How to Find Sand Dollars?

How to find sand dollars? Finding sand dollars is not a tough job. After a low tide wave, you can easily find them on the beach and island. They are mostly present in the temperate and tropical oceans of the globe. In the second sandbar, you can also find a sand dollar along the seashore.

Looking for some easy-peasy ways to find sand dollars, including where to search them? This blog can help. Then, without any further ado, let’s get into the details!

What are Sand Dollars?


Sand dollars are a kind of sea critter in the Clypeasteroida group. You’ll often find these flat, round guys in shallow water and on sandy shores. They’ve got a unique five-pointed pattern. It looks like old American and Spanish dollar coins. That’s why they’re called “sand dollars.” Beach lovers want these critters for their cool shape and fancy look.

What Does It Mean if You Find a Sand Dollar?

Different people link different spiritual meanings with sand dollars. Putting them all together, if you find a sand dollar, it means:

  • Good Luck (since they are the lost coins of the mermaid)
  • Strength and Power
  • Flexibility and Ease in life
  • Freedom and Independence

Moreover, according to Catholic belief, sand dollars represent the birth and resurrection of Jesus. Similarly, if you find a broken sand dollar, it signifies peace and love. For all the positive vibes, people often make sand dollar tattoos.

How to Find Sand Dollars?

Are you planning to visit the beach soon and hunt some shelling? Enlisted below are some of the most feasible ways to find sand dollars. Follow them.

Look for Circular Depressions

The easiest way to find sand dollars is to look for depressions and round patches. These patches indicate that sand dollars are near that spot underneath the sand. So, dig and unearth the sea biscuits.

Find in Second Sandbar

Sandbars are offshore areas built by swirling turbulence of high tides and water currents. Beaches have two sandbars. Low waves end up forming the first sandbar next to the beach. The high waves create the second sandbar next to the first sandbar.

The second bar is nearly 500m away from the shore. You can easily find multiple sea biscuits flip-flopping there. So, take out your paddleboard and lay your bet there. Remember to take your goggles and snorkel to search for these echinoderms in the second bar.

Shuffle in Shallow Water

We know that sand dollars love to nestle and burrow underneath the sand. Sand dollars make their way deep down since the sand near the coastal area and the second sandbar is moist. Moreover, you can’t find any patch or depression in the water.

So, in that case, finding the exact spot to look for takes time. In that case, walk in the sand bar and coastal area barefooted. Stroll by shuffling the sand right and left.

Look for Low Tide

Another best that you can go for is low tide. Search on the local beach website above the scheduled probability of low tide. Visit the beach near that time. There is a high probability of finding different species of sand dollars after low tides that hit a full moon. However, the regular morning and evening tides also leave you with multiple shells to pick up.

Look between Piles of Seaweed and Shells

We often find different shelling and gnarly seaweeds piled up on the beaches. There are chances that sand dollars might be hidden in them. So, sift through them keenly and find one.

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Scouring the Beach After a Storm

The heavy currents and waves of storms tend to push a large diversity of sea creatures to the shore. So, you can find multiple sand dollars on the shores and coastlines post-storm.

Where to Find Sand Dollars? Different Territories

Sand dollars are distributed in almost all oceans of the global world. The most common areas to find sand dollars are:

  • Southern and Central America Seas,
  • Eastern North Atlantic Oceans,
  • Caribbean Sea,
  • North Pacific and Pacific Ocean,
  • Temperate and Tropical Regions of the Northern Hemisphere,
  • Beach and Islands of Florida and Australia.

Want to know more about different territories where you can find sand dollars? Keep reading.

Sand Dollars in Florida

It is a piece of cake if you are looking for sand dollars in Florida. Florida has almost all the species of Sand dollar. 

Best Way to Find Sand Dollars in Florida

The low tides in Florida, particularly on Sanibel Island, face smooth low waves in the morning. These tides bring a rich diversity of sea organisms to the coastal area. So, you can find sand dollars there early in the morning.

