Treasure troves of beautiful, frosted gems called sea glass lie on many shores along the coast of California. However, as sea glass becomes more and more popular, especially for jewelry and crafts, these valuable gifts from the sea are quickly being scooped up by collectors. Some even sell them on Web sites like ebay and Etsy.
California Sea Glass
Nonetheless, finding the most sea glass means finding the best beach locations. Even though sea glass grows scarce and many beaches have been picked over, there are still a few good places along California’s coast where you can find these recycled little treasures.
Fort Bragg, California
Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is probably the best location to find sea glass along California’s coast. It is a little over three hours north of San Francisco just a few blocks west of Highway 1 off Elm Street.
Directions: Off Highway 1 in Fort Bragg, head west on Elm Street. At the end of Elm Street, turn left into the parking lot. Park your car and follow the paved path towards the ocean and then head south until you see the Glass Beach sign and the stairs that go down to the cove. The best time to go to Glass Beach is an hour or two before and after low tide.
The best time to go to Glass Beach is an hour or two before and after low tide.
When you step down to Glass Beach, you’ll notice that the shore is covered in sea glass. If you’re a sea glass lover, put Glass Beach on your list to visit. It has the highest concentration of sea glass in the world. You can actually stand on the shore near the water’s edge in many places and sink into mounds of sea glass.
You should also plan to visit the International Sea Glass Museum in Fort Bragg. You’ll learn about the history of Fort Bragg sea glass and see several nice specimens. The people at the museum can also help you find locations around the area where you’ll be sure to find sea glass.
There are two beaches in Monterey, California where you’ll be sure to find sea glass. Seaside State Beach is located a little northeast of Monterey. It’s a long beach surrounded by sand cliffs and sand dunes. The best location to find sea glass on Seaside Beach is located north towards the rocks. For the best results, be sure to go collecting about one hour before and one hour after low tide. Nearby beaches Sand City, Fort Ord Dunes State Park, and Aptos are also good sites for finding sea glass.
Another beach in Monterey where you can find sea glass is Monterey State Beach next to Fisherman’s Wharf towards the town of Seaside.
Cayucos is famous for its annual sea glass festival, and the beach also has sea glass on its shores. Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the small, charming beach town stretches along a small cove among the hills on California’s central coast.
Sea glass shards lie among lots of small rocks on the beach in Cayucos. Collect sea glass in Cayucos a few hours before and after low tide for best results.
Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara, California
Hidden away off the 101 Freeway off Padaro Lane lies a thin stretch of beach in front of cliffs where a few people let their dogs run leash free. A few serious beachcombers also stroll the sand and rocks looking for treasures like shells and sea glass.
To get to Sunnerland Beach in Santa Barbara, exit at Padaro Lane. Head west and turn right on Padaro. Drive down a residential road until you reach a sign that says Loon Point. Turn into the parking lot. Follow the path at the end of the parking lot to the beach.
Go to Summerland a few hours before and after low tide, but be sure not get stuck in a cove when the tide starts coming back in or you’ll have to climb a cliff and wait for low tide to return.
An outhouse is located in the parking lot on Paderno Lane, but no other facilities or lifeguards are on the beach.
Although many private luxury homes stand along the 27 mile shore in Malibu, everything below the mean high tide line belongs to the public. In other words, most of the sand the water has touched belongs to the public.
Several of the wealthy try to put barriers up like hedges to keep the general public away from the beach in front of their homes; however, you can walk along Malibu’s beaches below the high-tide line legally and collect sea glass.
The best time to find sea glass in Malibu is after a storm.
How to Find Public Access to Malibu Beaches
Don’t worry about finding public access (aka public easements) to beautiful Malibu beaches; there’s an app for that: “Our Malibu Beaches.” Thank you, Jenny Price, for creating the App!
Find public access through beaches in Malibu such as Big Rock Beach, Carbon Beach, Malibu Pier, Dan Blocker County Beach, El Matador State Beach, El Pescador State Beach, Escondido Beach, La Piedra State Beach, Las Fores State Beach, Las Tunas Beach, Latigo Beach, Lechuze Beach and other’s with easy-to-follow directions from “Our Malibu Beaches” app.
La Jolla, California
Find plenty of tiny sea glass shards in La Jolla, California. La Jolla’s popularity draws people from all over the globe; however, many ignore the shinny recycled frosty glass gems lying on the sand. Most of the shards are small, but a few larger ones lie here and there.
For the best sea glass experience, be sure to plan your La Jolla trip around low tide. Go two hours before and after low tide.
Besides finding sea glass in La Jolla, you’ll also enjoy its charm, beauty, and ocean activities like kayaking, boating, and scuba diving.
Sea Glass Beaches in California
Many beaches in California have sea glass. To increase you odds of finding sea glass, be sure to go to the beach a few hours before and after low tide and look for beaches that have small pebbles and rocks. In California, beaches with smooth sand rarely have sea glass.
Other factors like weather, moon phases, wave activity, and prevailing winds also affect the odds of finding sea glass.
Please share in the comment section below about places in California where you’ve found sea glass.
Good luck with your search for sea glass in California!