Home » Best Places to Find Sand Dollars In Florida
· · ·

Best Places to Find Sand Dollars In Florida

This article may contain affiliate links. Whenever you buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission without any cost to you. I really appreciate it as it supports this site and my family. Thank you!

When it comes to beachcombing, some of the best places to find sand dollars in Florida are along the southwest coastline and the northeast coastline. Florida and Florida beaches, with its extensive coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and pristine beaches are home to these delicate marine treasures. 

In this article, we will take you on a journey to explore the best places in Florida to find not only sand dollars but also sea urchins, conch shells, sea glass, shark teeth and more.

We will also cover the optimal times to search for them, how to distinguish between a living sand dollar and one you can take as well as a list of the best shelling beaches. Searching for sand dollars is a great way not only for collectors to add to their collections but will also keep kids occupied too!

If you have a destination in mind, you can use this table of contents to jump to it. I’ve also included additional helpful links at the bottom.

Thank you for reading this post. Don't forget to subscribe! This way you never miss an update, travel deals, discounts and more!! Subscribe to the right------>

Best Places to Find Sand Dollars In Florida: Gulf Coast

Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Marco Island

Nestled along Florida’s southwestern coast, these islands are renowned for their abundant sand dollar populations and probably the top destination and a great spot for shell collectors. So many beautiful shells on these islands!

Sanibel Island, in particular, has gained a reputation as the “Seashell Capital of the World.” With its gentle surf and undisturbed shoreline, shallow waters and plenty of beautiful and different types of shells, this paradise provides a haven for sand dollars and a great place to search for these treasures.

The best time to head to the beaches at low tide, and you’ll have a higher chance of finding these exquisite echinoderms.

best snorkeling tours southwest florida

You will quickly see why Sanibel Island is called the island with the Sanibel stoop or elbows and butts beach. Why? Everyone is bent over looking for shells!

Fort Myers:

Fort Myers is a great place to search for sand dollars because it is located on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, which is known for its beautiful beaches and abundant marine life. Sand dollars are a type of echinoderm that are commonly found in shallow waters along the coast, and Fort Myers has plenty of beaches that are perfect for sand dollar hunting.

In addition to its ideal location, Fort Myers also has a mild climate that makes it a great destination for beachgoers year-round. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide a comfortable environment for sand dollars to thrive, and the clear waters make it easy to spot them as well as plenty of shells as they rest on the sandy ocean floor.

Tigertail Beach

Tigertail Beach is located on Marco Island, Florida, and is a popular destination for beachgoers looking to collect sand dollars. Sand dollars are a type of echinoderm that are commonly found in the shallow waters along the coast, and Tigertail Beach is known for its abundance of these fascinating creatures.

The best way to collect sand dollars on this beautiful beach is to wade into the shallow waters and search for them along the sandy ocean floor. Look for areas where the water is calm and clear, as this will make it easier to spot the sand dollars. Be sure to also watch for the different types of unique shells you will find in this area including olive shells, moon snails, jingle shells, cockle shells, junonia shells and more. 

Venice Beach

Venice Beach, Florida is a great destination for sand dollar collectors and one of the most popular beaches for collectors. The beach is known for its abundance of sand dollars, which can be found in the shallow waters along the shore. Sand dollars are a type of echinoderm that are commonly found in the sandy ocean floor, and Venice Beach is a perfect habitat for them due to its shallow waters and sandy bottom. 

Secondly, Venice Beach is located on the Gulf of Mexico, which is known for its clear and calm waters. This makes it easy to spot sand dollars as they rest on the ocean floor, and also makes it a great place for swimming and snorkeling. Because you are in the water, be sure you are not picking up live sand dollars.

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island is one of the top destinations for searching for sand dollars in Florida because of its unique location, pristine beaches, and abundant marine life. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Anna Maria Island is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters, which provide the perfect habitat for sand dollars.

White sandy beaches, crystal clear waters as well as an abundance of shells, makes Anna Maria Island one of the best spots in Florida for beach vacations but also to search for sand dollars. Plan to snorkel? Watch for sea turtles as they swim by.

best places to stay southwest florida best places to find sand dollars in florida

​Caladesi Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park is not only the perfect place to search for sand dollars, but it is also one of the best places to take a beach vacation because of its natural beauty, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife.

One of the main attractions of Caladesi Island State Park is its beautiful beaches. The park is home to three miles of pristine sandy beaches that are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The beaches are well-preserved and are home to a variety of marine life, including sand dollars, which can be found in the shallow waters along the shore.

Cedar Key

Cedar Key, a small island town located on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida is a step back in time to an Old Florida Beach Town. Laid back and fun to visit.

To find sand dollars on Cedar Key, you will need to wade into the shallow waters and search for them along the sandy ocean floor. Look for areas where the water is calm and clear, as this will make it easier to spot the sand dollars.

Sand dollars are typically found in the shallow waters near the shore, and they are often found in groups. Again, sand dollars are a living creature. Be sure they are dead before you take out of the water.

St. George Island State Park:

Located in the Florida Panhandle, St. George Island State Park offers unspoiled beauty and a secluded coastal environment.

This pristine stretch of sand provides excellent opportunities for finding sand dollars, especially after stormy weather when they often wash ashore. The solitude and natural serenity of this park make it an ideal spot for your sand dollar quest.

Honeymoon Island State Park:

Located near the vibrant city of Clearwater, Honeymoon Island State Park is a beloved destination for nature lovers and shell seekers alike. The pristine beaches here are famous for their diversity of seashells, including sand dollars.

During low tide, walk along the water’s edge, paying close attention to areas where shells accumulate. With a bit of patience and keen observation, you’re bound to uncover these coveted oceanic gems.

Best Places For Snorkeling in Panama City Beach Will Get You Exploring

Panama City Beach and Shell Island:

Panama City Beach and Shell Island are both great destinations for finding sand dollars. You will need a boat to get over to Shell Island. Also be sure to check the tide charts. High tide is not the time to search for sand dollars. 

Sand dollars are typically found in shallow waters along the coast, so look for areas where the water is calm and clear. In Panama City Beach, the best areas to search for sand dollars are near the jetties and around the pier.

At Shell Island, the best areas to search for sand dollars are near the shore and in the Gulf water near the sandbars.

Best Places to Find Sand Dollars In Florida Atlantic Coast

On Florida’s eastern coast lies Canaveral National Seashore, a hidden gem for sand dollar enthusiasts. The pristine beaches of this national park offer a tranquil setting for exploration.

Visit during low tide, particularly in the early morning or late afternoon, when the ocean unveils its treasures. Don’t forget to bring a bucket or bag to collect your sand dollars and ensure you leave only footprints behind.

Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island

Shark tooth capital of the world! Amelia Island is not only an ideal place to search for sand dollars but shark’s teeth as well.  The island is located on the Atlantic coast of Florida, which is known for its beautiful beaches and abundant marine life. 

Sand dollars are a type of echinoderm that are commonly found in the shallow waters along the coast, and Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach have plenty of beaches that are perfect for sand dollar hunting.

If you have time, take a short drive up to Jekyll Island especially in the winter months. This past January, I was shocked to see sand dollars literally lying on the beach like I normally see shells. 

Tip: Enjoy wildlife viewing on this island including deer, gopher tortoise, osprey, and many other sea birds.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Little Talbot Island is a great destination for sand dollar collectors due to its location on the Atlantic coast of Florida and its abundance of beaches.

Whether you are an experienced beachcomber or a first-time visitor to Little Talbot Island, you are sure to enjoy the thrill of discovering these fascinating creatures as you explore the beautiful beaches of this coastal paradise.

Please be respectful of the signs warning you to stay off the dunes. These are not for climbing. Dunes protect the island and the State of Florida parks are rebuilding many of those on the island.

Snorkeling and diving tours in Florida

Jacksonville Beach:

Jacksonville Beach, a coastal city located in northeast Florida is a great place to search for sand dollars.  You will find them near the shoreline or in shallow waters along the coast.

Jacksonville Beach has plenty of beaches that are perfect not only for sand dollar hunting, but also for shark’s teeth and more.

St. Augustine Beach:

St. Augustine Beach is one of my favorite destinations on the Atlantic Coast. The first time I visited this beach was for a half-marathon. The next time I visited, the vacation rental home we were staying in was one block off the beach.

Before we left, we got in one more walk along the shoreline where I was surprised to see shells and sand dollars. It is a good idea to hit the beach early to search for sand dollars and other treasures. 

Daytona Beach

it is possible to find sand dollars on Daytona Beach, a popular tourist destination located on the east coast of Florida. As sand dollars are commonly found in shallow waters along the coast, and Daytona Beach has plenty of beaches that are perfect for sand dollar hunting.

To find sand dollars on Daytona Beach, you will need to wade into the shallow waters and search for them along the sandy ocean floor. Look for areas where the water is calm and clear, as this will make it easier to spot the sand dollars.

Sand dollars are typically found in the shallow waters near the shore, and they are often found in groups. It is important to be respectful of the environment and to follow any posted regulations when searching for sand dollars on Daytona Beach. It is also important to handle the sand dollars carefully, as they are fragile and can break easily.

​Best Places to Find Sand Dollars In Florida: How to tell if a sand dollar is alive?

As a reminder, it’s important to be able to distinguish between a living sand dollar and an empty shell of a sand dollar.

Here are a few tips to help you identify whether a sand dollar is alive or dead:

  1. Examine the color: A living sand dollar usually appears darker, with a slight purple or reddish hue, while dead ones often bleach in the sun and turn pale or white.
  2. Observe the spines: Living sand dollars have tiny moving spines covering their upper surface, which help them navigate and capture food. If the spines are intact and actively moving, it indicates the sand dollar is alive.
  3. Test for movement: Gently nudge the sand dollar with your finger or a shell. If it responds by moving or curling its spines, it is alive. However, be mindful not to disturb or harm the creature unnecessarily.
  4. Look for a soft underside: Flip the sand dollar over and check the underside. A living sand dollar possesses a velvety, hairy surface. In contrast, a dead one will have a smooth, hard, and brittle underside.

Florida’s breathtaking coastline is not only a paradise for sun-seekers but also a treasure trove for sand dollar enthusiasts. From the tranquil shores of Sanibel Island to the wild beauty of St. George Island State Park, these destinations offer unforgettable experiences and opportunities to find these delicate marine wonders.

Remember to respect the marine environment and its inhabitants, collecting only empty shells while leaving living sand dollars undisturbed. So, grab your sunscreen, a bucket, and set off on an adventure to uncover the hidden treasures that lie beneath Florida’s sandy shores. Happy sand dollar hunting!

Upcoming Trip?

I like to use Booking for booking not only my hotels, but my tickets and rental cars as well. Makes life so much easier with only having to log into one location for my information.

Be sure to grab my travel tips to save you time and money. You’ll also be entered into the weekly drawings.

Register here: Get 100 Travel Tips EVERY traveler should know PLUS entered into the weekly drawing.


About Denise

Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH.  Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *