Last updated: 08:51 PM ET, Thu July 28 2016

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Declare National Seashell Day

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | June 20, 2016

The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel Declare National Seashell Day

PHOTO: The destinations invite beach-goers to celebrate summer beachcombing (Photo courtesy of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel)

Shelling enthusiasts have traveled from around the world to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel for its legendary bounty of shells for years, and now the destination is officially recognizing the importance of the activity by declaring a new holiday, National Seashell Day.

“As a destination renowned for world-class shelling, we are thrilled to officially declare June 20 as National Seashell Day,” said Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau. “Our beautiful shells have long attracted writers, artists and innovators to our beaches for creative inspiration and a connection to nature. National Seashell Day is a celebration of the gifts from the sea that make The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel so special.”

Author Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who penned the novel “Gift From the Sea,” immortalized Fort Myers and Sanibel’s famous beaches in her book, writing “the beach was covered with beautiful shells and I couldn't let one go by unnoticed. I couldn't even walk head up looking out to sea, for fear of missing something precious at my feet.” 

Thousands of shells arrive on the beaches of the destination daily due to its ideal geography and gentle waves and shell collectors can choose to do what’s known as the  “Sanibel Stoop” and the “Captiva Crouch” to search for more than 400 varieties of shells in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Lucky seekers are those who find the rare Junonia shell.

READ MORE: Where Are the Finest White-Sand Beaches in the World? 

It might be time to plan a last-minute getaway to Fort Myers and Sanibel, as the destination is celebrating this first annual National Seashell Day with special travel deals, seashell attractions and activities. Many hotels, vacation rentals and vintage RV parks are offering fourth-night-free deals so that guests can take advantage of an extra day of shelling. Additionally, some resorts are offering special seashell themed add-ons in honor of the holiday such as cruises to barrier islands for shelling.

If you miss National Seashell Day, you can still get into the spirit of shell collecting with a visit to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island. The museum is one of the most comprehensive shell museums in the Western Hemishpere and is listed in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

There’s also the Shell Factory & Nature Park, a roadside attraction that is home to “world's largest collection of rare shells, corals, sponges and fossils from the seven seas,” encompassing 5 million shells and shell-related souvenirs.

READ MORE: Dr. Beach Announces 2016 Top 10 Beaches 

There’s a full list of properties participating in fourth-night-free deals as well as information on seashell attractions and special activities that will be happening to celebrate the holiday at There will also be special lectures, tours workshops and local shell artists giving presentations to celebrate the new holiday. And those following along on social media can use #NationalSeashellDay.

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