Shelling at Marco Island, Florida

While visiting Florida on some family business at the end of December, my wife and I took an opportunity to spend an afternoon out on Marco Island in Florida.  It is known for being a place where sand dollars can often be found along its shores, and that was reason enough to go out there.  I had collected plenty of seashells before as a child living in Florida and on visits to other beaches, but never a sand dollar.  We also found the wildlife to be abundant as well.

Monday - December 26, 2016

With time to spare after landing from our flight to Fort Myers, Florida and picking up our rental vehicle, we drove out to nearby Marco Island and its beach to spend the afternoon shelling and trying our luck at finding some sand dollars.

It was incredible to think that not 24 hours before, I was shoveling 6 inches of fresh snow off my driveway followed by some time spent out in my backyard with my kids trying to build an igloo.  Now Jessica and I would get to enjoy sunny skies with temperatures in the low 80's and spend a bit of time building a sand castle.

We drove into a beach on Marco Island called Tigertail Beach.  This beach sits along a shallow lagoon with calmer waters and as such is very popular for families with young children.  It also has nice facilities with some recreational rentals.  However, to get to where all the shells and sand dollars are, we had to forward across the lagoon which spans over a hundred yards out to another strip of land known as "Sand Dollar Island".  

Tigertail Beach, looking southward

Tigertail Beach

Tigertail Beach, looking northward

The lagoon we'd have to cross

Once across the Lagoon, we made our way out onto another beach along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.  Once there, we got right to work walking up the shoreline keeping out eyes out for sand dollars and any other interesting shells.  We ended up securing a nice load, including a few nice sand dollars.

Our first sand dollar find


Drying our seashells after giving them a good rinse

Satisfied with our findings, we got to work building and decorating a little bit of a sand castle.

Our sandcastle

Our sandcastle

Sandcastle closeup

Myself and Jessica

As nice as it would have been to stick around and relax a little longer, we had to get going back.  We had walked down the beach a considerable distance and so rather than keeping our eyes on the ground looking for more treasures in the sand, we kept our heads up and observed a variety of wildlife, chiefly a lot of waterfowl.





Ibis digging in the sand


Pelican in flight


Gulf of Mexico from Marco Island

Driftwood on Marco Island

Sailboat out at sea

Working our way back toward the lagoon

At last, we were back at the lagoon where we had to cross it once more to return to our car across the other side of Tiger Tail Beach.

Tigertail Beach from across the lagoon

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