Among dozens of annual sand-sculpting competitions across the United States, some are open to amateurs, some are limited to proven master sculptors, and some include both. Of the master competitions, two occur within New England. By invitation only, master sculptors participate and compete to win cash prizes.
You can visit during the competition and see the artists at work, or you can visit during days following the competition. Sculptures are created at a distance away from the surf, so that they will not be washed away. Barring rain or strong winds that erode the sculptures, the completed works may remain on display for a week or more. A visit at sunrise or sunset can be particularly rewarding as the warm light of the sun rakes across the beach.
Hampton Beach Sand Sculpting Competition (Hampton Beach, NH), June 18-20, 2015. Now in its fifteenth year, this competition will bring together ten master sculptors. Also, one giant sculpture will be created by a team of sculptors on behalf of one corporate sponsor.
Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival (Revere, MA) , July 24-26, 2015.
An annual event since 2004, this festival also includes live music and a fireworks display. Revere is close to Boston and you may choose to visit via the MBTA public rail system; Revere Beach Station is only one block away from the beach.
More master sand sculpting events beyond New England:
AIA Sandcastle Competition (Galveston, TX), American Sandsculpting Championship (Fort Myers Beach, FL), Arts In Action (Port Angeles, WA), Blue Water SandFest (Port Huron, MI), Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest (Canon Beach, OR), Headlands BeachFest (Mentor, OH), Navarre Beach Sand Sculpting Festival (Navarre Beach, FL), SandSations (Long Beach, WA), Sandcastle Days (South Padre Island, TX), Sanding Ovations Sand Sculpting Competition and Music Festival (Treasure Island, FL), Siesta Key Crystal Classic (Siesta Key, FL), U.S. Sand sculpting Competition (Sand Diego, CA), Virginia Beach International Sandsculpting Championship (Virginia Beach, VA).