Treasures of the Sea

Sea glass, and sharks teeth and sand dollars oh my!

Hunting for sea treasures takes time, a bit of luck, and some skill. Here are some tips to help you find the good stuff!
By Sue Paul, beach treasure hunter extraordinaire.

  Have you ever wondered why some people just seem to find the best seashells on the beach and all you can find are small, broken ones? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. We see lots of people strolling along the beach every day with their head down, focused on finding the perfect shell. They’re looking to bring home that perfect treasure, so they have something to remember their wonderful beach vacation. We do it, everybody does it. You arrive that first day with high expectations and can’t wait to hit the beach. But most people find a few pretty seashells and don’t find or really even look for the good stuff. I’m talking about sea glass and sharks teeth. Those treasures are right here on the beach too, you just have to know how to look for them. We thought we’d give you an insider’s guide for finding the best sea treasures.  

What treasures can you find here at Carolina Beach and Kure Beach? 

Like most beaches, you can find beautiful seashells lying right on the beach. All you have to do is spend a little time looking for them. But we also have other sea treasures too like sea glass, shark’s teeth, sand dollars, and starfish. Sea glass and sharks teeth can be found just about every day while the elusive sand dollars and starfish are much harder to fine. We’ve typically only seen those a few time a year, but we always look. First off, and most importantly, you’ll need to know when the best time to look for sea treasures. The absolute best time for finding sea treasures is the first low tide after a big storm. The sea churns up all the good stuff and deposits them on the beach during the high tide. The next best time is the first low tide after a full moon and the third-best time is at any low tide. In our experience it’s hard to find treasures during high tide since the beach is narrower.  


  Be careful, or you’ll get a stiff neck looking down all the time when you’re searching for sea treasures, remember to look up once in a while.
You will walk over more than your share of sharp seashells, so your feet might not be too happy.
You’ll get sunburn on the back of your neck so don’t forget the sunscreen!
Your friends will be green with envy when you show them your sea treasures!
You’ll have cherished sea treasure mementos for the rest of your life!  


For those of you who might not know, Sea glass is pieces of glass from broken bottles that have rolled/tumbled around in the ocean for years and years and now wash up on shore as beautiful pieces of frosted glass. The edges are soft, and smooth. They come in all different colors with brown being the most common. We have found beautiful pieces of green, turquoise, clear, and blue. Over the past few years we’ve collected hundreds of pieces of Sea glass and love looking for them. Our favorite stretch of beach to look is in Carolina Beach, the north end, from the 1000 block north toward the pier, but don’t tell anybody!

Sharks Teeth


Sharks have up to 15 rows of teeth and are constantly losing them.  Because they are continually replaced, they produce thousands of teeth in a lifetime. And because they are made of a hard material, they last a long. Long time. As they are usually small, and always black, people mistake them for a broken piece of seashell. But if you look closely you can see the serrated edge. That’s how you know. We’ve collected dozens of them (my cousin has tons – he’s a sharks’ teeth savant!). He mostly finds them on the beach by Ocean Dunes in Kure Beach and in the area just south of the Carolina Beach boardwalk.

Sand Dollars


Now these two treasures are harder to find, I’ve only seen them once or twice a year and typically around the Carolina Beach North End pier area. Again, low tide is the best time to find them. Keep in mind that starfish and sand dollars are living creatures so look and admire carefully but don’t bring them home!



What can we say about seashells, they’re everywhere on the beach! Again, low tide after a storm is the best time for finding the largest shells. We’ve also had good luck on the beach just south of the Fort Fisher State Recreation area. Everybody has their favorites, I like the colorful ones the best.