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Beachcombing Basics: Best Tips for Summer Fun on the Shore

Updated on May 2, 2015

Beachcombing at its best!

You can't be afraid to get your toes wet!
You can't be afraid to get your toes wet! | Source

The excitement of beachcombing

Who can resist dipping their toes into the cool lapping shore on a hot summer’s day, or walking the edge of an ocean beach when the surf rolls onto the sand? If you are like me, you won’t refuse beachcombing when the call beckons.

There is a child-like magic to beachcombing. Perhaps it is the idea of finding treasure that appeals to us. Or, maybe it transforms us to days of long ago when pirates roamed the coasts and ships sank in stormy waters, which bring a hope that we will find something worthwhile.

Whatever our personal reasons beachcombing is an activity that completely engrosses us-mind, body, and spirit. For all of the obvious reasons, it is a physical activity: you have the walking, the bending, and perhaps even some climbing over sand dunes or rocks.

It is also, a mental activity-you decide where to comb, how long and when. Thus, it takes some planning-unless you are out for the day and are meandering along. Those moments of spontaneity are as enriching as any detailed plans. And, by relaxing into your project you are energized and your emotional battery is recharged.

Finally, it is a spiritual experience because there is an exchange occurring: your presence, as Anne Morrow Lindbergh so eloquently described in her book, Gift from the Sea, is receiving what the waters have brought to you…the lessons are yours to explore. It is this awe in the nature of things greater than oneself, and the mystery in its creation manifested in an assortment of sea treasures, which have always delighted me.

Grace's Treasure Discovery

A live starfish
A live starfish | Source

Beachcombing treasures

A display of shells and beach stones
A display of shells and beach stones | Source
Colorful stripes adorn the outside of these shells
Colorful stripes adorn the outside of these shells | Source
Beach stones create a sense of peace
Beach stones create a sense of peace | Source

What to look for:

Shells-there are so many shells to discover in the ocean beds and along the shores of fresh water lakes. There are books to explore in between the beach combing activities, which help to identify the different sea creatures: the mollusks, sea urchins, sponges, starfish, etc.

Stones-In Northern Michigan Petosky stones are a nice find for a display. Or, place a variety of stones of different shades together in a glass bowl.

Driftwood-this can be found along the shores of any coastline or lakeshore.

Sea Glass-colored glass, broken up and smoothed from the sand and surf, are a wonderful find. Many people turn these castoffs into beautiful pieces of jewelry or mosaic art displays.

Miscellaneous-who knows what you may find on your treasure walk. One friend recently shared that her husband discovered an old buoy on their romantic walk together and toted it home, barnacles and all. He later surprised her with it as a gift, cleaned and cleverly displaying several scenes of their seashore walk through the artwork of her sister.

Beautiful aquatic gems

Turquoise beach glass necklace and earrings on silver setting.
Turquoise beach glass necklace and earrings on silver setting. | Source
Pink cultured pearl in silver heartshaped cage.
Pink cultured pearl in silver heartshaped cage. | Source

Jewelry from aquatic treasures

At a very early age shells and stones have appealed to me-shells for the intricacy and fragility of their structure; stones for their strength. I have a seaside motif in my bathrooms, and collections of shells and stones throughout my home, which bring to me pleasant memories and relaxation.

My aquatic gem collection comes in the form of jewelry. I received a necklace and earring set of beach glass from my youngest daughter who bought it at a summer art show. It is turquoise blue in a silver setting. A second necklace from both daughters was a birthday gift: a pink cultured pearl in a silver open ball.

How to display your beachcombing finds:

1. Jewelry

2. Wreaths

3. Vases

4. Bases for lamps

5. Glass bowls

6. Shadow boxes

7. Jewelry boxes

8. As a single display

What to bring:

1. Sunglasses, sunscreen, protective clothing, such as a hat or sun visor.

2. Containers-two will do: one for trash and one for treasures.

3. Footwear-flip flops, while fun at the poolside, may get swept off your feet by rough water. I prefer beach shoes.

4. Camera-with a neck strap to keep it safe when you move around. If you encounter something that is not legally removable you can still remember it by photographing it.

5. Metal detector: for those treasure hounds that love this hobby.

6. A watch-optional of course.

7. A protein bar or other small easy to carry food item if you will be gone long-optional.

8. Water to keep hydrated.

Tips to enhance your beachcombing experience

1. Oceanside beachcombing will often bring up the best finds after a storm and when tides recede. Watch the weather reports and exercise caution if waters are still turbulent.

2. Go early-being the first on the beach allows you the pick of the crop.

3. Be prepared-have your equipment ready to go when you are. (see list of equipment)

4. Do not disturb the natural habitats of the sea creatures; endangered species; or eco-system.

5. Do not litter, and pick up trash that others have left behind.

6. Take only what you can easily carry and use…hoarding becomes a burden.

7. Treasures can be cleaned using one part water, one part bleach. Use a dental pick or water pick on barnacles and other hard to remove items.

In the end, the results of a day of beachcombing can be both relaxing and invigorating. What we bring home will be a joy to share in the sanctuary of our homes and take pleasure in for days to come. No matter how we choose to display or share our treasures they are sure to bring back happy memories of an adventure at the beach.

A job well done!

A good day of beachcombing brings satisfaction
A good day of beachcombing brings satisfaction | Source

Clearwater Beach, Florida, USA

Clearwater Beach, FL:
Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, FL, USA

get directions

Beachcombing along the shore of Clearwater Beach.


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