the less-traveled northern section of the beach.
Known as a location to find fossilized shark teeth, the beaches in Venice include Venice Beach and the less busy four-mile-long Caspersen Beach, which has no homes, hotels or restaurants to detract from its natural beauty. Caspersen Beach Bridge does have a park with nature trails and a fishing pier, though. Another Venice beach, Service Club Park, also has shark teeth and fossils in the sand, as well as a picnic area and volleyball courts.
Download complimentary Sarasota shells guide here!