Finding a shell intact in Myrtle Beach or any seashore is always exciting, particularly if the shell is more intricate in its design than a standard clam or oyster shell. Shells typically found in Myrtle Beach include South Carolina's state shell, the lettered olive, as well as knob whelks, shark-eye moon snails, channel whelks, giant heart cockles and tulips. Shark's teeth, sand dollars and sea urchins are also found in Myrtle Beach.
State parks in Myrtle Beach are recommended for shell hunting, including Myrtle Beach State Park. Hunt for shells at the park, which features campgrounds, dolphin and sea turtle watching, and a fishing pier in addition to its open beach, during the week to avoid crowds. Hunting State Park in Murrells Inlet is another recommended Myrtle Beach shell spot, and features a freshwater lake for watching alligators, as well as an educational center and camping facilities.
Wildlife refuges are another shell hunting option in Myrtle Beach, including Bull Island in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in Awendaw. Also referred to as "Bull's Island," this undeveloped barrier island within the refuge was established in 1932 and features picnic tables, drinking water and hiking trails for observing wildlife. In addition to shells, sand dollars are abundant on Bull Island. A ferry takes you to the island, though you must call the refuge to find out daily schedules and pricing.
At shell clubs, enthusiasts meet to trade tips and organize shows and collection displays. Grand Strand Shell Club is the premier shell club in Myrtle Beach, and is dedicated to preserving shell species and providing educational information. The club organizes an annual shell auction fundraising event, exhibitions at local malls and field trips for beach combing. Annual membership fees are low.
Myrtle Beach Shell Hunting Tips
One of the Grand Strand Shell Club founders, William Tilley, offers numerous recommendations for seashell hunting in Myrtle Beach via Sunny Day Guide's shell hunting information for Grand Strand. According to Tilley, the less populated the beach, the more likely you will find ocean treasures. This makes barrier islands like Bull Island excellent for shell hunting. Times for optimal shell hunting include early morning, before tourists and locals descend on the beaches, and after a storm, when rough waves bring shells to coastlines. Good places to look for shells include the coastline, tidal pools and the high-water line.
- South Carolina State Parks: Myrtle Beach State Park
- South Caroline State Parks: Huntington Beach State Park
- South Carolina Great Outdoors: Bull Island
- Myrtle Beach South Carolina Directory: Seashell Hunting in Myrtle Beach
- Google Books: Insider's Guide to Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand; Kimberly Allyson Duncan, Lisa Tomer Rentz
- "Sunny Day Guide"; Shelling in Grand Strand; Paula Beckham
- Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images