Sometimes the simple pleasures are best! There are many great activities at the beach but combing soft sand for marine treasures is a favored and inexpensive past time. Not only do you get to enjoy the lap of foamy surf and the gentle stir of gulf breezes, you have a small token to remember the perfect day. Shelling is a hugely popular past time and for good reason. You do not need any tools or gear, you do not have to be particularly athletic and anyone of any age can do it.
The Gulf of Mexico will share her bounty with you, you only have to look. Be sure to never take an inhabited shell, live starfish or sand dollar, not only is taking them from their home wrong, it is also illegal. However, taking the many uninhabited shells is encouraged and can make for the beginning of a great collection.
Whelk and Conch
Both the whelk and the conch can be found on the shore and though they look similar, they are not the same. For one thing, the whelk is carnivorous; it feeds on things like clams, oysters and other shellfish. It is usually tan or white though they can be found in other colors. Conchs are often green or gray.
These are another easy to find shell, when inhabited they are the home to bivalve mollusks. They are one of a very few group of mollusks considered to be 'free-living', meaning they can rapidly swim to a new location. The shells still wind up on sandy shores, much to the beach combers delight.
These smooth, elongated oval shaped shells are the home to a predatory sea snail. They often have beautiful patterns and whorls.