At the very southern end of the Georgia coast, not far from Jacksonville and Amelia Island, there lies a hidden treasure.
Its name? Cumberland Island.
This barrier island is an absolutely fascinating place to visit, with miles of unspoiled beaches, gorgeous trails, wild horses, and more to explore.
Cumberland Island is protected land and almost completely undeveloped. You can only get there by boat, and there are no restaurants or stores, and just a single inn.
That makes it a perfect place to hunt for shark teeth and other fossils!
Let’s talk all about everything you need to know about hunting for shark teeth in Cumberland Island, Georgia.
Cumberland Island is one of the best beaches for shark teeth in the country (and even the world!), wild 17 miles of undeveloped and undisturbed beaches famous for housing shells, fossils, and teeth. Fortunate visitors have found teeth from bonnetheads, great whites, and even megalodons here — be sure to check at the base of sand mounds and along the sand-graded roads for the best finds.
Let’s learn more about the types of shark teeth on Cumberland Island and how to find them!
Where & How to Find Shark Teeth on Cumberland Island
Since Cumberland Island, Georgia is so isolated and unspoiled, there’s hardly a bad place to look for fossils!
As an undeveloped barrier island, storms and currents wash tons of shells and other material up onto the beach, where it usually stays until it can be found by beachcombers.
With 17 miles of beach, you could walk for hours and discover plenty of shark teeth right on the surface of the sand.
Digging a little bit at the edge of sand banks and dunes is another great way to uncover fossils.
(If you’re timing your visit specifically for the best chance of finding large shark teeth, wait until just after a big storm passes through.)
You can even find shark teeth along the main “roads” on the island, which are graded with sand dredged from the Cumberland Sound and East River — sand that’s full of shells, fossils, and shark teeth.
If you can find sand reserves they store for building and repairing the roads (depending on when you go, they may be used up), you’re bound to find plenty of fossilized shark teeth there as well!
According to the National Park Service, visitors to Cumberland Island are allowed to take unoccupied seashells and fossilized shark teeth from the beach. Other plants and artifacts must remain on the island before you leave.
Unfortunately, unlike some other popular beachcombing locations, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way or organized shark teeth tours or charters.
You’ll have to hop on the Cumberland Ferry in St. Mary’s or take a private boat to begin your self-guided journey.
Types of Shark Teeth and Fossils You Might Find on Cumberland Island
So — you’ve made it to Cumberland Island via ferry, and you’ve brought your bucket and shovel, so you’re all set for a shark tooth hunt.
What can you expect to find hidden in the sands here?
Shells, fossils, and teeth wash up from all over the ocean and East River here, so you never know what you might find.
But here are a few types of shark teeth commonly discovered on Cumberland Island.
The grand daddy of all shark teeth, this is what almost everyone’s hoping to find when they go shark tooth hunting!
Megalodons are ancestors of the Great White shark — massive, dinosaur-sized sharks similar in size to the hulking whale sharks of today.
Their teeth are actually quite common and have been found on almost every continent in the world.
Large specimens can be up to 7 inches long, though it’s more common to find much smaller ones.
Short of finding a Megalodon tooth, it would be pretty cool to find a large Great White Shark tooth, right?
Well, at Cumberland Island, you just might!
Great Whites have been known to roam the waters in and around Cumberland (but don’t worry, there’s never been a confirmed shark attack here), so finding their teeth definitely isn’t out of the question.
Great White teeth can be up to 6 inches long or so, and you’ll recognize their sharp triangle shape and serrated edges.
Another shark common to the Cumberland Island area is the bonnethead.
These are smaller sharks with an extremely unique shape, almost like a miniature hammerhead.
Their teeth are unique as well, with a dramatic angling and flat sides.
Bonnethead teeth are small, usually less than an inch long, but are quite common to find on Georgia islands!
That’s just a smattering of shark teeth types you might find on Cumberland Island. Visitors also report finding teeth from:
- Sand tiger sharks
- Lemon sharks
- Grey sharks
- Tiger sharks
- And many more species
There’s really no telling, which is what makes hunting for shark teeth on Cumberland Island such an adventure.
Collect as much as you can and you’ll have a blast identifying all of the fossils later on.
Though Cumberland Island is isolated and undeveloped, it’s one of the most famous and popular beaches for shark teeth in the entire world.
But don’t worry — seeing as you can only reach it by 45-minute ferry or private boat, you won’t find the island too crowded! There are tons of shells, fossils, and shark teeth left on the beach, completely undisturbed, for visitors to find.
And that’s just the start of your visit. Be sure to check out the island’s ruins, wild horses, and beautiful trails.
For more, see:
Hope this helps!