Where Do I Find Sand Dollars?

You’ll find the occasional sand dollar up and down the area beaches. However, the mother lode can be found regularly on the northern part of Bonita Beach. Pay attention now…….here’s the tip. Drive north up Hickory Boulevard past Doc’s Beach House and start making note of  the Lee County beach access points which are numbered. The parking spots are very limited at these access points but, in a perfect world, you would find parking at Access #7 (if this fails, move up to #8 or #9 or resort to the bigger parking area at Access #10 and walk the beach going south). Walk the shallow water and move north towards the high rise beachfront condominiums. Timing is everything so, here’s the second part of the equation……..go at low tide. Otherwise, you won’t find the sand dollars and you won’t even notice the sand bar that runs along the beach where they get trapped. How do you know when it’s low tide? The slick and techy way is to load the tide application (it’s free) onto your smart phone. You can pick your favorite locations to find out the tides to the minute. You’ll want ‘Little Hickory Island’ for this location and make it a favorite so you can check back easily. The not-so-slick-and-techy method but, still reliable, is to stop at Master Bait & Tackle at the corner of Bonita Beach Road and West Ave. on your way to the beach. They have free monthly tide charts that the fishermen use.

When you find one sand dollar on this section of beach, there will be many more nearby. On several occasions, we have found nearly 100 during one session of hunting. Here are a few more words of wisdom for collecting sand dollars:

  • Wade in the ankle to knee deep water along the sand bar that you’ll notice running parallel with the beach.
  • Watch where you walk. They crush easily under your foot.
  • They won’t all be sitting totally exposed so, keep your eye out for just the very top of the crowned portion barely sticking above the sand. Gently put a finger under the edge and lift.
  • Do NOT carry them in a plastic bag. By the time you get back to the car, you’ll have a bag full of rubble. Gently stack them in the palm of your hand until you need to start lining them on edge along your arm. Best to put them flat somewhere in the car until you get home, too.
  • They will bleach out by themselves with some time.
  • People offer different tips like brushing them with Elmer’s Glue to preserve them. You can find techniques with a Google search. We prefer “au natural”.
  • If a sand dollar is dark in color and has fuzz on it, it’s alive. Don’t take it. It’s against the law.

If you get there and find an abundance of sand dollars, be generous and send a tweet to ‘365inNaplesFL‘ so a few others can enjoy this treat. Believe me, there are enough sand dollars to go around for everyone. Happy hunting!

Sand Dollars found on Bonita Beach

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Comments

  1. Chris says

    This is way too funny. My wife and I stayed in Naples and found a sand dollar. The next day we thought we’d head north to find more. We did exactly as you say here..parked at Access #7 and even took a picture at Master Bait and Tackle. We found a few sand dollars but later around 11am. Now for the funny part. We did all of this before finding these exact instructions on sand dollars and somehow did it perfect.

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  2. Kat Ford says

    Hello, I found this article on my phone while staying in Bonita Beach this weekend, ironically enough the home we rented was only 2 places up from beach access 7! Me, my girlfriend, my two kids and my niece all went out at low tide (8am) and it was freezing, but well worth it. We found over 100 sand dollars in less than an hour! I wanted to thank you for the article as we were right in the spot but didn’t know until I read it. The water was freezing of course, but well worth it and I wanted to thank you!

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  3. Julia says

    Morning or afternoon low tide for finding sand dollars?

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    • Tim says

      Julia – For finding sand dollars, it doesn’t matter which low tide but you’ll need daylight, for sure! We have had the best luck for sand dollars between Access #8 and Access #10 along Bonita Beach – there are sandbars just off the beach which are perfect to find sand dollars. Also, as you walk south along Barefoot Beach you will find sand dollars as you get closer to Wiggins Pass. Put a free tide chart app on your smart phone and let us know how you do!

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