The Joy of Beachcombing

By Jeff Bogle

Feb 14, 2024

Beachcombing is one of life’s simple pleasures, but what is beachcombing and how do you get started finding treasures along the seashore?

What is Beachcombing?

Because unique items wash ashore often, the joy of beachcombing is walking along the shore in search of driftwood, fossils, and rare artifacts such as sea glass, broken bits of pottery, and more. It’s one of the best family-friendly activities for kids because seashell collecting, identifying different types of shells and their origins, and tide pool exploration is so much fun. Beachcombing is one of life’s simple pleasures and is often defined as the process of “combing" (meaning, looking carefully) the beach and searching the seashore, looking for treasures for collecting or crafting, and finding various things that are of interest to you and your kids.


Beachcombing Methods, Tools, and Strategies

When it comes to the best beachcombing tips and tricks, here are our top three tips to keep you safe on the best beaches around the world for beachcombing and keep you scoring beautiful sea glass, rare artifacts, and more!

1) Beachcombing is an all-weather hobby because sometimes, the finest treasures arrive on the shoreline in the harshest conditions. So, head out in the rain as well as in the brilliant sunshine when the sea glass sparkles! Just remember to dress appropriately for the weather with the correct footwear for the occasion.

2) Be in tune with the tides! You never want to be caught out by the tides when fishing, and you especially do not want to do so when it comes to beachcombing for kids either. Check the tides on an app and stay safe to fully experience the joy of beachcombing. The best time to go beach combing is usually when the tide is going out, as agates and sea glass will be easier to spot on the wet, smooth sand.

3) Walk slowly and walk often! When it comes to seashell collecting, you need the same patience you employ while fishing from the beach. You’ll need repeated visits to your favorite seashore too! Oh, and don’t forget a bucket to collect and carry your treasures!

Beachcombing Events, Festivals, and Competitions

Check with your local beaches, organizations, and coastal communities to discover upcoming beachcombing events, festivals, and competitions. In addition, be sure to join in local beach clean events! Attending beachcombing events like beach cleanups is a great way to do beach conservation and work on preserving beaches with other like-minded people in your area. These events are not only great educational experiences related to beachcombing, they may yield remarkable finds that you can use in your beachcombing crafts back at home!

Whether you are into crocheting, soccer, movies, or fishing, every interest and hobby has a community of passionate people in and around it. Since beachcombing is one of life’s simple pleasures, there are many beachcombing groups online and in real life. When you get involved with online beachcombing groups, you can chat with other enthusiasts and share resources, tips, and tricks, and be well on your way to finding the best beachcombing spots near you or near where you will be vacationing soon.


Best Beaches Around the World for Beachcombing

Almost every beach will provide some good seashell collecting and the opportunity for identifying different types of shells and their origins. And driftwood is plentiful in many parts of the country too, but longtime beachcombers rank the sea glass beaches of Fort Bragg, California, the Gulf Coast beaches, Hanapepe Bay in Kauai, Hawaii, and the coastline of Scotland where old pottery can sometimes wash ashore, as the best beaches around the world for beachcombing. If you are wondering where to find prime beachcombing locations near you, a simple web search will give you results or you can inquire with a beachcombing group online to find options to discover the joy of beachcombing for yourself this year.

Whether you want to make beachcombing crafts using materials found on the beach or find the educational opportunities through tide pool exploration and seeing marine life in tide pools to be the most exciting part of the hobby, we think that once you get out there on the beach, you’ll quickly discover the joy of beachcombing as a colorful, peaceful, and fruitful activity to do solo or as a family.


Looking to add some time on the water to your time spent walking along the beach? Check out these off-the-beaten-path boating spots in the U.S.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion