Celebrating the Richness of Paleontology through Fossil Hunting

Where to Find Fossils: Fossil Hunting Locations, directions, identification, how to tips, and fossil examples from each location.

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Fossil Hunting Locations:
Delaware: C and D Canal
Florida: Venice Beach
Florida: Peace River
Kentucky: Big Bone Lick
Fossil Park
(No Fossil Collecting)
Maryland: Calvert Cliffs
Maryland: Potomac River
New Jersey: Big Brook
New York: 18-Mile Creek/Penn Dixie
North Carolina: Aurora
Ohio: Fossil Park
Ohio: Caesar Creek
Pennsylvania: Ambridge
Pennsylvania: Mahantango
West Vriginia: Lost River
West Vriginia: Mahantango

Recommended Book:

Fossil Collecting in the Mid-Atlantic States

Ambridge, PA roadcut Calvert Cliffs of MD The shores of the Potomac, MD Fisher Lane Bone Bed (Muddy Creek) 18 Mile Creek (Lake Erie Cliffs) & Penn Dixie Paleontological Center Lost River quarry Mahantango Formation Mahantango Formation Chesapeake & Deleware Canal Lee Creek: PCS Mine Big Brook, NJ Venice Beach, Florida Peace River, Florida Fossil Park Caesar Creek Big Bone Lick Lowcountry of SC

List of Fossil Hunting Sites:

The author and host of this site bear no responsibility for injury sustained by those who visit the sites listed herein. This website is mearly a guide to fossil collecting.

Each fossil location includes directions, where to find the fossils, what type of fossils can be found there, fossil identification, how to hunt for the fossils, background information on the geology of the area, fossil hunting recommendations, and of course, lots of images and/or videos of the fossil hunting site and the fossils!

Go to the fossil hunting sites:

1. Clickable Fossil Hunting Locations Map

2. Browse Descriptions of Fossil Hunting Locations

Description of Fossil Hunting Locations:

Below are brief descriptions of some popular fossil hunting locations. For more information on each location, simply click on one of the images, it will take you to the main location page which is MUCH more detailed. The location pages include directions, fossil hunting tips, fossil identification, and much more!

Miocene Fossil Shark Teeth and other Marine Fossils can be found.
Fossils From Calvert Cliffs

Calvert Cliffs Fossils - Fossil Hunting Location

The Calvert Cliffs of Maryland contain one of the longest running, uninterrupted, Miocene exposures in the world. These cliffs run for approximately 24 miles along the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, Maryland. Fossils from these Miocene formations erode out of the cliffs and are easily found in the surf along the beaches.

One of the main fossil attractions at the Calvert Cliffs is the fossil shark teeth. These prehistoric remains of sharks are plentiful. Dozens of shark species can be found including the giant Megalodon shark! Besides for sharks, the cliffs have a diverse marine fauna, including many ancient cetaceans (whales and dolphins), and invertebrates, such as mollusks and other shells.

The Calvert Cliffs is a great spot to take your family fossil hunting. Most people find at least a few small fossil shark teeth along the Calvert beaches, and children love becoming paleontologists for the day!

Cretaceous Fossil Shark Teeth and other Marine Fossils can be found.
Fossils From Big Brook, New Jersey

Big Brook Fossils - Fossil Hunting Location

The Area of Central New Jersey has numerous creeks, or brooks, running through it. Many of these brooks, including the famous Big Brook, cut through Cretaceous Fossil bearing exposures. Fossils from these exposures erode out of the stream banks and accumulate in the stream beds.

Many sought after fossils include fossil Shark Teeth, such as the odd looking Crow Sharks and Goblin Sharks. Great Marine Reptile remains are also occasionally found. Many of these are Mosasaur fossils. The streams sometimes provide rare dinosaur fossils, such as Edmontosaurus teeth. Besides for the vertebrates, invertebrates are common, including shells and the interesting Belemnite fossils.

Paleocene Fossil Shark Teeth and other Marine Fossils can be found.
Fossils From the Potomac River

Potomac River Fossils - Fossil Hunting Location

Just south of D.C. are cliffs that run miles down the Potomac River. These cliffs are composed of very fossiliferous exposures contain many Neogene epochs. The most common epoch exposed is the Paleocene. The Paleocene fossils can be found mixed within the gravel banks along the shores of the Potomac. Fossils include prehistoric shark teeth, such as Otodus (The megalodon predecessor), Goblin sharks, Sand Tigers, and Pygmy White sharks (Paleocarcharodon). Fossil Crocodile material, usually teeth, are also found here. Common invertebrates include internal molds of Turitella gastropod shells.

The Potomac is a very scenic place to fossil hunt at. The remote shores are home to Osprey and Bald Eagles. If you are into kayaking, Mallows bay along the Potomac houses one of the world's largest ghost fleets.

