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Finding Hidden Gems: How to Find Sand Dollars in Destin, Perdido Key, and Gulf Shores.

showing a sand dollar to a little girl
A small sand dollar found off the coast of Destin, Florida

Florida and Coastal Alabama is famous for its sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. When you think of beaches in Destin, what comes to mind first? Probably white sand beaches with palm trees, sunsets, and dolphins. But have you ever encountered a sand dollar? If not, then you haven't truly experienced all that the Gulf Coast is offering. You don't have to look too far to find sand dollars in Destin; all you need are a few simple tips to know where to look. In this blog post, we'll show you how to do just that.

The Best Time to Look for Sand Dollars

If you want to find sand dollars, the best time to search is during low tide. At low tide, sand dollars are revealed on the surface of the ocean floor. Usually, low tide occurs twice a day- once in the morning and once in the evening. Check with the local tide schedules to find out when the best time of day is.

a free diver holding on to a paddle board looking for sand dollars
Looking for sand dollars using a paddle board

Locate the Right Area

Most sand dollars are found in shallow waters around the second sand bar. You can easily spot them within a few seconds by looking straight down from the surface of the water with a diving mask. Sand Dollars are brown in color (when they are alive) and you can easily spot them against the white sand of the Gulf of Mexico. Sand Dollars can typically be found a few minutes from the shore. Because they are located on the second sand bar, a good tip is to use a paddle board and hold on to it as you search the ground below you. You can swim with one arm on the paddle board while you look for sand dollars on the sea floor below you. A paddle board offers a place to rest if you get tired. It also gives you something to set the sand dollar on to examine it, once you bring it to the surface. We offer paddle board rentals at Silver Dunes, Blue Mountain Beach Condominiums, The Beach Club, and Palacio Condominiums. Make sure you stop by and rent one on your next vacation to one of these locations!

A free diver pulling a sand dollar from under the sand in Destin.
Diving for sand dollars on the Gulf Coast.

The Secrets to Finding Sand Dollars in Destin, Gulf Shores and Perdido Key

The key to finding sand dollars is patience and a sharp eye. The water is typically around 8-10 feet deep where sand dollars hang out, so be prepared to dive at least that deep when diving for them. But! Remember when handling them to make sure you handle them gently. Sand Dollars are living creatures and are really cool! But, you should only retrieve them to look at them, then put them back where you found them.

Pulling a sand dollar from the floor of the Gulf.
Examining a sand dollar on the Gulf floor.

Know the Local Regulations

Sand dollars are a vital part of the ocean's ecosystem. Although, Destin does not restrict their harvesting it is important to treat them with care. We do not recommend harvesting a living sand dollar. A simple reminder is to not take anything other than shells and sand home with you.

A free diver holding a sand dollar at the surface.
A free diver holding a sand dollar in the Gulf waters.

Leave Them in the Gulf

Living sand dollars are fascinating creatures. These marine animals play an important role in their ecosystem as they help to clean up the ocean floor by feeding on small particles and detritus. While you may be tempted to take living sand dollars as souvenirs or for decoration, it is important to leave these creatures in their natural habitat. When sand dollars are removed from the water, they are removed from their food source and their natural environment. This can lead to stress and even death for the sand dollar. Additionally, removing live sand dollars disrupts the balance of the ecosystem, which can have negative effects on other marine life. These creatures help to keep our Gulf waters clean; so make sure they stay where they are.

A diver putting a sand dollar back in the sand in the Gulf of Mexico
Putting the sand dollar back where it was found.

In conclusion, finding sand dollars in Destin can add an extra element of fun to your beach vacation and make for a great personal keepsake. With these five tips, you can find sand dollars easily and ethically. It's important to enjoy the beauty of the sand dollar without disturbing the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf Coast. Now go out and have some fun in the sun!

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