Collecting Beautiful Beach Sand

Recently I posted a picture of my beach sand collection on some social media sites because after my recent trip to Australia and New Zealand, I added 4 new beaches to it. Well, I was amazed at the feedback I received! Many of you asked to find out more about how I do this, particularly how I display them.

First, let me tell you what this collection is all about. You probably already know that I love the beach. As a marine biologist the ocean fascinates me, and the beach is a truly restful place for me. So many of my family’s trips over the years have been to beach-y locations.

When we were first married, my husband and I had very little extra funds for things like souvenirs. But I wanted to keep some kind of memento from places we had been. We were gifted (very generously) a trip to Barbados for our honeymoon, and one of the beaches there was made of pink sand.

It was so stunning to see, but the pictures didn’t do it justice. So I grabbed a handful of pink beach, put it in a small zippered sandwich bag, and brought it home. It stayed in that little bag for quite a while.

Because we live in Florida, we took a few trips to the beach the next summer. I noticed that the sand there was very different as compared to my Barbados pink sand. Thus, my collection started.

Now I needed a place to store the sand so I could see it. The perfect solution? Glass spice containers. I found a really inexpensive set at a thrift store, painted some of the caps different colors and filled them with sand. I added little tags to each bottle with the name of the beach, its location, and the date we visited.


As my collection grew, I wanted a better place to display it as compared to its current location on top of a bookshelf. The little wall shelves from IKEA were a perfect solution. They are narrow, inexpensive, easy to install, and come in different sizes.

My traveling has increased over the years – one reason is due to my children having grown and the other is due to my traveling to film for science DVDs and to speak at conferences. So my beach sand collection has grown even more.

It is amazing to see how different each beach is. Beaches are made by the materials either on land or in the water near them. The wind and waves churn and erode those materials until they become small particles. If there is very strong wave action, sometimes the tiny sand grains are washed away, leaving a rocky beach. Volcanic land can cause black sand beaches to form from the crushed up lava. Pink sand beaches are made from small bits of shells and corals in the area.

There are also purple, green, orange, and red beaches, depending on the minerals in the rocks or shells in the area. It is truly a great way to remember where we have been as well as an inexpensive way to bring back a memory from our travels.