How to Build a Better Sand Castle

By: Lauren Tjaden


Me giving instructions on how to build a better sand castle is a little like a dog giving instructions on how to fly: Neither of us is qualified for the job.

While I adore the beach and have spent countless hours lounging on the sand, hiking over it and drizzling it through my fingers, the sad fact is that my sand castles lack spine. Since they tend to collapse into a formless mass of muck, I had resigned myself to merely admiring others’ sculptures – until I found these tips.

For building superb sand castles you need clean, reasonably fine sand with some silt but no rocks, weeds or debris. It should be wet enough to hold together but dry enough to maintain some form. The savvy sand sculptor will look for it near the high water mark right after the tide starts to go out.

Serious sand sculptors are also concerned with how the pieces of sand are shaped. Fort Myers Beach has "young" sand, with angular grains, which makes it ideal for the purpose.

But the real secret is building from the top down. Just make a pile of sand, pack it, and flatten its top. Then start carving, moving down a level at a time. If your results are still shaky, don’t worry. The tide will wash away the evidence soon enough.

Wow -- I sound like I know what I’m talking about!

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