2017-06-14 / Outdoors

Six walks on the beach to celebrate National Seashell Day

With its world-class reputation for shell-carpeted sands, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel celebrates seashells every day. But when National Seashell Day comes around on June 21, it goes a little wacky with an only-of-its kind Shell Love Bug car, which will make a New York City appearance that day, special accommodations packages, and special events such as discounts and free live entertainment at the Shell Factory & Nature Park (995-2141, www.shellfactory.com) in North Fort Myers. And don’t be surprised if you spot the Travelocity Gnome showing up on location throughout the county. Visit fortmyerssanibel.com/national-seashell-day for more information.

The best way to honor the day? Get to the beach and learn more about seashells, their habitat, and other beach creatures. Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau recommends an informed walk on the beach during the next couple of weeks. Here are six educational, organized walks you can follow.

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel Island

Marine biologists lead daily beach walks on Sanibel, departing from the Island Inn at 9 a.m. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 5-17. The museum also conducts low-tide walks at San Carlos Bay - Bunche Beach Preserve in south Fort Myers. The next scheduled walk takes place on Thursday, June 22, at 7 a.m. Cost is $12 for adults and $7 for children ages 5-17 (parking fees apply). Both tours include coupons for half-off admission to the shell museum. Participants must book in advance. 395-2233, www.shellmuseum.org.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Seashells, shell cases, mermaid purses, sponges, and ghost crabs: Just a few of the treasures educators find on the Perry Tract to share with Family Beach Walk participants every Friday at 10 a.m. through Aug. 4, 2017. The free tour meets at Gulfside City Park (parking fees apply) to explore the adjacent refuge shoreline property. 472- 1100, httpr:www.dingdarlingsociety.org/ articles/free-refuge-programs.

Captiva Cruises, Captiva Island

Cruise to secluded Cayo Costa State Park to find sand dollars, scallops, conchs, and a vast variety of other seashells along the pristine beach. Choose the full-day excursion from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $50 per adult and $35 per child ages 1-12; or half-day morning or afternoon tours (9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.) for $40 and $25. State park admission fees apply. 472-5300, www.captivacruises.com

Mound House, Fort Myers Beach

Explore natural treasures on Fort Myers Beach with a free guided walk at Newton Beach Park on Tuesdays, June 20 and 27, sponsored by the Mound House. Participants should meet at the park (4650 Estero Blvd.) under the thatched hut at 9 a.m. 765-0865, www.moundhouse.org.

Adventures in Paradise, Fort Myers

Its narrated Shelling & Lunch Cruise heads out to an uninhabited island accessible only by boat to hunt for seashells and soak up sun and local ecology. The boat departs at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and returns at 2:30 p.m. The cost is $59 for adults, $49 for kids ages 4-12. Lunch is extra. 472-8443, www.adventureinparadiseinc.com.

For more information about shelling tours and other outdoor pursuits along The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, visit www.FortMyersSanibel.com. ¦

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