Fossil Hunting in the South Carolina Lowcountry – Fun for the Whole Family Charleston SC

Have you ever wished you could spend a day fossil hunting around the beaches of Charleston, searching for megalodon shark tooth or fossilized shell to add to your collection?  

Charleston Fossil Adventures (CFA) founded by paleontologist, Ashby Gale, offers a family-friendly outdoor experience and educational fossil hunts on Charleston area beaches.

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 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.

That said, both beaches are beautiful and have their benefits.

Child hunting fossils with Paleontologist on a Charleston Beach
Fossil Hunting on a Charleston Beach

Choose Your Own Charleston Fossil Hunt Adventure

Folly Beach Adventure: 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 Adventure:  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, sharks, horses and more!

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!  


Fossil Hunting Lowcountry Rivers:  For a change of pace, Charleston Fossil Adventures also offers a kayaking river adventures in either half-day or three-quarter day increments, as well as 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 milie 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!

Fossil Hunt with a Paleontologist

Ashby Gale will be your tour guide on your lowcountry fossil adventure.  He is an Interpretive Ranger for the Edisto State Park and 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 very hands-on with all of the kids.  His scientific background shines through and his passion for what he does is evident from the start of the adventure to the very end!

He begins each tour with a brief but thorough introduction to who he is, what a paleontologist does and clears up any misconceptions people may have about the Ice Age or fossils in general.

Fossilized Wormwood Charleston SC Fossil Hunting
Fossilized Wormwood Fossil Hunting Charleston SC

As homeschoolers, we appreciate the format of his tours in that they include information up front and then the hands-on aspect as the kids go out and find their own fossils.

He illustrates to them, what exactly they’re looking for and why they may find it and also spends an incredible amount of time working with the kids identifying their treasures for them. 

Mr. Ash encourages kids to come to him on the beach, as they find fossils so he can properly identify them and give them some background information.  Of course, children are free to keep any treasure’s they’ve found!  

This tour 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 visiting Charleston, to make an effort to try to spend a day with Ashby!

Please take a minute to enjoy a few clips from our most recent tour with Charleston Fossil Adventures!

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