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Hunting for World-Class Fossils in Florida’s Peace River

Megalodon Tooth

Even though Florida has many rivers, the Peace River in the southwestern part of the state has gained extra popularity in fossil hunters due to the abundance of quality specimens that can be recovered.

This river has the fine species of camel, mastodon, shark teeth, mouth plates and plenty more.

Many fossil hunters use kayaks and canoes while others simply wade in the water use a shovel or a trowel.

For one to hunt fossils in Florida, it is mandatory to have a fossil hunting permit and recognize the legal guidelines before you begin your hunt. 


Best times to Hunt for Fossils


Springtime is normally the nice time to hunt fossils. March, April, and may are the low times of the year. For the best fossil hunting, water levels should be at least a little bit below normal levels. During sunny days, you may effortlessly see the bottom better; however this may not be suitable all times. At certain times when the water is clear and the days are sunny you can use a snorkel and recover some good finds.

Florida Fossil Hunting


Where to Find Fossils at the Peace River


The Peace River is abundant in fossils and they may be found just about anywhere. The stretch of river that flows through these towns is particularly productive:

  • Gardner
  • Arcadia
  • Brownsville
  • Zolfo Springs
  • These locations are famous because they produce good fossils and also have good access with a canoe or kayak. Anywhere downstream all the way to Charlotte Harbor will be productive.

    Many people search at the public boat ramps, but you’ll have better results if you get away from the crowds. With a kayak you may get to different locations in which the fossils haven’t been picked over. Don’t dig in the banks, simply look through the rocky sections and look for exposed fossils on the surface.

    Also Read: Metal Detecting in Florida – Coins, Relics & Buried Treasures

    And: Georgia Fossils and Crystals – Where to Start Your Hunt


    How to Locate the Fossils


    Anywhere with exploded banks during times of low water is good. Rocky sections are generally more productive.

    Surface finds are common, but snorkeling in the water can be a great way to find pieces that others will miss. You can also do some sifting in productive looking locations and recover fossils that are under the soil. You don’t need to get carried away here; just a small shovel or trowel and a small sifter is all you need.

    Shark Tooth ID


    Fossil Hunting Tools


    For the most part, fossil hunting is pretty simple and only requires a good set of eyes. However, as we have mentioned a good quality mask and snorkel might just be the ticket for locating quality fossils that are underwater.

    A simple fanny pack or small day pack is also a good idea so you can keep your finds safe. You can also keep simple things like snacks,sunscreen, and your permit handy.

    Consider buying a kayak or renting one to use for the day. They are relatively affordable and give you access to many more areas.


    Adventure on the Peace River



With the proper equipment, you’ll enjoy the hunt and have a good chance of finding a wide array of different fossil types. This is one of Florida’s premier fossil hunting destinations for the sheer abundance of fossils.

    Always be sure you have a current fossil hunting permit. Learn the laws governing fossil searching to be on the safe side of the law.

    Florida has received popularity because it has the richest fossil regions in the world with fossils dating back over 50 million years.

    In Florida, there was rise and fall of the ocean level regularly. Burying of the land and sea animals that died many years in the past in sediment leading to the prevalence of the fossilization process.

    The Peace River is one of the most favorable of fossil hunting sites. Every year erosion exposes new fossils which means there continues to be an abundant supply for collectors. There are no volcanoes and earthquakes in Florida, and hence the fossils continue to be undisturbed.

    Next: 4 of the Best Places to Find Fossils in Florida

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