Florida has many rivers and places to fossil hunt. Our favorite place is the Peace River,located in southwest Forida.
  The river always yeilds nice specimens of shark teeth,including  Megalodon,various mammal fossils,Bison,Camel,Giant Land tortoise,mammoth,mastodon,Glyptodont,Giant Armadillo,Dugong,fossil sea shells,stingray barbs and mouthplates ,Giant Ground Sloth,fossil coral,and the list goes on.
  There are many campgrounds,and public areas along the way,many of which rent canoes.Although you really do not need to rent a canoe,you can just wade in the water with a screen and shovel and have at it.
  Florida requires a fossil permit and it is suggested that you read up on the laws and obtain a permit before you go venture out on your own .

Mark Renz is the authior of "Fossiling In Florida : A Guide For Diggers And Divers" , " MEGALODON Hunting the Hunter" and "Giants In The Storm"

These three books,are a must have for anyone interested in fossiling in Florida. They contain tons of information as well as photo's and illustrations . Mark gears his books toward the novice as well as the expierienced fossil hunter . You will find these books to  contain valuable referance material as well as easy reading.
Writer, (left) pictured with Mark Renz,(right) relaxing after comming back from a very educational , relaxing and productive fossil hunt . .

SCREENING        Screening for fossils is a popular method for finding fossils in rivers and 
                               streams. A wood frame with a hardware cloth bottom and float devices
                               attatched works well. I have seen many screen designs,sizes and shapes,
                               right down to pasta strainers to kids beach toys.

   Depending on the time of year,the river water level varies. During the rainy season,the river is higher then during the dry season. It all depends on the rain.Here in Florida we have not recieved much rain,and i fossil hunted most of  last year. Here is a link to check water levels in various rivers and counties throughout Florida.

Digging the bottom and
placing a few shovels full
into the screen ...
Shake the screen to release the sand
and sediment,sort through the rest
and look for  "Peace River Gold",
your fossils ...

Florida's Fossils: Guide to Location, Identification, and Enjoyment , Revised Edition 1996
by Robin C. Brown Illustrated by with paintings by Christopher Kreider

Florida is one of the finest places to hunt fossils in North America. For 50 million years Florida was home to hordes of strange and wonderful animals. Their remains accumulated in rivers, springs, and oceans. Today fossilized bones and teeth wash up along streams, banks, and beaches and lie in limerock quarries. This book tells how and where to hunt fossils -- with maps. means of identification, and the history of these fossil treasures. Complete, accurate, and fully illustrated, it includes an outstanding identification section and three original paintings by Christopher Kreider.


Florida has gained the title of being one of the richest fossil areas in the world,with fossils dating back 50  million years.During this time,Florida sea level rose and fell many times.Land and sea animals lived and died,therefore their remains were burried in sediment where fossilization process occured. This is why both land and sea animal fossils can often be found in the same place.Since Florida lacks volcanoes and earthquakes,many of the fossils have been left undisturbed only to be uncovered due to river currants,and river water levels which always take a little of the banks at high levels,replenishing the river with more fossils.
A great discovery was made in 1881 by Capt.Francis LeBaron of the US Army Corps of Engineers,while he was examining the lower Peace River area for the survey of a canal that would connect the headwaters of the St.Johns River to Charlotte Harbor.There he found and shipped to the Smithsonian nine prehistoric specimens which had a phosphatase quality to them.This material (phosphate) proved valuable and later contributed to the Phosphate mining boom of the late 1800's.
"Knowing Mark Renz for over two years,i can't say enough about him. His heart is bigger then any of the fossils he has donated to the Florida Museum Of Natural History in Gainesville. I would like to thank him for writing his books so others may share in his vast knowledge of our ancient Florida past."