The Ultimate Beginning Beachcombers Guide

Are you a regular beach-goer and are already pretty versed when it comes to beachcombing? Or are you new to the term and are wondering what the heck we’re talking about? Either way, we’re about to give you the low down on all things beachcombing.

Starting from the definition of this peaceful activity and going all around to the best places to do it, you’ll feel like a pro after reading this cumulative guide for beachcombers. Get ready to feel like you’ve just been transported to the warm sands of Florida and are ready to find some beach treasures.

First up, what in the world is beachcombing, and why do people love it? If you’ve been asking these questions, then keep reading. 

What Is Beachcombing?

Beachcombing is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. To put it simply, beachcombing is the art of “combing” the beach in search of any treasures you can find. Maybe not real treasure, but you get the point. Beachcombers will do this in hopes of finding anything that stands out to them.

There are some pretty amazing things that get washed up onto the shores, and we’ve seen this first hand. If you’re someone who likes long walks on the beach and is a huge fan of finding little surprises along the way (who isn’t a fan of that?), then this is definitely going to be your new favorite beach activity.

Does this sound like something you’d like? Honestly, we can’t think of a better way to spend a beach day. You’ll be able to stay active and get your steps in in an exceptionally peaceful way, and you might even walk away with something really interesting that you otherwise wouldn’t have found.

If that wasn’t reason enough to get into beachcombing, we’ve got more reasons you should get into it.

Why Get Into Beachcombing?

Who doesn’t want to dig in and reach their inner child by roaming the shores in hopes of finding something cool? While that’s one of the bigger reasons for people to get into beachcombing, there are some other reasons, too.

Something we love is that you can actually start beachcombing in order to find trash instead of treasures, in order to keep our beaches cleaner. With that being said, here are some main reasons to get into beachcombing.

  • Finding peace: This may or may not be a more obvious reason for people to pick up this hobby. If you haven’t thought about it already, beachcombing is the perfect opportunity to shut the rest of the world off and focus solely on the waves and the walk.
  • Treasure hunting: As we mentioned, beachcombing allows you to find some really neat treasures, like little gifts from the ocean! You’ll get the chance to pick up some incredible shells, beach glass, driftwood, or beach stones. Keep your eye out for whole shells depending on the time of day you head out.
  • Keeping it clean: A lot of beachcombers will take the opportunity to pick up trash along the beach as they go, because why not? This is great and keeps our beaches clean and safe. Whether or not you volunteer with an organization to pick up trash, you’ll be helping out a lot.
  • Social time: Looking for a moment to chat and catch up? Beachcombing is the perfect time to get together with your friends and/or family. You’ll have no distractions, except for when you find something cool to ogle after, of course. Use this time to be intentional with phones off. Enjoy the chitchat! 

Some History Behind Beachcombing

Believe it or not, beachcombing is far from a newfound hobby. In fact, it dates back to when humans would search the sea and sand for natural resources they needed in their daily life. You’ll even note that among some tropical islands today, children will still participate in beachcombing in order to earn some money for the family.

Beachcombing has always been a way to find some unique pieces of sea treasure and is also a fun way to learn something new about the environment. Remember when you were a kid and would do anything to dig things up and learn about them?

Beachcombing has also been used for research for a while. It’s a great way to learn more about tide patterns, currents, ecosystems, and the ocean in general. Who would have thought?

Know Before You Go

Yes, there are some rules to keep in mind when you go searching the sand for goodies! Read on to learn all you need to know regarding the rules of beachcombing so that you can be sure to keep yourself and the beach safe.

No Killing

You might think this goes without saying, but it’s an important reminder if you come in contact with living creatures, including things like fish, crabs, and even sand dollars. We like to go by the rules of no killing, harming, or taking of living things. This ensures that the food chain and ecosystems stay intact.

Check Before You Take

If you happen to find something and you’re questioning whether or not you should leave it behind, do a little looking to make sure if you should take it with you or not. For instance, you may find something that looks like there’s nothing living in sight, but often creatures will use human-made objects in their home, and we don’t want to disturb that.

Take Out the Trash

A rule that isn’t exactly hard and fast, but is super appreciated, is to take whatever trash you find along the way as you comb the sand. As we all know, there’s always some trash on the beach, and we want to eliminate that as much as we can.

Public Only

Lastly, it’s important to make sure what you’re taking with you is free game and isn’t a part of somebody’s private property. There are rules regarding taking any natural objects from anywhere, private or not, so it’s best to double-check the laws about what you can and can’t collect.

Safety First

As with any activity on the beach or in the water, there are some basic safety precautions to take in order to keep yourself and others happy and healthy. Watch out for sharp bottles, glass, and shells, and keep your eye out for jellyfish that have washed up.

Depending on when you’re out and for how long, it’s safe to keep an eye on the tides and currents if you’re going for a refreshing dip. Wildlife at the beach is everywhere, and it’s best to keep your distance. It’s common to run into things like jellyfish, small sharks, fish, and even seals. Animals will do anything to defend themselves, their families, and their homes, so it’s best to leave them be.

It’s always fun to include the dog or kids in your beach activities, but it’s extra important to make sure they’re safe. Watch them closely and make sure they’re aware of their surroundings. Also, bring a small first aid kit with you, and wear appropriate footwear and sunscreen.

Be Prepared: Bag and Clothing Essentials

As far as what you should pack in your backpack or beach bag, we’ve got you covered. There are some things that we say are necessary, and some that aren’t essential for beachcombing but would definitely make it a little bit easier. Check out this short list of bag essentials.

  • Sand sifter
  • Mesh, waterproof bag for your treasures
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bandaids (just in case)
  • Camera 

While all of those are great to keep with you, there are also some clothing pieces that we would call essential! You may need a sun hat or a sweatshirt depending on when you’re out. Let’s take a look.

  • Sun hat
  • Protective footwear
  • Swimsuit
  • Swimsuit cover-up
  • Swim shorts for comfort
  • Sweatshirt for chilly days or evenings
  • Beach towel (for sitting or as an extra layer)

Feel more prepared now? You’ve got the essentials down to make sure you pack with you for your next beachcombing outing. Above all else, bring what makes you feel comfortable, confident, and prepared to search the beach.

Things You Could Find While Beachcombing

Interested in what we’re all here for? We wanted to get you extra excited and inspired to go out to do some beachcombing for yourself by sharing some items you could possibly find while you’re out. Scroll a little more to read about just some of the amazing things you could find on the shores.

  • Seashells: Maybe a given, but there are so many incredible, jaw-dropping seashells to look out for on Florida’s shores. Wherever you go you’ll find shells, but we think Florida’s are pretty special. Watch for special shells such as Olive Shells, Whelks, Fighting Conchs, and Sand Dollars. 
  • Sea glass: Sea glass is beautiful and can be found in a wide range of colors and shapes. Since sea glass is organically found, none will be the same. You could see sea glass in different colors, too, like purple, blue, amber, or yellow.
  • Shark teeth: Have you ever found a shark tooth on the beach? These are a hit, especially among younger kids who think they’re the coolest. It’s possible to find shark teeth of all kinds while combing.

Start Beachcombing Today 

You can probably tell by now that at Maxine, we’re fans of beachcombing and all it entails. It’s such a fun and unique hobby to take up, and it's perfect for all ages. Gear up and head out to the shores to see what you can find.

We’re sure you’re going to love beachcombing as much as we do if you haven’t grown to love it already. Make sure your suit is comfortable and stay out until you find something interesting.

See you on the shores!


How to Go Beachcombing | Trip Savvy 

Beachcombing Tips and Tricks | Chesapeake Family

What Is Beachcombing? | WorldAtlas