See millions of years of history while beachcombing in San Francisco
When walking along San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, it’s nearly impossible to miss the sand dollars that dot the shoreline. At almost any time of day and tide, any season of the year, these white discs stretch as far as the eye can see: some cracked underfoot or broken in the Pacific waves, others still full and flawless with a flower-like pattern on top.
In such a densely populated, thoroughly developed city, there aren’t many places left that feel truly wild. But this salty Bay Area stretch known for roiling surf, epic vistas, and mercurial weather still manages to conjure edge-of-the-world vibes.
Like lots of people seeking fresh air and a restorative escape during the pandemic, I’ve been drawn to Ocean Beach. But as a lifelong beachcomber, I’m there looking down, not out, searching for treasures on the sand. Such a quest makes every visit to this living lab an exciting opportunity for an all-ages family adventure.
While sand dollars can be found along coasts around the United States, the seaside beaches near San Francisco are perfect places to take a deep dive into the fascinating history of one odd creature.
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