Seashells and starfish on the beach.

NPS Photo

The uninhabited barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore are a well known desination for "shelling" or collecting seashells. Knobbed Whelks, Bay Scallops, Scotch Bonnets, and other types of shells can be found washed up on our shores for visitors to collect. For the best shelling opportunities, try to comb the beach early in the morning, at low tide, after a storm, or during times of lower visitation such as the winter months.

Visitors are allowed to collect up to five gallons of uninhabited shells per person, per day for non-commercial use. If a mollusk is still in its shell or another animal has made a shell its home, please leave those shells on the beach. Take only empty shells.

Learn more about Mollusks...

Last updated: October 20, 2023

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Harkers Island, NC 28531


252 728-2250

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