Stellar Shelling is in season in Gulf County 365 days a year.
Finding the perfect shell on the beach is a little like buried treasure. That indescribable feeling when you find the perfect one — no nicks or blemishes, no barnacles attached — a faultless gem that will help you enjoy your memories long after you head back home.
Gulf Coast beaches are considered some of the finest shelling beaches in North America and Gulf County has long been popular with those who enjoy nature at its best. The beaches from Indian Pass to St. Joseph State Park are especially great for finding these exotic ocean treasures. However, finding the perfect specimen can still be challenging.
The best time to find shells are the hours just before and after the low tides. Don’t let a storm stop you; some of the best shells are found right after a storm. Winter is a great time to shell.
Remember not to take live shells (shells with a living organism still inside). That includes living sand dollars you find in the water.
Scallop season only lasts a couple of months, but during that time St. Joseph Bay draws visitors from all over the country seeking to fill their buckets with the succulent morsels. Catching them is easy, cleaning them a little harder and feasting on them simply delicious. The 2018 season for St. Joseph Bay is August 17th through September 30th. a fun activity the entire family can enjoy. It’s easy for beginners and doesn’t require much more than a saltwater fishing license and a mandatory dive flag. A mask and snorkel, gliding over the grass beds in 2-3 foot deep water is the preferred method. However, many choose to wade out from the shore, look for the myriad of glowing blue eyes along the edge of their shells, and scoop them up.
While scalloping, it may be helpful to carry along a few additional items to make the job easier, such as a mesh bag for collecting scallops, an ice chest for storing freshly caught scallops, a scallop knife and neoprene water shoes. Licenses and supplies are available at local outfitters.