Myrtle Beach is the “jewel of South Carolina” and the hub of a 60-mile string of beaches known as the Grand Strand.
Every year, millions of people flock to the area which is known for its temperate climate and golden beaches.
Some people come to soak up the sun and the southern hospitality, but others come with a more specific goal in mind.
For example, hunting shells and shark teeth is a popular pursuit on the Grand Strand.
Every year, new treasures are discovered and last year was no exception. In August 2021, a five-year-old boy vacationing with his family found a large megalodon tooth on North Myrtle Beach, proving there is treasure there if you know where to look.
Few visitors are lucky enough to find a megalodon tooth, but hardly anyone goes home empty-handed.
Finding shark teeth along the Grand Strand is almost as easy as buying one at the local gift shop. All it takes is a little patience and perseverance.
Of course, a few tips never go amiss, especially not when it comes to finding shark teeth. Local experts strike gold all the time because they know where to look.
They also keep an eye on the tides so they can arrive at their designated location at the perfect time.
The tips we will share have been gathered from numerous expert sources. We hope that, by reading it, you’ll stand a better chance of finding a really awesome specimen, whether that’s a giant megalodon tooth, a million-year-old tooth from the predatory great white, or a selection of smaller teeth from modern-day species like the lemon shark.
6 Tips to Find Shark Teeth on Myrtle Beach
#1 Check the Tides
On most beaches, it’s easier to find shark’s teeth at low tide, but experts say this part of South Carolina is slightly different. Rather than heading there when the tide is out, the best time to find shark’s teeth is when the tide rolls in.
If you aim to get to your chosen location at low tide, you might see sharks’ teeth rolling in on the tide, especially if you look for them where the waves break onto the shore.
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Some dedicated shark tooth hunters even find treasures at high tide, as the waves here don’t usually get very high.
Be sure to avoid the high tide at full moon, however, as this is higher than usual and could cover most of the available sand, making the hunt for shark’s teeth all the more challenging.
Before you embark on your search, make sure to check the tide times, as this could have a significant impact on the success of your hunt.
#2 Choose your location
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Most shark’s teeth are found in central Myrtle Beach, between 50th Avenue North and 10th Avenue South. Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet are also good places to look.
In the North Myrtle Beach area, the best places to look include the Cherry Grove Beach area and the section between 22nd Avenue North and 54th Avenue North where a beach renourishment project is currently underway.
If you’re on the main beach, focus your search on the tide line where shell beds accumulate. As the waves wash over these beds so they disturb the contents, bringing new treasures to light.
On North Myrtle Beach, check areas recently dredged as this brings buried sediment to the surface and could hold the secret to finding shark’s teeth.
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This area is not only known for its shells and sharks’ teeth but also for its spectacular selection of sea glass.
So keep your eyes peeled, and you could end up with a nice collection of pretty shells as well as a handful of shark teeth.
Tide pools are another good place to look as these, like the shell beds, tend to accumulate treasures as the water washes through them.
#3 Stay Focused
It can be easy to get distracted by shiny shells and colorful bits of sea glass, but what you’re looking for is anything black with a glossy shine.
Most of the teeth in the area are fossilized. However, unlike modern-day specimens, these are black rather than white and appear shiny after their exposure to water.
Fossilized shark teeth are usually triangular with serrated edges and a distinct gum line. They are also sharply pointed and appear much more angular than the other gems you’ll find in the sand.
#4 Leave the Crowds Behind
Searching for treasure in the same places as everyone else limits your chances of a really good find. You may have more luck hunting in more remote areas, further away from the most popular spots.
Pawleys Island tends to be a lot quieter than the main beaches and has a good selection of high-quality shark teeth, especially if you start your search close to the inlet to the north of the island.
#5 Identify your Shark Tooth Treasures
Finding shark teeth is only the first part of your journey of discovery, and identifying your finds takes you deeper into the past and furthers your understanding of the natural world.
