Whether it’s scallop shells, sand dollars, or something more unique that you’re after, the New England coastline has many excellent shelling beaches perfect for collectors. Here are the best beaches for seashells in New England.
By Katherine Keenan
Jun 24 2022
Best New England Beaches for SeashellsPhoto Credit : Catkin from Pixabay
Are you an avid beachcomber looking to add to your collection? Or maybe an amateur trying to figure out where to begin? Whether you’re on the hunt for scallop shells, sand dollars, or something even more rare, plenty of treasure washes ashore every day on New England’s beaches. And although the Northeast may not be particularly renowned for its shelling, there are plenty of good beaches in New England for seashells if you know where to search. If you’re headed out on a beachcombing adventure, keep in mind that the region’s beaches are especially great for shelling after big storms, following strong winds, and at low tide. Also, always be sure to look for signage and check local regulations before taking shells from the shore. Remember: Seashells can be just as pretty in a photograph! Here are some of the best New England beaches for seashells.
A small portion of Hammonasset Beach, which is Connecticut’s largest beach, is known as a “singing beach.” Why? If caught at the right moment, waves rolling in from Long Island Sound wash across the thousands of shells that have accumulated here, making a melodic rattling sound. Of course, this also makes Meigs Point — the portion of the coastline where the aforementioned “singing” phenomenon occurs — the perfect spot for hunting for seashells.
Located along the Annisquam River and Ipswich Bay, Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester is a white-sand beach scattered with large rocks and tide pools where sea treasures tend to accumulate. This beach is also a family favorite thanks to the small waves and ample entertainment of the crustacean variety — just be certain to visit at low tide, when numerous small ocean creatures like snails, fish, and hermit crabs can be found in the tide pools.
One of New England’s iconic delicacies, the scallop, is understandably also one of the region’s most abundant seashells. And one remote beach, Eel Point, located on the northwest corner of the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, has (despite its misnomer) become particularly well known for its bounty of scallop shells. That said, you’ll find numerous types of seashells on this quiet stretch of shoreline, which has been declared by many to be one of the best beaches on Nantucket for finding seashells.
Located just south of bustling Old Orchard Beach, this two-mile stretch of sand is one of Biddeford’s hidden gems. Walkers will enjoy the beach’s firm-packed sand, while seashell seekers will be happy to know that it’s not named “Fortune’s Rocks” for nothing. In fact, the southern end of the beach has become especially well known for its bounty of oceanic treasures.
New Hampshire’s 18-mile seacoast is small but mighty, and the beach at Odiorne Point State Park in Rye is no exception. Most of the coast at this state park is composed of rocky tide pools packed with creatures to admire and seashells to collect. Make sure to visit at low tide, when the shallow, clear waters provide the perfect venue for shell scouting.
Do you have a favorite beach for collecting seashells in New England? We’d love to hear about it!