You can’t go to the beach without building a sandcastle! It’s a family-friendly activity perfect for large groups. But if you’ve ever wondered why your bucket-poured sandcastle doesn’t look like the ones you see in competitions, you’re not alone. Fortunately, we have the inside scoop on how to build sandcastles like the pros.

1. Bring good tools.

Sand Fest

At the very least, you should grab a sturdy shovel on your way out. You can find many other important tools in your kitchen and garage: kitchen knives, putty knives, spatulas, melon ballers or measuring spoons, paint brushes and straws. Another important tool: a 5-gallon bucket with a hole cut out of the bottom (we’ll explain why soon).

2. Assign jobs.

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Just like you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen, you don’t want too many builders on a sandcastle site. You’ll need people to fetch water, collect shells and other found items along the beach for decoration, carve the castle and dig the moat. When everyone has a job they love, the process is much smoother!

3. Make a big pile and stack it high.

popular way of starting a sandcastle is to use a shovel to create an enormous pile of sand, then pouring large amounts of water over top of it. Once you’ve poured the water, pat the pile down with your shovel or stomp on top of it.

Afterwards, sit your bottomless bucket upside down on the pile. Fill it with about ⅔ sand, then pour water into it. Tap down the sand again, then remove the bucket so you have a nice base for a tower. Now you’ll want to take handfuls of wet sand and plop them on top of each other on the base. Note: The higher you stack, the softer you should “plop”—you don’t want your tower toppling over!

4. Carve away.

Now that your sand is piled high, you need to start shaping the structure. Using your putty knife, carve—don’t scrape—your walls. Remember to start at the top and work your way down. This will save you from having to deal with fallen bits of sand while working on your structure.

5. Mind the details.

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Once you have the basic shape of your sandcastle in place, it’s time for decoration! A melon baller or measuring spoon is perfect for carving out circular chunks for window or arches. A kitchen knife could help you carve out individual bricks or other intricate designs. A paint brush is great for sweeping out loose bits of sand and a straw will help you blow debris out of hard-to-reach places. Of course, you can also decorate with shells, seaweed, driftwood and other natural materials you find at the beach!

There are many incredible beach locations in the Corpus Christi area perfect for building sandcastles! Once you’ve constructed your masterpiece, try another one of our popular beach activities or water sports!