Whether you're a serious sheller or casual beach-goer, hunting around in the shallows for your very own nautical treasures is a great way to pass to time, and save money. If you're looking for the best beach in Florida to find sand dollars, well, look no further. 

Forget the expensive shell shops, Florida beaches are so rich with shells and other goodies, you can grab all you can carry for free just from the beach.

For those of you looking for specific treasures, though, the hunt may be a little more serious. Knowing where to start is the most important key, so start by reading on!

If you’ve ever visited the Gulf Coast of Florida before, it will come as no surprise that the little islands that float in these waters are where your sand dollar hunting journey begins.

Arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Florida, they’re also a perfect place to hunt for washed up sea treasures, and the reason is in their positioning.

Specifically, we’re talking about the beautiful Sanibel Island.

Home to the only museum in America devoted solely to shells and mollusks, it’s no wonder that this place is a shell hunter’s paradise.

Sanibel Island lies east to west, so it acts as a giant collecting point for all things washing up from the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

Hunting for sand dollars is a little different from your regular shell collecting. There are some legal rules you’ll need to watch out for.

All sand dollars have a rigid skeleton called a "test," and are coated in velvety spines that help them move along the seabed.

The spines also give them color, any variety of green, blue, violet, or purple, depending on the species. You may think yourself exceptionally lucky to find one of these gems, but alas, you’ll have to return that one to the sea, because it’s still alive!

It’s illegal to remove a living creature from its habitat (fishing is different because it requires seasonal permits). But if you find a bleached sand dollar, you’re truly lucky, because that one is yours to keep.

Now for the good stuff. You know what to look for and how to look for it. Where you specifically want to go are the two best beaches on Sanibel Island for sand dollar hunting, and that is Bowman’s Beach and Tarpon Bay Beach.

The best places on the beaches are of course the shallows, specifically at low tide, and after a storm.

If you’re eager to dig up more treasure, you’ll definitely want to check out this Florida crystal mine, and these hidden Florida sculptures.

Sanibel Island 

Address: Sanibel Recreation Center located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Rd., Sanibel Island, FL

Why You Need To Go: You will find seashells and sand dollars galore at this Gulf coast island! 


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