3. Prime Pickings at Galveston Island, Texas

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's own website, "Gulf beaches are considered the best shelling beaches in North America". And it's no idle boast, for the shores of the Gulf of Mexico are renowned for being blessed with every conceivable type of shell. When cold fronts from the north hit the western end of Galveston Island, experienced shell hunters dress up warm and make their way to the beach. As the strong winds drive the water from the shore, large areas of fresh sand are exposed, ready for prospecting and filling your bucket with rich pickings. And in summer, Galveston's East Beach is the hippest beach in Texas; a fabulous place to show off your new bikini and talk about your vast shell collection at a Galveston beach party.