May 24, 2018
Walking on the beach is undeniably one of the most relaxing activities. The sand between your toes, sunlight warming your skin, it all adds up to one of our favorite ways to enjoy the Outer Banks. And looking for treasures along the way can be incredibly rewarding. You can find a variety of shells and sea creatures washed up on Outer Banks beaches. Nestled amongst the whelks and starfish, you can even find sea glass. While sea glass might not be as easy to find as shells, following the tips and tricks below is a great place to start:
1. Plan to go an hour before or after low tide
You’re most likely to find sea glass if you plan your beachcombing explorations. Going before or after low tide is ideal, especially after nor’easters. Seasoned beachcombers will tell you that the winter months are an especially prime time to look.
2. Look for a “dirty” beach
We’re not talking about trash but a beach full of shell beds rather than smooth sand is going to be a more likely place to find sea glass. Take your time looking through shell beds along low and high tide lines, where there is the most ocean debris.
3. Don’t just walk in a straight line
This isn’t a sobriety test, walking in a straight line isn’t the best idea. Move in a zigzag route between the high and low tide lines. This way, you’re able to cover the most ground and up your chances of finding some sea glass.
4. Walk with the sun behind your back
This is entirely dependent on the season and time of day. Walking with the sun behind your back allows you to avoid straining your eyes while the sea glass will be highlighted in the sunlight. Go ahead and leave your sunglasses at home—they’ll make it harder to see the sea glass.
5. Look ahead, not down
Rather than looking straight down at the sand closest to your feet, keep your eyes focused a few feet ahead of your path.
6. Focus on shell beds
Remember when we said to look for a dirty beach? That’s because of a little thing called shell beds—those patches of shells and pieces of shells that typically pop up around low tide (and after storms). When you find one, search through layer by layer and keep your eyes peeled for sea glass.
7. Have patience
Training your eyes to find sea glass can take time. Be patient and move slowly, it’s entirely too easy to miss something when you’re rushing.
8. Aim to go in the morning
The thing about beachcombing is you’re most likely to find sea glass if you’re searching before everyone else. That’s why planning to come in the early morning (especially during a morning low tide) is a safe bet that you’ll beat the competition.
9. Remember which colors to keep on your radar
When you’re searching through shell beds, it’s easy to get distracted by vibrant purples and pinks. Train your brain to instead focus on the shades of sea glass.
10. Bring a bag or bucket
Help keep the beach beautiful while you’re at it—carry a bucket or reusable bag and collect any trash you come across during your search for sea glass.
Happy treasure hunting!