Devonian Reef Fossils are found here. These include Trilobites, Brachiopods, and Corals.
Fossils From the Devonian of Western New York

Western New York Fossils - Fossil Hunting Location

New York is full of Fossils! Some of my favorite fossils from New York are from the Devonian exposures that are scattered throughout Western New York.

Although the Devonian exposures are too young to contain New York's state fossil, the Eurypterid, these Devonian fossil bearing formations contain the exquisite fossilized remains of a coral reef from when New York was near the equator.

The Devonian coral reef was much different than a coral reef today. The fauna was completely different. It contained Trilobites, Brachiopods, Tabulate Corals, Ammonites, and early fish. All of these can be found as fossils in Western New York, from the Lake Eerie cliffs near 18 mile creek to the Paleontological Park in Hamburg, NY.

The Paleontological outdoor center is an ideal and safe place to introduce children to fossils and fossil hunting!

Devonian Reef Fossils are found here. These include Trilobites, Brachiopods, and Corals.
Fossils From the Devonian of Ohio

Devonian of Ohio, Sylvania Fossils - Fossil Hunting Location

Ohio is well known for its Ordovician fossils such as the flexicalymene trilobites. However, North West Ohio, near Sylvania contains Devonian exposures that are similar to the ones found in Western New York. However, the fossils here are often slightly larger and the preservation is exquisite.

Prized fossils include Pyritized Eldredgeops (Phacops) Rana Trilobites (often found enrolled), and the plethora of finely preserved brachiopods, including the beautiful mucrospirifers. Often a single rock containing numerous specimens can be found.

Geologic clubs can sometimes enter the working mines in Ohio. However, there is a Fossil Park that everyone can fossil hunt at, even children!

Devonian Reef Fossils are found here. These include Trilobites, Brachiopods, and Corals.
Mahantango Formation Fossils, PA and WV

Middle Devonian of Pennsylvania and West Virginia - Fossil Hunting Location

The Mahantango is an incredibly large middle Devonian formation that runs from Pennsylvania down into West Virginia and virginia. It contains a diverse assemblage of fossils, similar to the Western New York fossils, and the Sylvania, Ohio fossils.

Although the preservation detail is impressive, the shale and siltstones are very fissile, and tend to fracture easily. However, with diligence, nice Eldredgeops (Phacops), Greenops, and even Dipleura trilobites can be found. There is also a plethora of beautifully preserved brachiopods, such as mucrospirifer.

Exposures pop up throughout Central PA and West Virginia. There are even two Parks in Pennsylvania that have the exposure present and allow fossil collecting. Go to the Mahantango page for more details.

Miocene Shark Fossils can be found here. These include Megalodon Shark Teeth!
Fossils From Venice Florida

Venice Beach, Florida - Fossil Hunting Location

Florida is a fossil treasure trove! One particular spot is Venice Beach, the "Shark Tooth Capital of the World". Here, along the beaches and just off the beach are Miocene to Pleistocene fossils. The huge Megalodon sharks are also found here!

Recommended Books on Fossil Hunting / Collecting

These are nice guide books on Fossil Hunting Locations. If you are looking for places to fossil hunt, I would recommend reading one of these books.

Fossil Collecting in the Mid-Atlantic States: With Localities, Collecting Tips, and Illustrations of More than 450 Fossil Specimens

This book is a classic! Although some of the fossil hunting site listed in this book no longer exist, it shows what fossils can be found in the same area. What makes this book a classic is Jasper Burns incredible sketches of the locations and the fossils found at each location. It is a very descriptive and useful guide book. Even after all these years, I still find myself referencing it!

Fossil Collecting Locations in this book are from Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware.

Roadside Geology Series Books

The Roadside Geology Series publishes a book for each state. These paperback books are a great resource. They are set up as a mile by mile guided tour of the state and include detailed maps, geologic cross sections, and wonderful illustrations. Every one of these books from the series have high reader reviews.

Although they don't go over specific fossil hunting locations, these relatively inexpensive books are great for understanding the geology of the area you fossil hunt. I recommend having a copy of your state that you fossil hunt in. I have books from this series on Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and have not been disappointed!

Discovering Fossils: How to Find and Identify Remains of the Prehistoric Past

I do not recommend this book for the seasoned fossil collector. This book is geared toward someone just getting into the hobby or someone with a casual interest in fossils and paleontology. It's a great stepping stone for new fossil collectors!

The book is well written, and contains all the basics. It has tips for new fossil collectors, shows how to excavate and prepare fossils. It also has a guide to different types of fossils and general fossil collecting areas.

If you are getting into this hobby, or just curious, this is an excellent resource!

Recommended Link:

The Fossil Project (myFOSSIL)
The Fossil Project also has resources for people looking for fossil hunting locations and information.