Are you excited about your Outer Banks beach vacation? Are you ready for all the fun that comes with a coastal North Carolina getaway? Let us help you have an unforgettable experience right from your Outer Banks vacation rental. Year-round, beachcombing is fun for all ages.

One of the most popular OBX activities is also one of the simplest… collecting seashells. Hunting for these coastal treasures is something that your whole family can enjoy. From the iconic whelk shell to our state shell, the Scotch Bonnet, there are many treasures to be found!

As your exclusive Outer Banks vacation rental company, we want to give you all the information you need to start searching for the best seashells that the OBX has to offer. Here are tips and tricks for OBX beachcombing. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for our FREE seashell coloring sheet!

Beachcombing Tools

One of the best things about hunting for seashells is that it is a completely free activity! If you have a sharp eye and a little patience, then you have two of the most important resources for becoming an expert beachcomber.

You may also want to bring a bucket or bag for collecting shells and a small sand sifter. Now you are ready to hit the beach for a shell finding expedition.

When to Find the Best Seashells

No one likes the idea of a storm while they are on vacation. However, here at the beach, storms can wash up all kinds of great treasures. If you happen to be on the OBX after a storm, especially with strong easterly winds, then be sure to take a long walk along the shore to see what mother nature has delivered to the beach.

Fall and winter are also great times to look for shells. During the off-season, there are not as many people seeking out seashells so there is more for you to choose from. Another reason this is a good time of year to find shells is because there are more sea churning storms.

Even if there has not been a recent storm, one hour before and after low tide is the best time of day to find shells.

What to do with Your Treasures

There are so many wonderful things to do with your new found treasures. From children’s crafts to home décor, we are sure that you will find a creative way to use your coastal treasures.

Here are a few ideas that you may enjoy:

DIY seashell necklace


shell lights


seashell ornament

No matter what you decide to do with your shells, be sure to wash them thoroughly in a mild bleach & water solution, and allow them to dry in the sun for several days. This will kill any bacteria or other microscopic organisms, preventing your shells from smelling. Click here for a great article on cleaning and preserving shells.

A Few Other Beachcombing Tips

When out on your beachcombing adventure, be sure that you are prepared for the elements. Take a bottle of water, ensure that sunscreen is applied, and have a hat to protect your face from the sun.

What Shells You May Find

There are many different species of shells that you can expect to find as soon as you step out of any of our OBX vacation rentals and onto the beach. Some shells that you find may be native, while other may have come from far off, exotic destinations.

If beachcombing and sea-shelling is something that you really love to do, then you may want to pick up a shell identification guide from one of our local gift shops.

Here are a few of the more common species of shells that you may see here on the Outer Banks:


SCOTCH BONNET

Banded Tulip

BANDED TUPLIP

Channeled Whelk

CHANNELED WHELK


Calico Scallops

CALICO SCHALLOPS

Lightening Whelk

LIGHTENING WHELK

Sand Dollar

SAND DOLLAR




Now that you know all about seashells on the OBX, we have something special for you. We know that you have many choices when it comes to OBX rental companies, and this is just one small way for us to say "thank you" for choosing Great Escapes.

This printable coloring sheet is perfect for older children and adults. Grab your colored pencils or crayons, and color away as you make your way to the Outer Banks. Or if you prefer, sit on the deck of your Outer Banks vacation rental and let your creative colors flow.

Be sure to Pin the coloring sheet so you can find it again later!

coloring sheet pdf