Gasparilla Island is one of the best places to shell in Florida. In the winter months storms wash up many treasures onto the beaches. Beach combers are likely to find many species including Sharks Eye Snails, Lightning Whelks, Florida Horse conchs, Fighting Conchs, Alphabet Cones, Florida Cones, Lettered Olives, True and Banded Tulips, various scallops and other bivalves, along with Sand Dollars, Star Fish and once on a while a Sea Horse. The lucky few will bring home the much prized Junonia, Scotch Bonnet or Lions Paw. After hurricanes many large (24″) Horse Conchs and Lightning Whelks can be found washed up on beach or out on the sand bars. The best time to go out is during the low tides, when more of the beach is exposed.
The bay offers a great chance to view live specimens. Take a walk on the sandbars or mudflats and you will find assorted sizes of Lightning Whelks and Horse Conches crawling around; but remember it is illegal to take live specimens.