How to Rack Up Shells and Sharks’ Teeth in Myrtle Beach

Not all treasures from Myrtle Beach come from shops.

If you want the coolest souvenirs from the Grand Strand, look in the sand. Your hunt will look different in the morning than later in the afternoon. It might be more fruitful in some months over others. And takes patience and luck, along with a sharp eye.

Some people have a knack for discovering these prizes of the sea. Here’s what experts say will help you become a master sheller, or a sharks’ teeth hero. Remember, the thrill is in the hunt, not always in the bounty. Sometimes, a single shell can serve as a great reminder of a fun beach vacation.

Tips for Hunting Shells and Sharks’ Teeth

1. Start Early

Pick low tide, especially the morning low, and arrive an hour early. You’ll face less competition, and nothing’s as serene as the shore in the morning. Storms can wash up shells in great numbers. The optimal time: Low tide, in the spring, full or new moon.

Would you believe …

Most seashells are dextral — meaning opening to the right. About 10% are sinistral, which open to the left. As you can imagine, finding a sinistral shell is a stellar moment!

Girl walking on the beach during a sunrise

2. Search for Sharks’ Teeth

You’re actually finding tiny fossils. Look along the beach’s tideline for shiny, black objects. They’re usually triangular in shape. You’ll find more if you sift deeper into the sand. Cherry Grove Beach is a well-known shark-tooth hunters’ favorite location.

Would you believe …

Humans have one row of 32 teeth. Sharks have five rows of teeth. They can have as many as 3,000 teeth at any given time! They lose as many as 100 per day.

Shells in the tide on the beach

3. Know Your Shells

More than 700 species of shell dwellers live off the coast of Myrtle Beach. The most common:

Angel wings, Arks, Augers, Cockles, Coquina, Jingle, Olive shells, Pen shells, Slipper shells, Whelks

Beachcombers have also found sand dollars, sea urchins and starfish here. Look up a chart of seashells back at your resort and see what you’ve found.

4. Keep an Eye Out for Other Jewels of the Sea, too

Sea glass is shards of glass fragments that salt water and sand have worn smooth. They come from bottles, glassware, jars, tableware or even from shipwrecks! As with seashells, it’s best to search for them early in the morning, at low tide.

Would you believe …

It takes from 5 to 50 years to produce a piece of sea glass. The frosted look comes from sand etching the glass. It’s also known as mermaid tears, beach glass or sea gems.

5. Bring Tools (or Barehand Them)

You can search for shells with your hands only, and use your shorts pockets to carry your bounty. Or, you could bring a bucket, a filter, a spade and a net — or whatever sand tool toys you can find. Some cool shells might be deeper in the ground, so tools are helpful.

Would you believe …

Calcium is the main element in shells. It takes from one to six years for a shell to form, and they provide material for birds’ nests.

Picture of shells laying in the sand at the beach

6. Follow a Few Rules

Make sure there isn’t something living in a shell you find! Remember, they’re hosts to living things. Sand dollars and starfish are also living things, so leave them in the ocean if they’re still alive. It’s best to boil your shells in a large pot of water for 15 minutes to kill bacteria.

Would you believe …

The world’s oldest shell necklace is 100,000 years old. It’s made from a shell called the Swollen Nassa. Shells are still part of the jewelry trade — abalone and mother of pearl most commonly.

A Beach Gem of Another Kind: North Beach Resort & Villas

Unwind for your Myrtle Beach getaway with a fabulous view at North Beach Resort & Villas. Stay right in the middle of all the fun of the Grand Strand. And you can’t beat the wave pool and bar! Have a look at the fabulous rooms available at North Beach Resort & Villas. Book one for your getaway today.

Master bedroom in North Beach Towers
Aerial view of north beach resort and villas
North Beach Oceanfront Room