Sand Dollar

Moreover, just like always, give your foot a bit of work and shuffle the sand. You will find some. You can also dig and unearth the sandy beach. Sand dollars can burrow themselves up to 3 inches deep into the sand.

Where to Find Sand Dollars in Florida?

The best spots to find and look for sand dollars in Florida are:

  • Tarpon Bay Beach
  • Bowman’s Beach
  • Gulf Coast of Florida
  • Sarasota areas
  • Gulf of Mexico

My experience of searching for sand dollars in Florida

On a sunny morning on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I set out to find sand dollars, those unique coastal treasures found in the area. I went beachcombing on Sanibel Island, which has beautiful beaches and great shells to find. I knew that low tide was the best time to hunt for sand dollars. During low tide, the sandy seabed is exposed, revealing the resting place of these fascinating creatures. 

With great anticipation, I began my exploration along the shoreline. As I combed the beach, I came across a small, circular shape partially emerging from the sand. I found it with excitement. It was a beautiful, intricate, pale sand dollar, shining in the sunlight. To my relief, this one had already completed its life cycle and was no longer alive. 

Encouraged by this discovery, I continued my search and soon found more sand dollars. The thrill of spotting these remnants of marine life in their natural habitat was captivating and educational. After my adventure, I returned any live sand dollars I encountered back to the water, respecting their place in the ecosystem. 

Also Read: How Do Sand Dollars Move?

I even picked up a few things from the beach as souvenirs, ensuring they fit in with the surroundings. If you’re visiting Sanibel Island in Florida, explore during low tide to find sand dollars and make memories.

Sand Dollars in California

When talking about Northern California, you can only find the Dendraster excentricus (Eccentric Sand Dollar) species of Sand Dollar. And they reside near shallow sandy areas. However, you can find different species of sand dollars in Southern California.

Sand Dollar

Where to Find Sand Dollars in California?

The ideal destinations to look for sand dollars are:

  • Coronado
  • Sand Dollar Beach
  • Shell Beach
  • Silver Strand State Beach

However, be wise enough to look for tides and weather conditions before searching for them. Else, you will return empty-handed.

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Sand Dollars in Pensacola

Early morning is the best time to hunt for sand dollars in Pensacola. The reason is the low tidal action, and northern winds flatten the surface. So, finding and spotting these echinoderms becomes relatively easy.

Where to Find Sand Dollars in Pensacola?

Some of the best locations to do your search in Pensacola are:

  • Fort Pickens Beach
  • San Carlos Beach
  • Sand Island Pensacola
  • Shoreline Park Pavilion

Sand Dollars in Galveston Island (Galveston, Texas)

The western end of Galveston Island, Texas, extends to almost 32 miles. It is the honey hole to look for sand dollars in winter. The water waves deposit many sea creatures and shells at the end, particularly in winter.

The wave energy is relatively low there, so multiple sand dollars can be found nestled down in the sand under the calm environment. The best fact about Tybee Island is that the sand keeps on displacing. So, the sand dollars usually expose themselves, making your task even easier. However, as per the law of Georgia, you can’t take a live sand dollar under section 12-1 (a)(17).

After heavy storms, you can look for these sea biscuits near the western end in low tide. The morning low tide is the best time to find them.

Sand Dollars in Tybee Island

Tybee Island lies between Brazil and Virginia, on the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, it resides in different species of sand dollars in it. You can easily find it in shallow water zones, at the beach shore, and at bay.

How To Find Sand Dollars on Tybee Island?

The Mid to North part of the beach is a quiet and kid-friendly area. You can quickly locate sea biscuits there. You can look for them in the North and South inlets.

Some Famous Beach Where You Can Find Sand Dollars

Sand Dollars on An Orange Beach

Orange Beach is one of the best areas in Alabama to search for sand dollars. You can find sand dollars and a plethora of Shells scattered everywhere on the beach.

When talking specifically about sand dollars, you can find numerous dead, alive, and broken sand dollars near the shore of Orange Beach. Search for them in the following ways discussed earlier.

