Guide to Seashells You Can Find on Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks
With miles of relatively untouched shoreline, Hatteras Island is paradise for any beachcomber. The island is nestled in perfect proximity to two major East Coast currents: the Gulf Stream and the Labrador Current. These currents bring the island a variety of shells to hunt year-round.
Shells that are native to colder waters generally wash ashore along the north facing beaches, those above Cape Point. Shells that are native to warmer waters, those from North Carolina to Florida, can wash ashore along the south facing beaches from the Point to the tip of Hatteras.
A good technique to follow when shelling is to begin your hunt either side of low tide. You want to scout out beaches with shallow shorelines–those south of the Point. The waves in these areas are small and they do not break on the shore with the same force as the large ones. Shells have a better chance to wash up undamaged. These areas are better known to bring ashore more delicate shells such as the Scotch Bonnet. Another good time to shell hunt is right after a storm.