There’s More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

One of my favorite things about where we live is that we’re able to spend lots of time at the beach. We live minutes away from the Atlantic Ocean and take advantage of every opportunity to stick our toes in the sand, play in ocean, and enjoy all the beauty that comes with the package.

Those things are all fun, but that’s not all we do at the beach. Our local beaches are some of our favorite spots for nature walks. That’s why I’m so excited to share this Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt with you today.

There's More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

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We spend lots of time doing nature walks at the beach, but I was reminded of just how special these opportunities are when we read Jim Arnosky’s Following the Coast for the first time.

Through this lovely picture book, Arnosky shares his experience working his way up the salt marshes from Florida to Delaware.

Along the way, he and his wife encounter lots of life in and around those marshes, some expected and some quite rare. From dolphins and crabs to snakes and wild ponies, Following the Coast reminded me that our nature walks on the beach aren’t to be taken for granted.

Our Nature Walks & A Nature-Inspired Beach Scavenger Hunt

Our nature walks on the beach don’t look exactly like Arnosky’s experiences in Following the Coast, but we have plenty to show for all the times we’ve walked our North Carolina shores and combed the beaches for interesting sights and creatures.

Searching for Shells

As you can probably imagine, we have a pretty significant seashell collection from all these walks. Even when we bring no buckets and have no intention of taking shells home with us, we always end up with a handful of treasures we can’t leave behind.

There's More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

Clam shells, moon snails, and scallop shells are most common here, but we also see a lot of jingle shells and oysters. Even so, we’re always searching for shells that aren’t as easy for us to find. In addition to the rare gems, we love spotting shells with interesting patterns and colors.

Tide Pools

There are only a few locations with tide pools near us so we love to include them in our nature walks whenever possible. They’re great for collecting shells, bird watching, and spotting crabs, fish, and other small creatures.

There's More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

Who am I kidding? The tide pools are also an incredible place to watch the sunset. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve found ourselves awestruck because we were walking among the pools as the sun was setting. It’s breathtaking.

Life on the Beach

We’ve seen lots of signs of ocean life through these nature walks also. We have a variety of shorebirds to observe, but pelicans, gulls, sandpipers, and oystercatchers are the most common for us.

We also watch the water for dolphins on our walks and look for signs of activity near our conservation areas. These areas guard the nests for sea turtles, black skimmers, least terns, and oystercatchers.

There's More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

Sand Dunes

Through these nature walks, we’ve learned that there’s lots to observe in the sand dunes. The dunes are usually protected by fences, but we look and listen for birds and identify any new plants we see.

There's More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

We see lots of sea oats, beachgrass, and Fire Wheel flowers, but we also see prickly pears along some of our beach accesses.

*Free* Beach Scavenger Hunt Printable

Now that you’ve got an idea of what a nature walk on the beach is like for us, I invite you to do the same the next time you’re at the coast. :)

*Ocean Shore Nature Hunt Printable*

Not sure what to look for on your beach walk? Use this Ocean Shore Scavenger Hunt to guide you.

You may not spot all of the items on this nature hunt printable, but you should be able to find most of them. I included items that are commonly found regardless of the season and location.

There's More to the Shores: A Nature-Themed Beach Scavenger Hunt

Also, while this scavenger hunt was inspired by Following the Coast, I’ve recently learned that it’s not an easy book to locate. If you’re looking for some additional reading ideas to prepare you for your beach scavenger hunt, check out this ocean book list.

Nature Book Club Monthly Linkup #7

We’re feeling beachy this month in our Nature Book Club! In addition to my beach scavenger hunt, I’m excited to share these book-inspired nature learning activities with you! Let’s take a look:

July Theme: Beach, Sand, & Shells