Many of the teeth that wash onto shore belong to the more common species found along the Eastern seaboard. These include the ferocious bull shark, traditional tiger sharks, lemon sharks, and great whites.
Some useful shark tooth identification guides are available online, but you can also pick them up at various seaside shops throughout South Carolina.
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Many of the teeth found in the area are from sharks that went extinct millions of years ago. These include the famous megalodon and several mackerel shark species.
#6 Get Kitted Out
You can have a successful shark-tooth hunt without any expensive equipment or prior experience, but there are a few tools that could make your hunt more rewarding.
Sunglasses, for example, can combat the glare of the sun on the waves and make it easier to spot the shiny black triangles you’re searching for.
Although you can just use your hands to scoop up and sift through the sand, a sieve, small net, or Florida snow plow makes the process much easier and increases your chances of success.
A pair of water shoes also makes walking over shell beds more comfortable, so you can continue your search for a lot longer than you might barefoot.
Best Time to Find Sharks Teeth at Myrtle Beach
This section of the South Carolina coast is a popular vacation destination that attracts over 20 million visitors each year. June through to August is the area’s peak season, with July being “the busiest month of the year, with an occupancy rate of 92%.”
Although the water’s warm and the sun inevitably shining, this isn’t the best time for shark tooth or shell hunting.
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With so many people around, finding enough space to hunt for shells and sharks’ teeth can be challenging.
The area is much quieter during fall and winter, making it more suitable for shark tooth hunting. Temperatures remain moderate and rarely drop below 60℉, even in mid-winter.
The water temperature is cool but warm enough to paddle in, which is all you really need when hunting for shark’s teeth.
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Head to South Carolina in the off-season, keep an eye on the tide times, and you stand a good chance of going home with some exceptional specimens.
Common Shark Teeth You Can Find at Myrtle Beach
The most common sharks that Myrtle Beach is famous for include those from modern-day and extinct species.
You can expect to find specimens from common species like bull sharks, blacktip, spinner, and tiger sharks.
Megalodon teeth are also relatively common simply because these enormous sharks produced so many of them.
Scientists believe that these 50-foot monsters had around 276 teeth packed into their 9-foot-long jaws.
With an estimated global population of around ~700,000 to 1.5 million, that would mean well over four billion teeth are waiting to be discovered!
Can You Find Megalodon Teeth on Myrtle Beach?
People find megalodon teeth on Myrtle Beach every year.
Last year, local resident Tina Farley found one in a swash near Beach Cove Resort on North Myrtle Beach just a month after five-year-old Xander Buck discovered one at nearby Ocean Creek Resort.
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While not as common as some other species, megalodon teeth turn up frequently enough to make hunting for them worth your while.
How to Tell if a Shark Tooth is Real
So many shark teeth are found in this area that some people have speculated that they were dumped there to promote tourism.
This isn’t true, and the chances of finding a fake tooth in amongst the sand and shells are extremely slim.
The only place you’re likely to find fake shark teeth in Myrtle Beach is in the local seaside stores.
Fake teeth tend to be perfect, lacking the chips, grooves, and other imperfections that real teeth accumulate.
These teeth are often bright white because they’re made of porcelain or plastic and are warm to the touch.
Real shark teeth are cold when you touch them, more commonly black rather than white.
If you do find a modern-day shark tooth, it will be off-white because it hasn’t had the chance to fossilize yet, but it won’t be as sparklingly clean as a fake tooth.
Other than Venice Beach, Florida, there are few other places in the world as famous for shark teeth as Myrtle Beach.
You can find high-quality specimens without any prior experience or equipment. All you really need is patience and a sharp eye.
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By applying the tips we’ve shared here, however, your search could prove all the more pleasurable and rewarding.
So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself over to Myrtle Beach and see if you won’t be the next lucky person to uncover a giant megalodon tooth!
Nicky is a British adventurer and animal lover who spends her time exploring the natural world and writing about her experiences. Whether on horseback, underwater, running, hiking or just standing with a fishing rod in hand, she embraces everything her adopted home of South Africa has to offer.