Shelling is a favorite pastime and an extremely popular activity for both locals and visitors in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
Our beaches are located along the Gulf of Mexico, a body of saltwater brimming with an immense array of mollusks. Because of this, you’re likely to find and collect hundreds of shells while exploring our shoreline.
Are you new to shelling? Fear not, because in this blog we have shared what shells are, where to find them, the best time to go shelling and how to practice responsible shelling on Alabama’s beaches. Scroll down to learn more!
What Types of Shells Can Be Found While Shelling?
The shells you find on our beaches were once home to various mollusks, including clams, scallops, mussels, and oysters. These animals have no backbone and, therefore, need a shell to keep them supported and protected.
Below are some common shells found on Alabama’s beaches:
- Angel Wing
- Ark Clams
- Ballast Stones
- Common Egg Cockle
- Florida Fighting Conch
- Coquina Clams
- Lettered Olive
- Mermaid’s Purse
- Moon Snails
- Oyster Drill Snails
- Sand Dollars
- Snail Slipper
- Surf Clams
For a full list, stop by our welcome centers and pick up a shelling brochure.
Practice Responsible Shelling
Please don’t forget that shells were once homes and safe havens for living animals. When shelling along our beaches, only take those that have washed up onshore and are no longer inhabited. Please also avoid taking shells out of the surf to help us maintain the ecosystem and protect our precious marine life.
For more information, stop by our welcome centers to pick up our shelling brochure which includes a list of 20+ area shells, a detailed map with the top shelling spots on our beaches, and more. At the welcome centers, you can also pick up a shelling bag (while supplies last) so you have a safe place to collect and store your shells during your stay.