Take The Beach With You When You Go

Which beach do you want to be on right now?

The right answer would be any beach, but I’m sure you have a favorite. One that left an impression on you. One that your mind wanders to when you look up from your work computer and day dream out the window. The memory is so sweet, so deep that you can almost feel the sand under your feet right now. You would give anything to be on that beach wouldn’t you?

Obviously I have a passion for beaches. I moved from Kansas to live by one. I travel throughout the Caribbean as much as I can, to taste test if you will, all that I can and report that experience back to you. And I too dream about those beaches long after I’ve left.

Take The Beach With You – The Collection

A few years ago I started to bring the beach home with me. An empty water bottle and a few scoops of sand is all you need to bring a little piece of paradise home with you. Then years down the road you can look back at that same sand and remember that day in the sun.

Collecting all this sand can be a little stressful though. Each time I fly home I get nervous that the baggage screeners are going to think the sand is some type of drug. This worry is not unwarranted.

Collecting Beach Sand

Don’t Take Me To Prison

I was in Grenada flying back from a sailing trip through the Grenadine Islands aboard the Island Windjammers boat, the Diamant. During the trip we visited several islands and I had collected 5 bottles of sand from different beaches. I was quietly sitting in the Grenada airport when I heard a voice over the intercom say, “Would Mr. Ryan VanDenabeele please report to the front desk.”

I was a little shocked but I had a pretty good idea what the issue was about. A gate attendant lead me out on to the tarmac, around a corner, through an alley, then into a back room. Was this the airport prison? Do they think I have drugs? Is taking sand illegal? All of these question were running through my mind as they took me into the bowels of the airport.

A couple security guards are standing next to another gate agent and they ask permission to open up my checked bag. They open it up and take out the five bottles of sand. I explain that I collect sand from all the beaches I go to and that losing these would be be a terrible disappointment. The agent opens the bottles, shakes them, smells them and then packs them back into my bag. Those bottles of sand now sit proudly on my shelf with a good story behind them.

Collecting Beach Sand

The Favorites

Asking me to pick a favorite is nearly impossible. It’s like asking which child is your favorite. Each bottle of sand has its own special memory. But if you put a gun to my head and made me pick, I would say the pink sand of Harbor Island and Hope Town, the black sand from the north shore of St. Kitts, and sand from Trunk Bay and Cinnamon Bay on St. John would be some of my favorites. Each one has a great story behind it as well as being some of my favorite places in the Caribbean.

Collecting Beach Sand

Collecting Beach Sand

Collecting Beach Sand

The places where land meets sea are powerful. People fly half way around the globe and pay thousands of dollars to step foot on certain beaches. Why not take more than just the memories home with you.

Do you have a sand collection? I would love to hear from anyone else that does this as well.



By |2017-10-22T12:09:48-04:00March 8th, 2013|Castaway Lifestyle, RSR Stories, Travel Tips|24 Comments

About the Author:

Just a salty pirate looking to explore and document the wonders of the Caribbean. Professional blogger, rum judge, consultant, marketer, and consumer of blue water beauty.


  1. Corey March 8, 2013 at 9:35 am

    I do the same thing, but where do you get the cool glass bottles?

  2. Peacenjoy March 8, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Such a small thing that brings great joy. I also smuggle sand in my luggage.

  3. Scott March 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I used to do the exact same thing in a previous relationship – though we used test tubes – and had nice wooden racks for them. The white sands of the Bahamas and the black sands of Hana (Maui) were striking differences! Afraid I lost the whole set in the breakup – just some of the things I’m still missing.

  4. KeyLime Ryan March 8, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    I too do this, though my collection is not nearly as Impressive ha

  5. mm
    RumShopRyan March 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Corey, I get that a the Michaels craft store. Cheap and they work perfect! Cheers!

  6. mm
    RumShopRyan March 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Time to start a new collection Scott! The islands are calling!

  7. Kathy March 8, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I collect sand as well and have had the same worries at the airport. I love having the sand as a momento and being able to feel it again. Empty Patron nips make nice bottles too!

