This means that a swimmer can wade out into the ocean for a good 10-20 yards before losing their footing, and these types of beaches are generally common in both the northern Currituck areas and the southern Outer Banks beaches, south of Cape Point. Averaging 2" long, it's not a very big find, but it certainly stands out in a shell pile. The calico and bay scallops are the most popular scallop shells on the Outer Banks, and can be a gorgeous finds, ranging in hues of white, gray, pink, and even yellow, and often containing speckled patterns or lines spanning their shells. Above all else, pay close attention to the tides. The most common mollusk shells found on the beaches of North Carolina … When most folks think of conchs, this is the shell they have in mind, and the helmet conch can be a large, heavy find, clocking in at 12" long or more. Don't forget that there are other treasures in addition to the standard collection of incredible shells that regularly wash up along the beaches. A conical shell with a fat middle section and a stark white color with small, brown specks covering the body, the Scotch Bonnet is a simply beautiful shell to behold. Whelks come in three varieties all with specific characteristics.The … The spectacular beaches of the Turks and Caicos hide a wide array of beautiful and intricate seashells. The waters bordering the three inlets on the Outer Banks, specifically Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet and Ocracoke Inlet, have the distinction of being close to both the open sound and ocean waters, and the deep currents rushing through generally produces a variety of finds along the perimeter of the inlets' borders. © 2020 Outer Beaches Web Design by InterCoastal Net Designs All Rights Reserved. Apr 15, 2020 - Explore Bunnie Solo's board "North and South Carolina Seashells" on Pinterest. Shells that are native to warmer waters, those from North Carolina to Florida, can … Shells have a better chance to wash up undamaged. This 4WD accessible beach located just south of Nags Head lives up to its name with miles of wide open shoreline and thousands of tiny coquina clams sprinkled along the sand from the oceanfront to the high tide line. Located in between Avon and Buxton villages abutting the Pamlico Sound, Kite Point literally went from deserted strip of sandy soundfront to world-class kiteboarding Mecca within the span of a decade. On the Outer Banks, the best shelling beaches can change on a whim, with offshore sandbars forming and dissipating regularly, and ocean currents switching at a moment's notice. Though only seasonally open, this beach intersects with the Labrador and Gulf Stream currents, and is located at the southern edge of Hatteras Island's "hook" towards the mainland, and as a result, produces some of the very best finds on all of the OBX. Shells that are native to colder waters generally wash ashore along the north facing beaches, those above Cape Point. Whelks are most often mistaken for conchs which are very similar to the species. The official state shell of North Carolina. As for Ocracoke Island, there's a reason why it has consistently appeared on best beaches lists across the country. On popular beaches, early birds also have an advantage, as they can scout the beaches for shells left behind during the most recent nighttime high and low tides, which have been undiscovered by competing beachcombers. While some shells have limited size variations, (like the Scotch Bonnet), others, like whelks, can vary by inches if not feet. The great thing about shelling on the Outer Banks is that virtually any stretch of beach under the right conditions can turn into a honey hole for shell hunters. For a spectacular show, head to this beach in the summer months, from late May until early September, and keep your eyes on the shoreline. (Photo: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images) The best shelling beaches in North Carolina are barrier island … Shelling is arguably one of the most popular activities on the Outer Banks, simply because it's an activity everyone can do, is completely free, and can be enjoyed on any stretch of shoreline on the ocean or soundside. Many beachcombers also swear by those south facing beaches, where the more tropical and attractive species from Florida and the Caribbean can occasionally wash ashore. Shells of North Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia: A Beachcomber’s Guide to the Atlantic Coast (Common and Notable Species) Jeanne L. Murphy and… 4.7 out of 5 stars 27 The helmet conch is a fat conical shell that is distinctive because of its large opening, with bring pink or red lips which are usually lined with small hard "teeth." Now that you have a few tips, it's time to shell! This is a rookie mistake, as sometimes the best finds, especially for small delicate shells, can be found buried in the clusters of grass. The recently formed Irene's Inlet, located along the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge almost exactly in between the Bonner Bridge and the town of Rodanthe, has become a popular spot for beachcombers in recent years due to its proximity to central Outer Banks vacationers, and its daily delivery of fantastic shells on both the oceanside and soundside beaches. As for size, it all depends on both the age and genre of the original shell resident. With that being said, there are a few beaches on the Outer Banks that have always been popular with locals as exceptional shell hunting grounds, and newcomers that want to maximize their chances of finding a seaside treasure should consider hitting the following beaches first. When the bivalves die, the two shells usually break apart from each other. The coquina is a gorgeous find, and like a snowflake, every single one is different. The coastal waters of South Carolina are teeming with seashells. They are also generally "fatter," with a pale gray exterior and a bright blue spot near the mouth's opening. That being said, there are a few varieties in particular that beachcombers should be on the lookout for. Walk-ins are always welcome! As part of the Historic Corolla Park, the Whalehead in Historic Corolla serves as a northern Outer Banks icon, and a living testament to Corolla and Duck's heyday as a secluded oceanfront retreat for the country's wealthy hunters and conservationists. The shell's inhabitant (Phalium granulatum) is a member of the helmet family, marine snails whose shells are characterized by short spires, large body whorls, and thickened outer lips.The scotch bonnet is found from North Carolina … The best time to go is during the shoulder and off-seasons, when tourism is at its lowest, and the beaches are generally untouched and ripe for the picking. In fact, a harsh boiling may even cause your Outer Banks shell to lose a bit of its color in the process. Again, on popular beaches that have been picked over, sometimes the best finds are just off the shoreline, in the 1'-2' feet of water waiting by the ocean wash. For the Best Outer Banks hair wraps, cornrows, jagua tattoos, full color temporary tattoos, fancy hair wraps, reggae hemp wraps, beach braids or gypsy braids … There is only one place to go — Beach Braids - Hair Wraps & Henna! About 20 species of Auger live in North American waters. The best time to find shells on … Obviously, there's no right way to judge a shell's worthiness, and avid Outer Banks collectors may have one species they prize, and another they simply pass by. Another good time to shell hunt is right after a storm. With miles of shoreline to explore, hidden beaches that are relatively untouched, and literally piles of shells washing up on the beaches after a storm, shelling on the OBX beaches is simply a matter of timing and area expertise. Common Seashells of North Carolina Angelwings are chalky white in color measuring 4-8 inches in length and can be found in waters as deep as 60 feet. With a little luck, you may very well come home with a treasure that will have a place of honor in your home for years to come. These shells are very common along the shores of Topsail Island and, in fact, along the entire East Coast of North Carolina. Shell hunters may also want to head to the inlets. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, and feel free to sift through with vigor. As mentioned, with the variety of water currents that hit our shores there are so many different types of sea shells that wash up. You want to scout out beaches with shallow shorelines, those south of the Point. With this in mind, the best way to bring a newly found treasure home is to let it dry, shake out the sand, and simply pack it away in the suitcase. Other popular shells on the Outer Banks beach scene that are conical in nature include the auger, the oyster driller, the periwinkle, the moon snail and the sundial. Found literally everywhere, from Portsmouth Island to Carova, whelks actually come in three different varieties: the lightning whelk which is generally the largest at 14" long or more, the knobbed whelk which is literally a mirror of the lightning whelk as it has a "right-sided" opening instead of a left oriented one, and the channeled whelk, which has deep channeled spirals instead of the spiny spirals that the knobbed and lightning whelks possess. Here’s our Ocean Isle Beach North Carolina shell guide for some of the most common shells you’ll find on North Carolina’s beaches! Older shells tend to turn white as they age, with ancient shells, (or shells that 1,000 years old or more), generally being a stark white all the way through. That's not to say that there isn't a little bit of luck involved in any good beachcombing expedition. If you're shelling on the soundside or by the local Outer Banks inlets, watch out for hermit crabs. Augers are tiny, with long conical shapes and spirals that encompass the entire length of their bodies. A "fresh" whelk, however, that has not suffered the same deterioration, will have sharper knobs, well-defined spirals, and much brighter and more distinctive coloring. Once you finish this short shell education, you will be an expert amongst your … All information on this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. The coquina comes in a spectrum of colors, from pale purples and pinks to bright yellows and oranges, and can even feature stripes or interesting color combinations. Seashells & Fossils The coastal waters of South Carolina are teeming with seashells. Moon snails are similar to the sundial, in that their circular shape contains a mouth opening, and spirals that wind all the way into the center of the shell. A coquina shell bed is always the most colorful sight on the beach, and though only 1" long at the most, coquinas are arguably the most striking of the Outer Banks seashells. Added to this unique geography is the proximity to the two major East Coast currents, the Gulf Stream Current and the Labrador Current, which can also assist in carrying large migrating fish, marine life, and even seashells to the islands' borders. One of the most common shells on the Outer Banks is the coquina clam, and in fact, there is an entire stretch of beach named after this tiny shell, located just north of Nags Head. After a few shelling trips, beachcombers may notice that not every shell, despite being the same species, looks remotely the same. Fun Fact: Whelks larger than fist size are (or were) mostly female. Here, beachcombers may find periwinkles, clams, scallops, and ancient whelks or olive shells that are the signature bright white, and have been buried for hundreds if not thousands of years. If you go, be sure and go early, especially after a storm when the beachcombers can come out in droves. On this beach, shell hunters will find Quahogs and scallops washed up in abundance, making it a crafter's paradise for beachcombers who use shells as ornaments, soap dishes, or catch-all containers. But the key to successful shelling is to never stop looking. Arguably one of the most productive ways to beachcomb a large area, drive-by shelling is most effective during the off-season, well after the National Park Service seasonal beach closures have come to an end. Shelling enthusiasts could spend a lifetime looking for whelks, moon shells, coquina shells, helmet conchs, olive shells, and periwinkles. Though generally common, many beachcombers love a good quahog as these shells easily double as a soap dish, ash tray, or simply a display container to hold other, smaller shells. In the shoulder and off-seasons, huge miles-wide portions of the Hatteras Island and Ocracoke Island shorelines are open to vehicles, and beachcombers in a hurry can simply skirt along the beach in their truck or Jeep and scope out patches of beach that are littered with clusters of shells. It will take you to a page with a bigger image of the … Look for whorled, narrow, and elongated shells with smooth or ribbed grooves on their exterior surface. In order to preserve the hermit crabs that flock to the Outer Banks, go ahead and let these already-occupied shells go, and keep your eyes peeled for the next great find that hasn't already been claimed by a rival critter. A little stopping and digging may be involved to uncover them, but all of these species are gorgeous additions to any shell collection. It is important to remember that spiders seen in North Carolina are not bound … Here’s our Wrightsville Beach North Carolina Shell Guide for some of the most common shells you’ll find on North Carolina’s beaches! Sand dollars regularly wash onto Ocracoke’s beaches and the … Once the waters have calmed down to their normal levels, piles of shells can wash up in droves along the shoreline. Generally, this stretch of beach has a shallow, gradually sloping ocean floor, which allows more delicate shells, like augers or olive shells, to wash up on the beach without any damage. The plate that seals the mouth of the shell … If nothing else, the faint salty aroma of your prized shell will simply serve as a reminder of a great Outer Banks vacation. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in the neighboring town of Beaufort has an entire room that is dedicated to seashells of the world, and which has shells from roughly 100 countries from all across … Occasionally, a lucky beachcomber may even stumble upon a pen shell. Types of Shells. The good news is that virtually every stretch of beach on Ocracoke Island could be home to dozens of Scotch Bonnets, whelks, olive shells, sand dollars, and even more exotic species like spiny murexes, pear whelks, or Florida fighting conchs. The grass protects small finds from the battering waves as they come ashore, after all, and the chances of finding a Scotch Bonnet, an auger, or even a small whelk increase greatly amidst the heavy seaweed piles. Seashells are external skeletons of animals called mollusks that once lived inside. 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