Sand Dollars on Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach is a 23-mile beach present near the Atlantic coast of Florida. On a nice winter day with low tides, you can easily find lines of sand dollars and other Shell organisms along the Shoreline of Daytona Beach, where the beach edge meets the water.

In fact, Daytona is one of the time-honored and favorite places for vacationers to hunt for different shelling.

Sand Dollars at Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach is part of Florida, the hub of sand dollars. Therefore, always remember to go beachcombing there as you can find plenty of sea biscuits at Cocoa Beach. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say there is a sprinkling of sand dollars at Cocoa Beach. 

However, only a limited variety is found. These shell organisms cover vast stretches of the cocoa beach in the early afternoon.

Sand Dollars at Panama City Beach

After a strong storm and water currents, many sand dollars are found in the upper coastal area and high tidal water zone. They are flip-flopping there near the shores of Panama City Beach.

Since Panama City Beach is a part of the Northern Hemisphere, you can easily find myriads of sand dollars there. Here are the two excellent spots to find shells of a sand dollar:

  • Ten Thousand Island
  • Shell Island
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Sand Dollars in Fort Myers Beach

You can easily find multiple sand dollars washed up on the coastline of North Myrtle Beach and near the shore area.

However, if you don’t find them, look for round patches in the sandy area. The best points to look for in sand dollars are:

  • Sanibel island
  • Bowman’s Beach
  • Fishing Pier

Sand Dollars in Myrtle Beach

The best time to find sand dollars in Myrtle Beach is when a low tide is dying out. It mostly happens after heavy rainfall.

So, soon after the tides die out, look for depressions along the shores and coastal line. However, you can’t take a alive sand dollar with you. It is against the rules of Myrtle Beach and South Carolina.

Also Read: How Big Do Sand Dollars Get?

Here are some areas and spots near Myrtle Beach where you can find sand dollars and various other shelling:

  • Myrtle Beach State Park
  • Pawleys Island
  • Bull Island 

Sand Dollar in Gulf Shores, Alabama

You can find sand dollars near the beach shoes of Gulf shores and Orange Beach in Alabama. Just walk through the water with feet slowly toggling through the wet sand. It is best to venture into these areas early in the morning to find these sea creatures.

sand dollar

Here are some of the best areas or points to find sand dollars are:

  • Fort Morgan, the Mobile point on the West of Gulf shores
  • Gulf State Park Beach
  • Alabama Point (on the famous Perdido Pass Bridge)
  • West Beach Little Lagoon pass
  • Shell Beach (Present at East of Alabama Point)


Are Sand Dollar Rare & Endangered?

Sand Dollars aren’t rare invertebrates. Moreover, they are neither endangered nor threatened. Therefore, you can easily find sand dollars in intercostal areas of the seas and along the seashore. 

How to find sand dollars in the water?

The best place to find sand dollars in the water is below the high tide line. Stand in the water near the coastal zone. Then, slowly shuffle your feet. Most probably, you will find a sand dollar. Moreover, look for small round depressions in the sandy area near the water.

What are the sand dollars at the Siesta key?

The Siesta Key is a point of rock. It is present on the south corner of Crescent Beach, Florida. There are many rock formations between which you can find hundreds of thousands of sand dollar shells. Apart from that, there is a sand dollar island on the Northern coast of Siesta Key. One can find multiple sand dollars there every day.

What is the best time to find sand dollars?

The best time to find sand dollars is just a few minutes after low tides. So, you can look for one in the early morning hours or after the afternoon tides. However, there are chances of both high and low tides in the afternoon, making the finding trickier.


To put things together, finding sand dollars is not an uphill battle. You can easily find them if you move on the right track. It is better to look for sand dollars along the shoreline, in shallow water, on a second sandbar, and in sandy depressions.

The best time to find diverse species of sand dollars is after – a low tide on a full moon, regular morning tides, and heavy rainfall.

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