  8. Dawn, of Choosing the Better Life March 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I love this post, Ryan. Your collection is beautiful! I don’t collect sand myself, but – as an island dweller – I sometimes get requests from friends to bring sand from my beach in the Exumas, Bahamas to them when I visit. Most recently, I attended a US wedding where the couple had a strong connection to the island where I live. They used sand in the wedding ceremony, and I was in charge of bringing it to them! I packaged it in a plastic bottle for transport, but my beau had the brilliant idea to bring a large plastic bag for customs officials to sift through it if they had questions. Thankfully, no issues. 🙂

  9. mm
    RumShopRyan March 10, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Good story Dawn! Glad you made it into the states with all that sand. I bet the wedding was beautiful. Cheers to taking the beach with you!

  10. mm
    RumShopRyan March 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Glad to hear someone has the same worries as me Kathy! Thought I was just being a little paranoid. Cheers!

  11. Tj Banning March 14, 2013 at 9:03 am

    We do the same thing. A few years ago the TSA agent in line pulled our bags and asked to look in them. (I had the same gut dropping feeling….). He pulled out the sand and with a serious face started scolding us for the sand. He said that the state of FL spends Millions to pump sand onto the beaches and we steal it. Said he doesn’t come to where we live and steal our sand. After what felt like a eternity he started he started laughing. Just kidding he said. Have a good flight and come back soon.

  12. mm
    RumShopRyan March 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Bad joke by the agent Tj! Bet you were sweating bullets!

  13. rummy rob April 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I thought I was nuts once for bringing back a bucket of sand from Marco Island, and filling my basement window well with it. That way, as I sit in my basement office (clearly not where I want to be) I can look over to the window well and see the actual “beach” with shells included – while I simultaneously watch a marco island live webcam on one laptop with radio margaritaville as well, and work (ss much as possible) off another. I’m also building a tiki bar in the opposite corner of the basement. Uh… yes, I have a problem – I’m not where I belong. Might as well be in Kansas!

  14. Randy April 23, 2013 at 9:15 am

    I do this too and used to use the small containers that 35mm film came in, wow how old does that sound now

  15. Hernan May 25, 2013 at 12:09 am

    They stopped me at the airport on a flight from Malaysia to the Philippines. After running my backpack through the x-ray machine the woman asked directly if I had sand in my luggage. She explained that it was not allowed to go with me into the plane but let me go back to the airline front desk and ask for my check-in bag to put it inside. I don’t know how they knew it was sand, but at least I had a chance to keep it.

  16. mm
    RumShopRyan May 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    That’s a great story Hernan, I’m glad you were able to keep it. I guess airport security runs into tourists like us take sand all the time. Glad I’m not along in stressing over the airport part of it! Cheers!

  17. Allyn July 31, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I love doing this. I am a geologist by profession so I am used to “taking samples.” My six year old daughter keeps the jars in her room. The jars have the shells that she and I collect on the beach. My wife will make a label with the beach and year. Sometimes before bed my daughter will get one down from the shelf and we open it. We both take a big whiff – I swear I smell the ocean, but it might just be my imagination (God blessed me with a good one). My daughter says she smells it too. I think she has a tropical/beach obession just like her daddy.

  18. mm
    RumShopRyan August 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Great story Allyn! Sounds like your daughter is a future Caribbean explorer as well. Thanks for sharing!

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  22. Lindsay August 21, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Do you ever have a problem with the sand smelling overtime? Is there anything in particular you do to ensure there isn’t an odor?

  23. Diana Knopp November 7, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I have been collecting sands since 1999 on our first cruise, from places we travel to and have them in 2 ounce catsup room service bottles purchased on ebay full of Catsup, labeled by computer as Beachfront Property from….. (I’m a Realtor)lol. My shelf is re-purposed sides of an antique baby crib and is screwed to the wall in my kitchen. At first glance, visitors say, “WOW you have a lot of spices!” until they look more closely. Would love to send a photo but the option is not available in this comment.

  24. Kristina November 26, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Hi Yet a sand collector here. Interested in trading? I search for theamerican states I still miss. Have many european to offer.

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