Build a Better Sandcastle

With sand made of angular grains and containing high clay and silt content that locks in moisture, Port Aransas beaches are scientifically one of the best places in the world to build a movie-level sandcastle. After all, there's a reason one of the nation's largest native-sand sand sculpture competitions is held right here on these shores.

The next time you and your family find yourself with a hankering for creation, head down to the beach and use some of these tips from professional sand sculptor Mark Landrum to build an Insta-worthy sandcastle in Port A!


Tips from a Pro:

1. Set up close to the waterline (works best when the tide is going out). Dig a hole to the water table, where the sand is saturated with water. Stack the sand from your hole in a large pile to the dune side of your hole.

2. Stir the sand and water in the hole until you get large patties of wet sand to scoop with your hands. This process can be duplicated in a bucket, too.

3. Take a scoop of sand and water, plop it on top of the sand stack, and pat gently on top of the stack. The idea is to make a pancake of wet sand. You want the water to wrap around the sand, so bring the water to the top of the pancake then pull your hand away to watch the sand go back down. Repeat the process until you have a tall stack of sand pancakes. 

4. The goal is to get big scoops of sand and water. The larger in diameter the bottom pancake is, the taller your stack can go. When you build it as tall as you can, you are ready for your carving tools.

5. Use the carving tools (knife, fork, and spoon) to make a roof, bricks, windows, stairs, and doors. You can use the knife to carve and block out the different features. The spoon and fork may be used for texturing and making windows. Use the tools gently to carve and shave the sand. Never poke, jab, stab, or hack at the sand. Have fun!


A sandcastle on the beach with the sun rising on the horizon


A Few Things You'll Need To Get Started

  • A bucket (A five gallon paint bucket works well)

  • Shovel

  • Plastic knife, fork, and spoon

If you aren't quite feeling confident yet, there's always the option to book a sandcastle building lesson. These lessons are a fun, family-friendly time where you can get help from a pro and learn to express your creativity in the sand! 

Book a Lesson

Sign up for a lesson with Mark Sandrum and get great takeaways that will leave you with plenty of memories! You can also have him build a sculpture for any…