How to find the elusive sand dollar on Anna Maria Island.

Sand dollar on beach

Sea cookies, snapper biscuits, sand cakes, pansy shells, or cake urchins. It doesn’t matter what you call them, we all want to leave the beach with at least one perfect specimen to add to our shell collection.


While many visitors come to Anna Maria Island for the ocean breeze, the turquoise water, and the sunshine, you can also add shell collection to the list. The Florida waters are home to thousands of different forms of sea life that wash up on our shores, but few are more sought after than the elusive sand dollar. They adorn frames, vases, candles, necklaces and so much more. It is often said that the sand dollar is worth more than the real dollar.

I find the best beaches on Anna Maria Island for sand dollars is Bean Point. With some good detective work you can find them on Bradenton Beach, Coquina Beach or Anna Maria City Beach and everywhere between.

Rule #1~ Know and love your tide chart. Sand dollars are often found just slightly beneath the mean low water line. In other words, the lowest level reached by the sea at low tide. They can be found on top, or just beneath the surface of the sand in those areas.

Rule #2~ Use your very best sleuthing skills. Scour the sand for round patches or depressions in the sand. The natural holes around petal shaped middle will allow sand to fall in, creating just a hint of a round depression.

Rule #3~ Gently dig to the very bottom of the natural piles of shells. When the shells aggregate on the shore there is usually at least one hiding in there somewhere.

Groups of live sandollars
And you thought your house was crowded!

Rule #4~ Look for the spare change. (That’s what my family calls the little broken pieces of sand dollars.) Living sand dollars love to hang out together. According to the brilliant folks at The Bishop Museum of Science and Art there can be as many as 600 in a single square yard. If you find a lot of broken pieces in the same place then look a little further out into the water. There just may be an intact sand dollar that hasn’t washed up yet.

Rule #5~ Never, EVER, take a live sand dollar (or anything else living for that matter) from the beach. There are many cities where it is illegal and the fines are substantial. The legality aside, it would be a poor environmental choice. The ocean is a very delicate ecosystem. The clear, clean water we enjoy is brought to you in part by the living sand dollars. Sand dollars feed on small food particles in the sand, typically microscopic algae and tiny fragments of other dead animals. You wouldn’t want to go body surfing in that! If the sand dollar still has spines and feet then gently place it back in the water.

Sand dollars can somewhat tricky to find, but that is why it is so exciting when you find one! Hopefully you learned a trick or two that will help you in your hunting. Worse case scenario~ you spent a great day at the beach!

Top 10 Things for Kids on Anna Maria Island

Top 10 Anna Maria Island Things To Do With Kids

Anna Maria Island Things To Do
Today’s blog is about the Top 10 Anna Maria Island Things To Do With Kids.  Essentially,  the best stuff to do on Anna Maria Island.  I’ve come up with a list of the best places to go & the greatest things to do while on your vacay on the island. It’s filled to the rim with mind-blowing fun for everyone, whether it’s mini-golfing or grabbing exotic ice cream – just read this list & choose one, some, or all of the activities to do during your summer, & it’s sure to be a blast.

Top 10 Must-Do’s of Your Summer on A.M.I:

1: Hang at Bayfront Park & have a picnic. This park is right on the beach  located on the north end of the island in Anna Maria & is sure to entertain everyone. They have a playground, covered eating areas, & grills for all of your needs

2: Go fishing off of the Rod & Reel or City Pier. Both located in Anna Maria on the north end of the island, these piers are sure to help you get some big fish. Buy your bait there or bring your own. You don’t even need a license. Just bring your gear to fish &    there’s always someone to help you out.

3: Bring your skateboard and visit Bradenton Riverwalk which is just 20 minutes into Bradenton, Florida.  For Anna Maria Island skating visit the Holmes Beach Skate Park.

4: Go for a round of mini-golfing at the Fish Hole on Bridge Street.  This place is located on the Historic Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach & is tons of fun. With 18 different holes each named after a different fish, fun history, & fish feeding, the Fish Hole is a great place for a post-beach activity.

5: Play volleyball or build a sand castle on the Public Beach. This place has two volleyball courts in the sand, a playground, a cafe right on the beach, & a lifeguard on duty. It also has an ice cream &  gift shop with all of your beach necessities.

6: Rent a kayak & explore the island waters. Many places on the island offer low-rate kayak renting prices with different styles & sizes, as well as the amount of time you can rent them. You can freely take your kayak out into the Gulf of Mexico & paddle along as you travel across the shore & see the sights.

7: Search for unique & pretty shells on the shore near you. On the A.M.I. beaches you can find endless different types of shells, clams, & coquinas in many different shapes & colors. Some of the shells have holes in them, perfect for making a necklace, bracelet, or other jewelry. This multi-purpose task is loads of fun for everyone.

8: Play soccer, football, or baseball at the Holmes Beach or Community Center fields. These places offer the free use of their fields. All you need to bring is your sports gear & a good time. This is a fun way to spend your time, especially if you like sports.

9: Walk down Pine Avenue & explore all the cool shops & attractions. Pine Avenue is known for its unique shops & historic sites. With many boutiques, eateries, & history, the activities are endless. The activities include bocche ball outside of the Olive Oil Outpost, small festivities in front of the Flip-Flop Shop & Candy Stop. The Flip-Flop Shop is also a must-do for kid island vacationers that love sweets & small treats. Yum!

10: Have fun & enjoy your stay on A.M.I. Pick a beach & bodysurf, swim, or soak up the sun. With all of these activities to do & more, you’ll have so much fun.

Just follow these steps and you’ll be guaranteed to enjoy your summer lots & lots. Stick around, because more Kid’s Korner is coming your way. Enjoy your summer!!!