Our family has participated in both the Folly Beach Adventure and the Edisto Beach Adventure, we’re looking forward to doing the Fossil Kayaking Adventure one day soon when my youngest is 10 years old! (minimum age for a half-day tour)
If you have young school-aged children in your family (elementary age) I would recommend the Folly Beach Adventure, as the fossil-hunting begins just a quick few steps from the meeting area in front of the Tides Hotel.
The Edisto Beach Adventure requires a one-mile walk to the best spot for fossil hunting, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Charleston South Carolina Fossil Sites
Folly Beach is a 12 square mile beach town. It is the closest beach to downtown Charleston, known for it’s surfing and laid back vibe.
It is also a great place to find shark teeth, including those from the great white shark! As CFA’s most popular adventure, it’s the best site for shark teeth from the Miocene and Pliocene Epochs.
Your group will meet between the Tides hotel and Folly Beach Fishing Pier and after a brief introduction and informational session from Ashby, you’ll be off to find your treasures!
Among the fossils, you may find those of bull sharks, lemon sharks, and sand tiger sharks and occasional Megalodon fragments can be found! What’s great about Folly Beach is that there are tons of family-friendly things to do in town and several restaurants and shops close by.
Edisto Beach is a favored destination among Roadschooling families as well as RV’ers and anyone who enjoys the outdoors and the ocean!
Fossil hunting on Edisto with Charleston Fossil Adventures can include such treasures from land animals from the end of the last Ice Age, think mammals, turtles, rays, and sharks. This adventure requires a 1.4 beach walk and is worth every step, just be aware, the South Carolina sun is hot and little ones can get cranky, fast!
For a change of pace, Charleston Fossil Adventures also offers a kayaking river adventures. They are available in either half-day or three-quarter day increments or a freshwater half-day option.
The half-day option is for families with children over 10 years old and is for beginner kayakers.
If your family includes experienced paddlers that are over age 16, opt for the longer day, six-mile adventure, or if you prefer to see what the freshwater offers in terms of fossils, try paddling the river in 3-feet of water where the hunt may yield teeth from the Oligocene Epoch!
Explore With a Paleontologist no Fossil Hunting Permit Required
Ashby Gale will be your tour guide on your Lowcountry fossil adventure. As an Interpretive Ranger for the Edisto State Park, he works closely with Ice Age fossils found along the shores of Edisto.
Both times we’ve attended one of Mr. Ash’s fossil hunts, we’ve found him to be engaging and informative. His scientific background shines through on these outings.
His passion for what he does is evident from the start of the adventure to the very end! And if you’re looking for an informative and helpful guidebook to beach fossils, Ashby’s book, A Beachcombers Guide to Fossils is a fantastic resource!
Mr. Ash begins each tour with a brief but thorough introduction to who he is and what a paleontologist does. He clears up any misconceptions people may have about the Ice Age or fossils in general.
Fossil Hunting for Homeschooling Families
Charleston Fossil Hunting for Homeschooling Family Adventures
Mr. Gale explains to the students, what exactly they’re looking for and why they may find it in the area. He also spends an incredible amount of time working with the kids identifying their treasures for them.
Ashby helps kids properly identify the fossils they find. He also offers background information and does quite a bit of teaching along the way. Of course, children are free to keep any treasures they’ve found! He’s the authority on South Carolina fossil identification so you won’t be disappointed adventuring with him for the day.
Ashby has often discovered a rare fossil that he has happily donated to the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston. A fossil hunting experience when visiting Charleston is great for families with or without children.
There’s always something to learn, regardless of how old we are! We would highly recommend anyone. Roadschooling families, in particular, should make an effort to try to spend a day with Ashby!
If you’re considering heading out on a beach fossil hunting trip with your family, whether here in Charleston, or somewhere else, it’s important to know what to bring on your trip. That’s why I’ve created this fun Beach Fossil Hunting Checklist that helps you pack for a fun-filled day of exploring!
Download the Beach Fossil Hunt Packing Checklist so you’re never
without everything you need for the best fossil hunting trip ever!