WILFREDO LEE, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Shells may be hard to find on other beaches, but they wash ashore in piles on Sanibel and Captiva, two slender barrier islands connected by a bridge off the west coast of Florida. The beaches of these islets catch treasures from the Gulf of Mexico like a colander cradles spaghetti.
Sanibel is 12 miles long and up to three miles wide; to its northwest, Captiva is five miles long and never more than half a mile wide. Together they boast 16 miles of beach lapped by Gulf waters and bayside coasts fringed in mangrove trees, with their exposed roots and bushy foliage.
If finding shells is what you like, morning low tide, before the crowds arrive, is the time for a constitutional. The beaches are beauties -- easy waves, soft sand and warm water. I found lots of clams and scallops, but nothing unusual. I picked up a heap, learning only later how to be selective.
-- Susan Spano, Los Angeles Times