51 Favorite Sites To Find Fossils In Florida In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

| Updated

51 Favorite Sites To Find Fossils In Florida In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist


Fossils are the remains or traces of ancient living things preserved over time. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a dinosaur bone. Despite how amazing they are, finding these natural treasures anywhere isn’t a walk in the park, especially if you’re looking for Florida fossils.

Sometimes, they’re hidden deep in the earth or in places hard to reach. Without the right guidance, it can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

If you’re wondering where to start finding fossils in Florida, you’re in luck because we’ve found some incredible spots we’re going to share! Over the years, many amazing fossils have been found here.

In this article, we’ll share with you our favorite sites where you can find both rare and common fossils in Florida. With a little patience and some digging, you can surely successfully find them here. Let’s start hunting!

The Fossils Of Florida You Can Find

Aside from being endowed with many great rockhounding spots, Florida also has it all— from ancient shark teeth to the bones of giant creatures like mammoths. If you want to uncover them, there are certain specific areas you should explore.

But before we get into the details of these favorite sites for fossil hunting in Florida, let’s first discuss the different rare and common fossils that you can find here:

How We Found The Best Places For Fossils in Florida
Our team is constantly on the lookout for new fossil sites and are very plugged into the fossil hunting community. There are new locations that are constantly being found and we love to help more hunters find success. Here are the main factors we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from multiple local fossil hunters and fossil groups
  • The accessibility of the various locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced fossil lovers and those who are just starting out

Using these weights we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding great new fossils for our collections!

Common Florida Fossils

Close-up look at a shark tooth fossil
Shark tooth photo provided by and available for purchase at CrystalAgeCreative

When you hunt Florida fossils, below are some of the most common ones that you might find:

  • Shark teeth
  • Coral
  • Bryozoans
  • Brachiopods
  • Foraminifera
  • Echinoid
  • Ivory
  • Glyptodonts

Florida State Fossil – Agatized Coral

Close-up look at an agatized coral
Agatized coral photo provided by Time Vault Gallery

Agatized coral is a coral, which is usually soft, that turned into a colorful, solid rock over millions of years. What makes it super special is its unique patterns and colors. Each piece looks different: Some might have bands of color, while others showcase the intricate structures of the original coral.

Florida recognized this amazing gem in 1979 because it tells a story of our state’s ancient underwater past. Many of these fossils are found in areas that were once covered by seas millions of years ago.

Rare Florida Fossils

Wolly mammoth molar fossil
Mammoth fossil photo provided by Fossilera – @fossilera

Aside from the command finds, we also have incredibly valuable rare Texas fossils. Below are some of them, so you can research about them ahead of your fossil hunting trip here:

  • Megalodon Teeth
  • Mammoth
  • Mastodon
  • Giant Ground Sloths
  • Windover People Bones

The Best Places To Find Fossils In Florida

Below are our favorite sites to uncover fossils in Florida, including details you’ll need to know about them before you visit them. We highly recommend prioritizing exploring these spots:

Always Confirm Access and Collection Rules!

Before heading out to any of the locations on our list you need to confirm access requirements and collection rules for both public and private locations directly with the location. We haven’t personally verified every location and the access requirements and collection rules often change without notice.

Many of the locations we mention will not allow collecting but are still great places for those who love to find beautiful rocks and minerals in the wild without keeping them. We also can’t guarantee you will find anything in these locations since they are constantly changing. 

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding. If you want even more current options it’s always a good idea to contact local rock and mineral clubs and groups

Peace River (Bone Valley)

Serene view of the Peaceful River

Flowing for over 100 miles through the heart of Florida, the Peace River winds its way through ancient lands that have been home to incredible creatures throughout history.

Its surroundings are a sight to behold, with cypress trees stretching their long limbs over the water, creating a peaceful canopy. The gentle flow of the water combined with our state’s warm sun makes it a perfect spot for an adventure.

For millions of years, Florida was covered by a shallow sea. Over time, the remains of marine creatures, plants, and even mammoths and giant ground sloths got buried. As the river’s water eroded the land, these hidden treasures started to resurface.

Peace River is easily accessible from major cities like Tampa and Orlando. Many spots along it, such as the popular Paynes Creek Historic State Park, offer easy entry for canoes and kayaks. Its shallow water and sandy bottom make it simple for anyone, even beginners, to wade in and start their fossil search.

Where and what fossils to find in Peace River

You can find Ice Age animal fossils here, such as fossils of tiger, hemi, megalodon shark teeth, alligator teeth, dugong bones, mammoths, dire wolves, glyptodonts, horses, giant ground sloths, bison, llama, beaver, tapir, dolphin, whale, barracuda, mastodon, stingray spines, and even bones of ancient camels!

Rock pick being used

The tools every fossil hunter will need

When you're out looking for fossils having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.

We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced fossils hunters which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.

Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.

At a minimum you should have:

1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard

2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set

3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well

4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill

5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable

6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to

7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect

The fossil-finding books that we use most

There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America 

Southeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Southeastern Quadrant 

We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.

Venice Beach

Aerial view of the greenish blue waters of Venice Beach and its shores

Venice Beach is often called the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” and for a good reason! With its golden sands stretching along the Gulf Coast, it’s a hotspot for finding ancient shark teeth.

In ancient times, its area was submerged underwater and was home to many sea creatures, including sharks. Over the years, as these sharks lost their teeth, the old teeth settled into the ocean floor. Fast forward to today, and the ocean waves have eroded the land, revealing them.

Reaching Venice Beach is straightforward. It’s situated on Florida’s west coast, not far from the city of Sarasota. The beach is well-marked and has ample parking for visitors.

Where and what fossils to find in Venice Beach

You can find shark teeth, ranging in size from tiny specks to the large teeth of the mighty megalodon, an ancient and massive shark if you beach comb here.

You can also find fossils of ray plates, dugong rib sections, whale jaw sections, and horse teeth here.

Florida Caverns State Park

A colorful display of lights inside the Florida Caverns State Park

Florida Caverns State Park boasts the only open-air caves you can tour in our entire state. But it’s not just the caves that are special; the park is also a fantastic spot to learn about the ancient history of the region.

As you explore the caves, you’ll be greeted by stunning formations of limestone stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones. In some spots within the park, you can find fossils of sea creatures that once lived in ancient seas that once covered this area.

Florida Caverns State Park is located just outside the town of Marianna, making it easily accessible from major highways. Once at the park, you can take guided tours of the main cave, where the guides point out any fossils embedded in the walls.

Where and what fossils to find in Florida Caverns State Park

You can find fossils of corals, bryozoans, brachiopods, nautilus (Aturia), echinoids, and foraminifera if you explore here.

Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Wide view of the rock formations and surrounding trees at the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

Located in the beautiful Florida Keys, the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is home to an old quarry where you can see fossilized coral formations up close.

As you wander around, you’ll notice large boulders and walls showcasing layers upon layers of fossilized coral. These corals lived here about 100,000 to 125,000 years ago. Over time, the coral skeletons became part of the limestone rock, preserving their intricate shapes and patterns.

Visiting Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park is easy. It’s situated right off the Overseas Highway in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. There’s a small visitor center where you can learn more about the park’s history, the fossils, and the quarrying activities that took place here.

Where and what fossils to find in Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park

From brain corals that look like a maze to the delicate fans of sea fans, you can see fossils of corals from the Pleistocene age preserved in big 8-foot-tall rock walls, just like they were when they died!

You can also find a 2-inch long imprint of Lithophaga, a stone-eating mollusk when you visit here.

Amelia Island

Stunning aerial view of the shores and waters of Amelia Island

Amelia Island has beautiful beaches, rich history, and the thrill of fossil discoveries. Its shores are lined with golden sands, and the gentle waves from the Atlantic Ocean kiss the coast, making it an ideal spot to relax and explore.

But here’s the exciting part for fossil enthusiasts: Amelia Island’s shores are known for ancient shark teeth! These fossils, ranging from tiny black or brown specks to larger, more defined shapes, give us a peek into the marine life of ancient times.

While shark teeth are the most common finds, if you’re super lucky, you might also discover other marine fossils or even fragments of old shipwrecks.

Located just a short drive from Jacksonville, Amelia Island is easily accessible by car. Once you’re here, there are plenty of places to park near the beaches. The best times to look for fossils here are after a storm or during low tide.

Where and what fossils to find on Amelia Island

If you go beachcombing through Amelia Island’s shores, you can find shark teeth lying on the ground.

Other Top Places To Find Florida Fossils By Region

Horse jaw fossil photo provided by Fossilera – @fossilera

As a fossil hunter’s wonderland, it should come as no surprise that Florida has other sites that you can explore for these natural wonders. We’ve listed them down below, including what specific fossil you may find in each of them:

Location Fossils
Excavations, road, and railroad cuts countywide in Alachua County Ivory
Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science in Brevard County Windover people bones, Bird bones
Spoil mounds of Charlotte County Department of Transportation Marine invertebrates
Excavations, road, and railroad cuts countywide in Citrus County Ivory
Limonite quarries countywide in Citrus County Ivory
Inactive limestone quarry of GTE Satellite Systems Corporation in Citrus County Marine invertebrates
Quarry and spoil piles south of Cross-Florida Barge Canal in Citrus County Marine fossils
South from below the bridge of Port of Miami in Dade County Coral fossils
Havana area fuller’s earth mines in Gadsden County Invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, varied shells and bones, Ivory
Hinson area abandoned fuller’s earth mines in Gadsden County Invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, varied shells and bones, Ivory
Jamieson area fuller’s earth mines in Gadsden County Invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, varied shells and bones, Ivory
Quincy area fuller’s earth mines in Gadsden County Invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, varied shells and bones, Ivory
Quarries countywide in Gilchrist County Agatized corals
Jasper area phosphate mines in Hamilton County Coral geodes
White Springs area phosphate mines in Hamilton County Coral geodes
Suwannee River and both sides of its tributaries in Hamilton County Coral heads
Brooksville area excavations, road, and railroad cuts in Hernando County Echinoid geodes with crystal interiors
Brooksville area quarries in Hernando County Echinoid geodes with crystal interiors
Dredging or deep-digging construction operations countywide in Hernando County Marine invertebrates
Exposed tidal flats during low tide at Bayshore Boulevard and Interbay Boulevard in Hillsborough County Coral geodes, Shells
Hillsborough River bank streams in Hillsborough County Coral geodes, Silicified brain corals, and finger corals
Shores of Davis Island, especially at Ballast Point in Hillsborough County Corals
Limestone quarries countywide in Jackson County Shells
Quarries countywide in Lafayette County Coral geodes, Agatized shells
Quarries countywide in Levy County Coral geodes, Shells
Gulf Hammock quarry in Levy County Bryozoans (excellent quality), Gastropods, Echinoids, Corals, Shark Teeth
Excavations, road, and railroad cuts countywide in Marion County Ivory
West at Bailey’s Bluff in Pasco County Coral
New Port Richey area quarries and other excavations in Pasco County Coral geodes, Shells
Northern half of Sand Key in Pinellas County Corals
Tidal flats of Honeymoon Island at the west end of Caladesi Causeway in Pinellas County Coral geodes, Shells, Silicified coral fingers
Tarpon Springs area in Pinellas County Coral
Phosphate mines in the Lake Hookers Prairie area in Polk County Bones, Mastodon teeth, Ivory, Shark Teeth
Phosphate digging operations countywide in Polk County Bones, Mastodon teeth, Ivory, Shark teeth
Phosphate mine in Fort Fort Meade area in Polk County Bones, Mastodon teeth, Ivory, Shark teeth
Wear Ranch in Kathleen area, Polk County Coral fossils
Around the I-4 interchange in Lakeland area, Polk County Coral fossils
Phosphate mine in Saddle Creek, Polk County Bones, Mastodon teeth, Ivory, Shark teeth
Phosphate mine in Lake Parker, Polk County Bones, Mastodon teeth, Ivory, Shark teeth
Canal near Kathleen in Lakeland area, Polk County Coral

Common Questions About Fossil Hunting In Florida

Fossilized bone of a giant ground sloth
Giant ground sloth fossil photo provided by Stones & Bones Collection

When folks go fossil-hunting in Florida, they often have similar common questions, and in this section, we’ll answer them for you:

Can you find megalodon teeth or shark teeth in Florida?

Florida is actually one of the best places in the world to find shark teeth, including those of the mighty megalodon. Our state’s geological history and ancient marine environments make it a prime location for these fossilized treasures.

Places like Venice Beach, dubbed the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” and Peace River are particularly renowned for frequent discoveries of shark teeth, including the occasional megalodon tooth.

Is it illegal to collect fossils in Florida?

It’s legal to collect fossils in designated collecting sites in Florida. For starters, make sure to obtain permission before exploring private land, while for public land, collecting is strictly forbidden.

For more information on our local collecting guidelines, visit the official website of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Can you find dinosaur bones in Florida?

Interestingly, while Florida is known for a rich array of fossils, it’s not a hotspot for dinosaur bones. The reason for this is largely geological. During the time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (from about 230 million to 65 million years ago), much of Florida was submerged underwater.

However, while dinosaur bones are rare, our state is rich in fossils from the Cenozoic Era, which came after the age of dinosaurs. These include ancient mammals, birds, reptiles, and especially marine creatures.

Our Favorite Places To Buy Fossils In Florida

A look at the front store window of the Prehistoric Florida

Another great way to see, touch, and even take home Florida fossils and those from other states is to visit our reputable local fossil shops. Below are some of our recommended ones:

About Keith Jackson - Geologist

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He is an active Geologist with a wealth of experience and information from across the country that he loves to share with the Rock Chasing crew.

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