Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum

#5 in Best Things To Do in Sanibel Island
Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum picture
Jessica Lucia/Flickr

Key Info

3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road

Price & Hours

$15 for adults; $7 for kids 5-11
10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Details

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is small but packs quite a punch. In just a few choice exhibits, you'll be able to learn more about any sea treasures you might have uncovered at the nearby seashore. Popular exhibits include the sailors' valentines (19th century shell art that Bajan women designed for area sailors to take home to loved ones), the shell classification wheel (where you can positively identify Southwest Florida shells) and the life-size models that depict what life was like for the Native Calusa Floridians that once lived near the Southwest Gulf up until the 18th century.

Recent travelers found that the museum exceeded their expectations with the large display of shells from all around the globe, not just Florida. 

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission ranges from $7 to $15, depending on age; children ages 4 and younger can enter for free. Visit the official website for further details.

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More Best Things To Do in Sanibel Island

Bowman's Beach1 of 5
Captiva Island2 of 5
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Bowman's Beach

Bowman's is well known for having beautiful, unusual shells, but you'll have to put a little effort into finding the true gems along this beach. Recent travelers found the best method is to step waist-deep in the water and dig your feet into the sand to find the shells.

Though this area isn't as developed as other areas of the islands, it still offers a few amenities, including picnic tables, grills, bathrooms and bike racks. Plan on bringing your own food instead of visiting one of the popular restaurants located about a mile down Bowman's Beach Road, as they can get pretty pricey. Another unfortunate side effect of visiting this centrally located beach is the $4-an-hour parking fee by the shore. The beach welcomes visitors from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information, visit the Lee County website.

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