Some of the best places to rockhound in Florida include oceans, rivers, and other waterways. Many public and private lands are open to rockhounds with the right permits and/or permissions.

Here are examples of what you might find at certain locations:

Ruck’s Pit at Fort Drum Crystal Mine – Fossil Clam with Calcite
Florida CitySite/Location in Florida
VeniceVenice Beach, Caspersen, Venice Fishing Pier
DunedinHoneymoon Island (coral agates can be collected for free in the parking area)
Fort DrumRuck’s Pit at Fort Drum Crystal Mine
Tampa BayBallast Point Area OR Tampa Member of the Arcadia Formation
New Port RicheyGreen Key Beach, Pasco County
Tarpon SpringsAnclote River, Pinellas County, Gardner Boat Ramp; Charlie Creek
SuwaneeRuns across northwestern Florida

The Sunshine State is rich in rocks, minerals, and fossils – making it a rockhound’s dream. Keep reading to find enhanced lists and more specific details on rockhounding locations and what can be found where.

A permit is not required to rockhound on privately owned land, but permission is required. This extends to most fossils, minerals, rocks – and even human artifacts, in many cases. However, human burial sites should remain undisturbed.

Shark teeth collecting Venice Beach, FL

Always check with your local Bureau of Land Management office before embarking on a rockhounding adventure in any of these regions, as some specific areas may be off-limits. They will be able to tell you whether or not any specific region is not open to digging.

Public Lands Rights:

Your finds become an issue when it comes to public lands, although they may be a great place to dig. It all boils down to getting permission from the property holders in advance – like private properties. If you take something from an area without permission, there will likely be consequences, ranging from a warning to a heavy fine.

Although there are some legal hoops to jump through in order to collect in certain areas, it is worthwhile to check first and get a permit (it’s really inexpensive).

You can learn more about the requirements to obtain a fossil permit and how to apply on the Florida Museum of Natural History website. You can apply for the permit using the link. A permit is needed to collect all vertebrate fossils in Florida, excluding the collection of shark teeth.

Yes, there are many places to collect these tiny treasures, there are a few places that are almost always off-limits to rockhounding in Florida, and just about anywhere else.

Off-limits areas include:

  • National Parks
  • National Monuments
  • National Wildlife Refuges
  • Florida State Parks