A Comparison of Ten Thousand Islands Shelling Tours

by Cedric Pentonville  |  Published March 8, 2022

Accessible only by boat, the Ten Thousand Islands chain off the coast of southwest Florida make for a magical shelling adventure.

(Photo: Haydn Blackey via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

The deserted stretches of sand in the Ten Thousand Islands provide rich pickings for shelling enthusiasts, who come to these idyllic islands and mangrove islets in their droves in search of seashells. If you’re coming to this part of Florida and would like to join a shelling expedition during your visit, there are a wide number of organised tours available. We’ve compared three of them below.

4-Hour Shelling Tour

Florida Master Naturalist, local guide and Master Captain, Jason Fullerton, has a lifetime of experience in the coastal areas of Southwest Florida, with his passion and knowledge for nature and wildlife ensuring a fun and fulfilling day on the water. Among their most popular excursions is their small-group shared shelling tour, during which you and your group get to explore some of the most abundant areas for beachcombing anywhere on Florida’s coast. These 4-hour trips always take place on the lowest tides and hit the most productive spots, ensuring you come away with a variety of seashells. From $110 per person.

Book via Fareharbor

2-Hour Dolphin, Birding, and Shelling Tour

Marvel at an amazing variety of birds and other wildlife, and go on the hunt for beautiful shells, during this magical 2-hour tour. Accompanied by a certified naturalist guide, you’ll tour the Everglades area including Marco Island, enjoying the comfort of the captain’s style seating on your vessel as you travel deep into the area’s 10,000 islands. During the tour, you’ll turn the engine off to optimise your marine life spotting opportunities, before venturing onto the beach as you prowl for some beautiful shells to take home as a memento. From $83 per person.


Ultimate Shelling Kayak Adventure Tour

This half-day kayak tour is suitable for all abilities and is customised to the tides to guarantee the best shelling experience and easiest paddling. Departing from S. Marco Island, you’ll pass through Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve into the Ten Thousand Islands. As your naturalist guide leads you at a comfortable pace to a pristine remote island, you’ll enjoy opportunities to see and learn about a host of marine life from the water’s surface. On the island, the vast exposed ocean floor and calm tide pools make it easy to find seashells and spot more living marine life. A souvenir shell bracelet is included in the tour price. From $79 per person.