Anna Maria Island has become famous for its pristine beaches, calm azure waters and unlimited Florida sunshine, but it has so much more than that to offer. People come here from all over the globe to get SEASHELLS! Not just collectors or merchants, but real people like you and me can find absolute treasures. Some of my favorites to find, and possibly the easiest are lion’s paws, tiger paws, clam shells, turkey wings and coquinas. The ones I love to find, and I sure everyone feels the same, are sand dollars! You have to go pretty far out to get them intact, and you have to have some time to spend collecting them from the sea floor. Here is a list of Anna Maria Island’s best shell finding beaches.
1. Manatee Public Beach at the end of SR64 – I am a fifth generation Bradenton Florida native, and this is the beach I grew up on. My parents brought me to this beach for the first time when I was only 6 months old. I learned to swim here, sunbathe here and my favorite beach activity to collect seashells.
2. Anna Maria City Beach at the end of White Avenue – Not only is the beach at the end of this road unspoiled it is mostly secluded. I remember finding seashells here that hadn’t even been touched by other beach goers. This is definitely where I am always able to find unbroken shells.
3. Bayfront Park on North Bay Boulevard – I find that this is a good place to find larger shells because there are not a lot of waves the on the bayside of Anna Maria Island. If you catch this area at its lowest tide you will be able to find shells like none other anywhere on the island.
4. Bean Point on North Shore Drive – This is a place easily missed by most vacationers to Anna Maria Island, but locals like me love to explore the northern most beaches of Anna Maria Island. I found a beaut of a large pink and white conch shell that my daughter swears she hears mermaids singing inside.
5. Coquina Public Beach on South Gulf Drive – The south end of Anna Maria Island is a great place to not only find seashells, but sharks teeth as well! Some great advice I got from a fellow local was to keep my eye on the water line, and that “shark’s teeth will tumble while seashells roll”. I have found the most sharks teeth just remembering that phrase!