(252) 261-6664

Beachcombing on the Outer Banks

Have you ever been to the beach in the Outer Banks and see people walking around with their heads down, bent over and picking up objects from the sand or walking for miles scouring for shell beds? If so, then you have seen beachcombers. Actively looking or searching for stuff on the beach is what a beachcomber does. Whether they are looking for a perfectly intact scotch bonnet or a beautiful blue piece of sea glass, you will find beachcombers who are just browsing or possibly looking for something in particular.

Where to Beachcomb on the Outer Banks

Beachcombers tend to have their favorite spots to search or know the right time to check out the beach. Shell beds can be found while on a beach walk and visited multiple times before the ocean calls it home. Going a couple of hours before the low tide is a great time to check out the beach as you may find items washed up before the high tide comes back to claim them. Though you can comb the beach all year, the best time is in the fall or winter. That is typically when the Outer Banks will have the nor’easters or strong winds that wash up all kinds of treasures from the ocean. Also, keep in mind that items can often be found between the shoreline up to the dunes, especially when a high tide has come up that far.

OBX Beachcombing Supplies

Some beachcombers take supplies when they go on their treasure hunt. Sand dippers are useful for reaching into the water without getting wet. They can also be used to sift through the sand. Sand dippers can be purchased at many local beach shops in the Outer Banks. A bag is also crucial, as it can be used to store your finds. Any type of bag will do whether it is plastic, canvas, or mesh. Trash is often found while on the hunt so it may be a good idea to bring two bags, one for treasures and one for trash.

Outer Banks Treasures

The Outer Banks is known as a place to find sea glass. Sea glass comes in many shapes, colors, sizes, and conditions. Some sea glass is weathered and soft while other pieces are shiny and smooth. Some beachcombers find sea glass that is not yet done and will toss it back to the sea. Treasures discovered will vary. Besides sea glass, you could find anything from driftwood to whelk shells to marine debris. The Graveyard of the Atlantic is off the Outer Banks coast. Many items from the numerous shipwrecks have washed ashore and been found. Rare and beautiful shells can be found but be sure to check that they are not inhabited. Marine life can also be found. If you come across a stranded, entangled, or injured marine mammal please call 252-455-9654 to report it.

While on the hunt for treasures from the ocean, it is important to be safe. Always bring sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun. If anything questionable washes up, for example, an old World War II mine, then contact the local authorities. Please remember not to walk over the dunes as they are fragile and protect the coast.

Once you’ve brought your bounty home, clean your treasures and set them out to dry. Depending on your finds, you can put them on display in your home or use them to create a work of art. Beachcombing can be a toss-up, you might not find anything or you could come home with loads of treasures but either way, you will enjoy a peaceful walk.