A stroll along our pristine coastline is the perfect way to find some beachy souvenirs that won’t cost you a dime! The sand is filled with beautiful treasures that were created in the mysterious waters and arrived on our shores.
On your next beach outing, look for these commonly-found Gulf Coast seashells:
1. Olives – These shiny, oblong shells are easy to spot in the white sand. Although home to a predatory sea snail, you will most likely find an empty shell on the beach. Fun fact: the Olive is the official state shell of South Carolina!
2. Augers – The closer you look, the more Augers you will spot! These shells range from just a few centimeters to a few inches long and vary in color. There are many types of augers, but the one most commonly found on our beaches is the Eastern Auger (Terebra Dislocata).
3. Coquinas – These colorful little shells look like confetti in the sand! Their purple, blue, yellow and white hues seem to glow during low-tide sunset. Most of these shells have living organisms in them, so watch carefully as they burrow in the sand. Although they are fun to watch, they may not make the best souvenirs… unless you want a stinky shell bucket.
4. Calico Scallop – Scallops of all sizes and colors are scattered throughout the sand along Perdido Key, but the Calico is one of the most eye-catching. Most of these shells have a white base color with different shades of orange, pink and tan patterns on their perfectly-aligned ridges.
5. Pennsylvania Lucine – These hardy shells look like pieces of the moon that decided to make a home on the coast. They are shiny and have a defining groove near the edge of the shell that provides some texture to an otherwise smooth surface.
Every so often, the waves will leave some special, uncommon treasures on the sand. Consider yourself lucky if you can find some of these keepers!
1. Alphabet Cone – The water usually has to be churning for one of these beauties to end up on our shoreline. This speckled shell is home to a type of stinging snail, so handle carefully if you find a live one!
2. Sand Dollar – Finding Sand Dollar fragments is guaranteed when walking along the beach, but finding a whole one takes a little more skill. You may have better luck looking in the shallow waters for a baby sand dollar, which is about the size of a small coin. They are very fragile, so be gentle if you find one!
3. Lightning Whelk – Lightning Whelks are unique because of their coloring and left-handed whorl. These dainty spirals are also commonly found in fragments, so look carefully for those orange stripes!
Remember that when it comes to shelling, timing is everything! Get a fresh start during low tide in the early morning, and stay where the sand is wet. Post-storm shelling is also a great opportunity to find out what treasures the wind brought to shore… you will have to sea for yourself!
There's so much to do on and around our 16-miles-long island paradise, there's no way you can experience it all in just one stay. To help you make the most of your Eden vacation, we've picked a few of our favorite experiences that we hope will become precious memories for you too. If you have a question, or don't see what you're looking for, please let us know. We want to make sure that each memory of your Eden vacation is truly magical.