What type of beachcomber are you?

beachcomber barbie

Just like the huge variety of treasures that wash upon the shores of the world, there are many different types of beachcombers. We all share a connection to the bounties of the shoreline, but that connection isn’t necessarily identical. You may be on the hunt for colorful pieces of sea glass, navigating rocks to secure that mysterious fossil, or just scanning the wrack line for anything that catches your eye.

barbie and ken as beachcombers

No two beachcombers are alike, of course, but there are some distinct types within our beachcombing community. So read up, think hard, and let us know—what type of beachcomber are you? Take the poll at bit.ly/beachtypes.

kinds of beachcombers and beachcombing finds

You’re a magpie if…

You are called to the shore for one thing: colorful, irresistible treasures. Though you do enjoy finding a unique rock or shell, or a smooth shard of pottery, you love nothing more than the wave-worn shapes and bursting color of sea glass. You enter a state of ecstasy when you spot a marble or an orange, red, or pink piece of glass. You always say you have too many green pieces, but you come back from the beach with a couple handfuls anyway. Your nest is filled to the brim with these colorful beauties, and you love nothing more than to share them with your loved ones (even if they may be a bit frightened by your hoard).

You’re a naturalist if…

You can’t get enough of things related to the wonderful creatures found near the shore. You get a rush when you find seashells, shark teeth, sea stars, and egg cases. You’re drawn to the strange or creepy critters that live on the shoreline and will carefully return stranded or displaced live animals to the water. You can’t get enough of bustling tide pools near your favorite shores, and even use binoculars to see the life brimming in deeper water. You love learning about the animals found near the beach. Your camera is pretty much filled with photos of shells, sprinkled with shots of critters you found on the shore and dolphins frolicking in the waves.

You’re a hunter if…

You have an eye for the prehistoric. Like the naturalist, you are most interested in the wave-worn remnants of the natural world. But you have your eyes set a bit further back. Nothing gets you more excited than finding a remarkable fossil, beautiful agates, Yooperlites, Cape May diamonds, or Petoskey stones. Sure you’ll pick up marbles and slag glass, but you’re more interested in beaches with unique natural treasures, and will travel long distances to seek them out. You’re on the beach in all weather, at sunrise and sunset, and keep your camera handy—after all, many of the best natural treasures on the shores are too big to take home.

different types of beachcombers

You’re a historian if…

You are beckoned by the treasures of mankind. You are drawn to the remnants of the past, especially bits of culture from our ancestors. You’re most excited by finding a tool, a coin, a sherd of pottery, a piece of jewelry—anything that you can research and investigate. You love researching the origins of the key or knife you found, collaborating online with other history enthusiasts. You find your treasures on all kinds of beaches—along oceans, seas, rivers, and even inland in ancient dumps, privies, and ancient farm fields. Your dream is to find and donate a significant find to a museum, contributing to the collective knowledge of our history.

You’re a scavenger if…

You are fascinated by remnants of human and industrial history. Man-made objects and pieces of the past call to you, but you might be more interested in a glass bead from a mid-century lamp than you are a piece of pottery from the first century. Urban landscapes, dumps, and former industrial hotspots are your go-to locations, as the bounty of discarded treasures there is often overwhelming. You love to search in beaches and areas near cities, which are filled with all kinds of oddities. Some may think your collection is strange or that you seem to collect only the weirdest stuff you find. But you don’t mind, because one person’s trash is your treasure.

You’re a wanderer if…

You love visiting new beaches, making memories, discovering somewhere completely new—and checking out what’s on the beach. If someone tells you about a beachcombing spot they loved, you add it to your bucket list of beach destinations. You go on retreats, invite your friends to travel with you, or head out on your own to explore. Your next travel destination is likely hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Your beach bag is always packed, and you’re ready to bring it home jammed with beach finds. Your camera is filled with photos of sunset-painted beaches and the wonderful people you meet on your beach adventures.

beachcombing finds miniature

You’re a siren if…

You love absolutely everything the beach has to offer. You don’t care if it’s a piece of sea glass, a Frozen Charlotte doll, a lovely shell, a wonky piece of driftwood, a mysterious fossil, a cool rock, or a toy left on the beach a few weeks ago. Everything that washes up on the shore has its own unique presence and story, and it’s coming home with you. Though your grotto sometimes looks like a lost and found, you wouldn’t have it any other way. You are interested in so many beach treasures that you have no trouble at all connecting with every other beachcomber you meet on the shore, rejoicing with them over the treasures they find as much as you do yours.

What type of beachcomber are you? Let us know at bit.ly/beachtypes or in the comments below.

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Volume 40 January/February 2024.


Also a Siren, the other half is always nagging at me for “bringing home more rocks and crap from the beach”, joking that I’m going to build a house with them all 😄

Jess December 31, 2023

I’m definitely a siren!! I love everything about the beach and it’s definitely my therapy/happy place.
Tracy 🩷🟢⚪️🌴

Tracy Lingle December 31, 2023

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