If you are looking for a beautiful conch shell to display in your home, you won't find one on New Bedford's East Beach – or on West Beach, for that matter.

Conch is native to the coasts of the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Florida Keys. Shell enthusiasts flock to the Florida coast to search for conch, giant welk, Helmut shells, and more. The southwest Gulf Coast of Florida is a favorite for beachcombing.

That doesn't mean that there are not a lot of nifty shells and other ocean treats to scout for here in New England.

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The non-profit Buzzards Bay Coalition says, "Every day, waves, wind, and the ceaseless cycle of the tides touch more than 200 miles of shoreline around Buzzards Bay. As the water comes and goes, it leaves behind an incredible variety of objects from the sea."

Best Massachusetts Beaches To Hunt For Seashells
Kate Robinson/Townsquare Media

While this cycle continues year-round, winter can be the best time to comb the shoreline in search of treasures.

"Winter storms often bring some of the best finds ashore, and fewer crowds mean you have a better chance of finding a treasure," the Coalition says.

The Coalition's website lists more than a dozen shells and other treasures found along the beaches of Buzzards Bay and "easy beachcombing spots for families," all within a short drive from New Bedford.

Yankee's New England.com website lists its choices for "Best Beaches for Seashells in New England," "Best Beaches for Sea Glass," "Finding Glass Orbs on Block Island," and "Prettiest Beaches in New England."

Beachcombing and treasure hunting is a fantastic way to spend quality family time at little to no cost.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

Gallery Credit: Keri Wiginton

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

Gallery Credit: Peter Richman

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