You need very little specialized equipment to go shelling. However, it is suggested you bring the following:
While you can improve your chances at shell collection by picking out times, there are also some places known for their shelling:
Additionally, you should focus your efforts on specific areas of the beach:
It's a common misconception that the best time to shell is in the very early morning. Instead you should focus on the tides, the weather, and the moon.
This guide presumes you will be looking for dead specimens, but it is possible to find species by live shelling: finding a living mollusc, then killing and removing the animal. Some people find this to be unethical; in some counties it is outright prohibited. Regardless, live shelling in Florida requires a recreational saltwater fishing license.
Learn more about your local shelling laws here: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/sea-shells/
You'll note that most of the shells you find won't be the beautiful kind you see in museums or in storefronts. Your shells will often be bleached, weathered, and/or encrusted by barnacles and tube worms. Here are some steps you can take to clean them up: