Best Beaches in the U.S.A. for Treasure Hunting



Are you a treasure hunter?  Do you love the beach?  Do you want to make a little extra cash?

Well then, sifting through the sands and sometimes the waters at your favourite beaches in the United States of America, can be fun and very rewarding.

beach treasure hunting

Let’s see what these 5 U.S. beaches have to offer.

#1 – Sanibel Island, FL

The beaches on Sanibel are barrier islands, orienting from east to west, which results in beautiful sandy beaches and tons of unique shells.

sanibel island florida

Sanibel Island beaches have won awards for shell collecting and people continue to visit the island to escape the nasty windy storms of the north.

You have a choice on this island.

  • Bowman’s Beach
  • Lighthouse Beach Park
  • Turner Beach

Bowman’s Beach

is a popular beach for beachcombers.  If you love a variety of seashells by the seashore, this is a must visit beach for you.

Bowman's Beach on Sanibel Is. Florida

This long wide beach has showers, change rooms, parking for handicapped, picnic tables, barbecues, telephones, nature trails, and boating, but most of all great shells!

Instead of the shells drifting past the island, the “east to west” orientation puts them right in front of you on the beach.  If you’re an avid treasure hunter, get yourself a great flashlight and strike the beach before dawn.  The endless shell treasures will be waiting for you .

shells at Bowman's beach Sanibel Is. Florida

Lighthouse Beach Park

has an historic functioning lighthouse on the beach.

Lighthouse Beach Park Sanibel Is. Florida

This is the site of an historic functioning lighthouse.  This unique beach is on the eastern tip of Sanibel, and it wraps its way around to the bay.   The fishing pier and a boardwalk nature trail, wind through the wetlands.

It also is well stocked and ready to make your stay convenient.  There are restrooms, shower, handicapped parking, free bike rack, and 24 hour paid parking ($5/hr).

Lighthouse Beach Park shells

Bring sunscreen, a hat, water, and something to carry the wonderful shells back home.  Oh! Don’t forget water shoes.  There are so many shells, you must have something on your feet.

Turner Beach

is located just across the bridge from Sanibel on Captivia Island.

Turner Beach Florida

Turner Beach is on the south tip of Captiva Island.  The swimming is great in some areas, but, be careful near the bridge!

The currents and undertows can be strong.  The fishing is great!  Find the rock jetty.  Again, the shelling is the best, but if you’re still there at sunset, look to the Gulf of Mexico horizon for a moment.

The colors are a magnificent treasure all of their own.

Yes there are bars and restaurants, but, we suggest you pack a picnic and become a real beachcomber.  You never know.  You might even be sitting on a buried treasure.

#2 – Calvert Cliffs State Park Maryland

If you like beautiful scenery, rocky coloured cliffs, lots of different rocks on the beach, and maybe an ancient shark’s tooth fossil, then you must visit this serene little beach on Chesapeake Bay called Calvert.

Attention Fossil Hunters!  You might want to camp overnight and hike the Red Trail.  Keep your eyes down because this is the place to be if you love treasure hunting.

It’s not so good for babies and small tots because of the uneven earth below your feet, but the rocks, shark’s teeth, eagles and turtles, will make up for that.

Your search for Miocene-era shark’s teeth, snails, clams and oyster shells might bring you to this beach but, the vibrant sea glass, arrowheads and other human made objects, will take you back to ancient times.

Hopefully, you will be lucky and find at least one treasure that you can show to your friends back home.

#3 – Ocracoke Island North Carolina

If you’re into collecting olives, sand dollars, whelks, baby’s ears and cowries, you are going to love treasure hunting here.

ocracoke island beach

Ocracoke Island is a charming gem of a place for treasure seekers, and very unique.  It is only accessible by boat and once there, you will feel separated from the rest of the world.

There are 15 miles of undeveloped and rarely visited beaches.   Fishing, shelling and surfing are Ocracoke’s hidden jewels.  An ocean swim and shelling on a deserted beach will make you feel like you are very lucky and special.

You might chose to access the island with your own boat, or maybe use one of the almost free State ferries.  Either way, it is worth the trip!

Ocracoke island Hatterras ferry

You might want to hunt the beaches of the northern part of the island, or travel to the village in the south.

Most of the island’s landscape is wild and barren.  Lots of wide open spaces are there for you to enjoy, with sea oat covered ocean dunes and patches of maritime forests and marshes, always keeping you safe from commercialism.

There is some public parking areas, and a campground.  If you have your own plane, there is a small air strip too.  Ocracoke Island is wild and wonderful and perfect for treasure hunting.

Oh!  I forgot!  Here is a sample of a possible accommodation option for you.

ocracoke vacation rentals-hero

Dr. Beach believes that Ocracoke island’s beaches are the best!

#4 – Glass Beach Mendocino Coast California

Glass Beach Mendocino Ca.

If sea glass is your thing, head straight for Glass Beach in Mendocino Ca.   We know many many people love to walk the beaches of the world and look for salt water bathed gems of glass.

These amazing treasure hunters can spot the smallest tiniest piece of glass among all the rocks that wash ashore with the glass.

Local people in places like Fort Bragg, a very long time ago, used the ocean for their garbage dump.  They tossed lots of glass objects and a variety of treasures into the deep.

Mother Nature was not happy with this practice so She tossed and turned the human objects, and eventually they wound up on the beach in Mendocino.  Multiple, shimmering colors covering every inch of sand awaits the glass collectors.

The tide pools at this beach make the adventure even more interesting.  Let’s not forget the sunshine and warm Pacific breezes that add to the search.

If you’ve packed your car or purchased your plane ticket to California, STOP!

It is illegal to remove any glass from Glass Beach.   The beach is easy to find but remember, it is a broken glass beach.  Maybe it isn’t the best place for your children.

There is a path to the beach from the parking spot on Glass Beach Road which is a couple blocks west of Highway 1.

There are more trails on the bluff to hike just in case you want to walk to a beach outside the State Park boundary.

Maybe then you will find glass you can stuff in your bags and pockets to take home.

#5 – Shipwreck Beach Lanai Hawaii

Shipwrecked Beach

We left this beach for last because we know all you treasure hunters will want to go to Shipwreck Beach in Hawaii first.  Oh yah!  This beach is so famous, people go there to paint it and forget all about the treasures lurking about.

Shipwreck Beach is a very popular beach, located in Poipu Kauii.  It got its name from an old wooden ship which sank off the coast years ago.  Don’t bother looking for the ship because it has sunk out of sight forever.

Yes you can swim, surf, boogie board here and maybe even jump off a cliff.  But remember why you came. TREASURES!!!

The trade winds and swift currents regularly expose the treasures from the past.  Japan sends Hawaii shells, corals, and blown glass, but you never know.  Maybe you might find some real jewels from the deep here.

Some people will do anything to find a treasure!


About the author: Robert is a former teacher and travel buff, and has spent the last 30 years travelling to different parts of the world including all over North America, South America, Africa, and Europe.  He loves trying new cultural cuisine, zip-lining through the Amazon jungle, and his cat, Twyla-Mae.

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