10 Beachcombing Tips

Our top 10 beachcombing tips, beachcombing can be a great family activity and can keep everyone active and enjoying themselves for hours.

beachcombing photo

Here are Coast Radar’s top 10 beachcombing tips to make your time as a beachcomber even more enjoyable:

  1. What to take.
    Here is a list of some items you may want to remember so you’re prepared:
    – footwear – you may well end up covering some distance and climbing over rocks so think about suitable footwear
    – sun lotion – you are on the coast so even an overcast day with a breeze can burn you
    – a bag for your goodies – something to store all those treasures you will find
    – camera – you get some great family moments so make sure you can record them
    – snacks – beachcombing can be hungry work
  2. When to go.
    You will need to plan your trip as the best search locations are typically found in the 2 to 3 hours either side of low tide. This is when all the rock pools become accessible. Our UK beach information pages have the high and low tides for the current day.
  3. Where to go
    You can go just about anywhere but the better locations are those away from the crowds and the smaller bay coves are hidden away on the coastal paths. See our Beachcombing Best Spots post for some location ideas.
  4. Be careful
    You need to be aware of your surroundings:
    – keep an idea on the tide so that you can get off the beach as it comes in
    – rocks can be loose and unstable
    – not only treasures but also rubbish can be washed up
    – again keep an eye on the effects of the sun
  5. Leave it how you found it
    We all love the beach but we always say that you should always leave it better than you found it. Check out our Leave Only Footprints coastwear on Coast Radar Clothing:
    Leave only footprint women's hoodie
    Also, you are in a natural setting where animals live and so be aware that if you move a rock you may well be disturbing the habitat of an animal so after you have looked just put it back in place.
  6. Manage expectations
    Young children can be excited but remember not everyone finds a treasure like Captain Jack Sparrow! It is best to also include some fun games into your trip, sandcastle building, I Spy with my little eye, hide and seek, tag,…
  7. Be aware of the weather
    This is a big one in that any day at the coast needs to consider the weather. A summer clear blue sky will obviously offer sunburn opportunities but likewise, an overcast breezy day can also be of an equal concern, just remember it is easy to protect with a bit of sun lotion. Beachcombing is also great on the windier, less sunny days as some exciting items can be washed up in the heavy surf.
  8. Be aware of what you take
    Yes, you are combing but only take what you really need. Have a bag to store all those finds but always remember you are in a natural habitat.
  9. Treasures can be cleaned
    When you get back to your holiday cottage you will soon find out that those treasures can smell. You can easily clean them by boiling them in water, even better if you have some bleach and you can use 1 part water and 1 part bleach.
  10. Enjoy your trip
    Last but by no means least Enjoy Your Trip!
    A good family beach trip combing the rock pools can provide everlasting family moments and the treasure found will keep those memories for years to come.

What to look for

beachcombing photo

Shells – there are so many shells to find on the beaches around the UK coast.
Stones – a lot of UK beaches have pebbles and rocks and some interesting shapes can be found. For example, a small smooth polished rock with a hole can make a great candle holder.
Driftwood – small pieces of wood can be interesting shapes. Why not make this a competition to see which family member finds the most interesting shape.
Sea Glass – coloured glass smoothed from the sand and surf, are a wonderful find.
Miscellaneous – who knows what you may find on your treasure walk. One of my best finds was an old crabbing pot covered in barnacles. This is a great feature in our garden but I have to admit with hindsight that it was a heavy pain to get back to the car.

You don’t need any special equipment but for the more serious the United Kingdom Geologists Equipment (UKGE) website sells fossil-collecting starter packs, including specimen bags, tweezers and chisels.

Photos by Ingrid TaylarJoybot cc, PS_pause cc

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