If you’ve ever taken a trip to Panama City Beach before, you’ll know that once the sun goes down, the flashlights come out. It’s easy to assume evening beach-goers are just taking a stroll along the beach, but if you look closely, many of them are searching for something.
As it turns out, a lot of people hunt for sea life on the beach, and small little creatures like crabs, sand fleas, and sand dollars show up and nighttime is the perfect time to catch them.
Ghost crabs make their way to the surface of the sand as the air cools off. The hot sun scorches the sand during the day, so the ghost crabs hide under the surface until the temperature has dropped enough for them to come out in search of food.
A little bit gross, but weirdly adorable, are sand fleas. My kids used to hunt for sand fleas during the day, but they’d have to go out a little further into the water to find them. These small little critters make their way closer to the shoreline during the evenings so you can catch them a little easier.
Sand dollars tend to wash up on shore as the tide changes, so you can sometimes come across a few that are intact. Shells are often washing up on shore when the tide is low.
Next time you’re in Panama City Beach, don’t be afraid to make your way out to the shoreline after sunset! You just might see some new wildlife or meet others trying to do the same.