Beachcombing: About the journey, not the treasure

Feb 10, 2016 | Archive

Beachcombing is a bit like treasure hunting – you never know what you might find. And that’s part of the fun!

With miles of traversable coastline, Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula offers a treasure trove of
beachcombing possibilities. Find flotsam, jetsam, lagan and more. Driftwood is also a common site, and one that local artists often transform into timeless treasures.

Japanese flotsam has been especially prevalent in the years following the 2011 earthquake off the coast of Japan, which resulted in a powerful tsunami. Glass fishing floats, barnacle-covered boats and other tsunami debris still sometimes finds its way across the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the Long Beach Peninsula.

Stories in the Sand

And there’s more to beachcombing than just what you find in the sand. 

Seattle-based oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer recommends looking for wave-deposited items just beyond the water’s high-tide mark. Removing manmade objects like glass floats, sea glass or maritime debris can be akin to beach cleaning, but removing natural items like sand dollars and kelp is discouraged.

Thankfully, most of us carry camera-equipped phones in our pockets or purses.

“If you find something, it’s best you don’t disturb it and just take a photo,” Ebbesmeyer told OutdoorsNW. “Don’t expect to come back the next day and find that treasure in the same spot because it will have disappeared.”

Be sure to tag your online photos with #LBPbeachcombing so we can see what you’ve found!

And remember that removing items from state parks is illegal.

Coastal tide pools can contain their own treasures, but these are for eyes only. Starfish, urchins and sea cucumbers can be found around Beard’s Hollow near Seaview on the edge of Cape Disappointment State Park, and they should not be disturbed.

Beachcombing under a Roof

How about taking your beachcombing indoors? Wait, what – beachcombing indoors? That’s right! Many Peninsula antique stores offer vintage and modern fishing floats, repurposed driftwood art, maritime artifacts and more. Marsh’s Free Museum in downtown Long Beach is always worth a look, and Hobo Junction specializes in coastal finds!

Remember that beachcombing is as much about the journey as it is about the treasure. Even if you return home empty handed, your heart and mind will be richer and fuller from the experience.

Plan Your Trip

Start planning your trip by finding the perfect place to stay!

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