Beachcombing Trip Checklist
By Kirsti Scott
We asked our beachcombing community for their help compiling the ultimate beach travel checklist. This list is extensive, and far too much if you’re just heading out for a day trip. But if you’re heading out on a vacation focused on beachcombing, you’re going to be glad you have many of these items along with you!
Comment below with your additions!
In addition to all the regular things you bring on a vacation, here are some extra packing items if you’re going on a beachcombing vacation. Of course, your list will depend on the weather where you’re going, what you’re collecting, and whether you are traveling by plane, train, boat, or car.
- Comfortable, sturdy, water-friendly hiking boots, or rubber boots.
- Sneakers or other alternate walking shoes.
- Water shoes or sandals with straps (not flip flops)
- Comfortable stretch pants
- A hat with a brim to shield your eyes from the sun.
- Waterproof jacket/raincoat
- A warm hat, scarf, long underwear, warm jacket, and gloves, mittens, or fingerless gloves for cold weather.
- Quick-dry long-sleeve shirts and pants/shorts for warm weather
- A bag for collecting beachcombing finds
- Small backpack or fanny pack
- Waterproof bag or pouch for phone, keys, etc.
- Reusable zip pouches or bags for sorting and packing
- Water bottle
- Bandana, small towel
- Printed tide schedule or app
- Hand rake, scoop, or sifter, depending on whether the beach is sandy or rocky
- Travel mug or candy container with a for small or delicate beach finds
- Small flashlight and/or UV flashlight
- Walking stick
- Bag to pick up trash
- Collapsible bag or duffel to bring home your laundry, purchases, and beach finds.
- Bucket, mesh bag, or colander for rinsing beach finds
- Liquid soap and powdered bleach
- Journal to record your favorite beaches and finds
- Cards or books to fidentify what you found
- Phone charger
- Back up battery for phone
- Camera and charger/cords
- International power converter
- Power strip with power outlets and USB ports
- Travel tripod
- Basic first aid supplies, including bandages and ibuprofen
- Wet wipes
- Contactless credit/debit card with the wifi symbol. Many buses and trains now use wifi-enabled cards instead of tickets.
- International Drivers Permit and US Driver’s License
- Insurance cards
Following are just some of the expert tips from beachcombers about long-distance and day trips to the beach.
Long-Distance Trip Reader Tips:
- Bring items from your beach or hometown to give as gifts to people you meet on your trip. The people you run into on the beach don’t necessarily have the same beach glass, seashells, fossils, and rocks that you have on your beach, so bring a few interesting representative items. Include a card with your contact information, a postcard from your area so they can see where you live, and maybe a snack or piece of candy from a shop in your hometown, all tucked in a small bag or envelope. (Marylou Forrest)
- Bring some clean plastic food containers from home plus paper towels. I use them to wrap and pack my finds so I can safely put them in my suitcase. If I’m staying in a rental house where I’ll be grocery shopping and preparing my own meals, then I just use the plastic containers from my stay to pack up my beach finds. The plastic provides good protection to delicate shells and other beach treasures. And it’s a good way to reuse your plastic containers, which are don’t add weight to your luggage. I’ve also used drink cups in the same way. (Laurie Silver)
- Don’t forget small containers for your tiny finds! I also bring something to hold delicate sand dollars. (@gulfcoastseabreeze)
- I take my tried and true mesh bag for all of my treasures and a gold panning sifter I bought in Colorado. Works great to find small pieces of sea glass, tiny shells and sharks teeth!! (@the_realsophiepugh)
- I have a small container on a lanyard that I wear around my neck to put my sea glass bits in. (@glorybdesign)
- I bring a walking stick with the sharp tips so I can poke shells out from between rocks at the jetty (@lisa.lepore.96)
- Wear beach jewelry — like a shell necklace or a sea glass ring — when you travel through an airport to show airline security why you’re bringing home a bunch of beach finds. Refer to them as “craft supplies” so they understand why you have them. (Kirsti Scott)
- I have to fly to get to the beach so I always bring different size baggies and bubble wrap to wrap my finds in my suitcase. I also have a big carryon tote for the super fragile/too treasured to pack items. (@beachglassdreams)
Beach Day Reader Tips:
- Cooler, ice, drinks (Bluebird Hardwater), seeds and nuts, water, and a large towel, which has many uses! (Kim Sears)
- Energy bars and protein drinks, plus lots of water! (Toni Boldy)
- Take a “kids” sand pail to carry the treasures — truly brings out the child spirit adding to the experience! (KC-Glass and Rock Art)
- Take baby powder. If you sprinkle it on your feet and legs and brush it off it will remove sand. (Fran Sullivan)
- Take a spare pair of shoes and a mini dustpan/brush to get all the excess sand if before getting in the car. (Stephanie Davis Carpenter)
- Coconut oil is great for removing tar off feet and kind on your skin and the sea and ocean-friendly liquid soap. (@echoesfromthesea)
- Bucket in car for all the wet or sandy shoes, clothes or finds. (@glasshunters88)
- I take an ice fishing sled to haul my driftwood treasures down the beach and a mesh cross-body bag for my beach glass and Petoskey stones. (@star11462)
- Bring an old toothbrush to get some of the gunk out of shells before they go in your car. (@giftsfromthesound)
Check out a list of what to wear and bring on beach day.
1-2 months before you go:
- 6-8 weeks or sooner at AAA International Drivers Permit and US Driver’s License
- Reschedule appointments so your calendar is clear
- Contact your cell phone provider if you want to have an international plan for your cell phone, especially if you use the phone for navigation or want to access your phone while you are on the beach.
- Research whether you will need a car where you are traveling or if you can get to the beaches on foot or via public transportation.
1 week before you go:
- Add a travel notice to alert your credit card company that you may be making charges from a different state or country.
- Pay your bills, especially the credit card you bring on your trip
- Stop your mail https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/
- Stop your newspaper deliveries
1 day before you go:
- Charge your phone, headphones, smart watch, backup batteries, etc.
- Make sure your car is filled if you’re driving to the beach
- Check your packing list and make sure you have your medications and any items that would be hard to replace where you are traveling
- Leave early enough to arrive on time. If you’re going to the airport, get to security two hours before departure for domestic flights, three hours before international flights. If you are driving, check your map app for traffic, construction, and other delays.
- Grab snacks and drinks in the airport or at a stop on your drive.
- Try to grab a few zzz’s if you’re not driving so you’re ready to hit the beach when you arrive.
Get help planning the perfect beachcombing trip and see more Sea Glass Hunting Tips from a Seasoned Sea Glass Hunter.
Have any other tips? Add them below in the comments!
Learn more about beachcombing gear
Recommendations for selecting the best beachcombing gear for your next trip to the beach. Articles ›
In the Maritimes beachcombing in the winter months is the best. Fewer beach combers and the sea glass can be more plentiful. Low tides and adventuring to the beach after a storm or storm surge can also provide you with beautiful sea glass treasures. The peacefullness of the waves and finding the sea glass is great for your mental health and general health. And the gifts from the ocean are the best.
I like to wear a hat for the sun instead of sunglasses so I don’t miss out on any good shiny finds!
Tip #3 – As a beach comber, we are on the front lines of the washed up monofilament fishing line and rope that ends up in the wrack lines we are searching through whilst hunting our treasures. This discarded fishing line and rope entangle birds and other marine life and cause much harm. EVERY serious beach comber should carry a multi-tool in their pack. You can cut line, free an entangled animal, and so many other uses. I always have Florida Wildlife Commission’s rescue number in my phone contacts too.
For local beachcombers that like to travel light – keep a small cooler in your vehicle so that when you get back from your beach combing jaunt, you will have something cold to drink waiting. But, my tip is this… in that cooler place a water-saturated wash cloth in a zip lock on the ice. When you return from the beach you will have an ice cold refresher to wipe your face, arms, and legs. Feels absolutely wonderful!
Tip #2 Instead of carrying multiple drinks in your pack while beach combing, carry water but bring packets of any sports drink to add to your water. Saves a ton of room, keeps the weight down so you can carry more shells, and you always have electrolytes for those super-hot days.
I bring a whistle. Many places I beachcomb don’t have reliable cellphone service so a whistle is a way to call out for help, if need be, that is louder than my voice alone. It has also been helpful when encountering animals that appear threatening.
Bubble bath – so you can take a long bath to soothe your aching body after you go beachcombing.
Foot soak – Bring a collapsible foot tub and some oils so you can pamper your tired feet, too!