Sea Glass Beaches

Home / Sea Glass Beaches

Sea Glass BeachesMany beaches around the world contain sea glass. The best sea glass beaches are usually located where people have dumped a lot of trash nearby or there has been a lot of shipping traffic, especially over the past couple centuries.

You’re also more likely to find sea glass on a beach where a river or stream runs into the ocean. In populated areas along river and streams, trash has been tossed into the water and much of it makes its way to the ocean where the glass turns into sea glass.

Some Beaches Have Reputations for Their Abundance of Sea Glass

Beaches on the northeast coasts in the United States, some beaches in northern California, Oregon, and Washington, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Nova Scotia, Australia, Italy, northwest England and southern Spain are famous for their bounty of sea glass.

Best Beaches in California to Hunt for Sea Glass

Glass Beach Fort Bragg DirectionsFort Bragg, California

Just eight miles north of Mendocino, a beautiful coastline along Fort Bragg holds many sea glass treasures. For several years, the locals dumped their trash and even their old cars and appliances over the bluffs onto their beaches. Even though the city began cleanup programs in 1967, much of the glass still made its way to the shore to become the smaller translucent colored pieces of sea glass that cover the shore today.

A lot of the sea glass has been carted away by collectors, but quite a bit still remains on the shore. The best known place for collecting sea glass is Glass Beach, which is located inside MacKerricher State Park. You can enter Glass Beach from Elm Street and Glass Beach Drive. However, much of the sea glass on the northern section of Glass Beach has been taken, but you can still find the sea glass south of Elm Street outside the boundaries of MacKerricher Park.

Glass Beach Map and Directions

Because of the popularity of the beach for sea glass collectors, the California State Park became concerned over diminishing sea glass and has discouraged the practice of taking it. Some people say it’s illegal now to collect sea glass from Fort Bragg, but others say that because California beaches are public, it’s okay to collect it up to the mean high water mark.

If you decide to go to Fort Bragg to collect sea glass, be sure to check with the California Department of Parks and Recreation to find out where it’s appropriate to collect sea glass. Make sure to respect the rules and surrounding private properties to get to the beaches. If you just want to collect a few good specimens and you follow the rules, you should have a pleasant sea glass hunting trip in Fort Bragg.

Update: In August 2014, the city of Fort Bragg began its Coastal Restoration Project. The grand opening of the area above Glass Beach is scheduled for August 2015. Before you make plans to visit Glass Beach, be sure to check the city’s Coastal Trail updates

The Different Colors of Sea Glass

Glass Beach in Benicia, California

Another glass beach with a high concentration of sea glass is Benicia in northern California. According to Wikipedia, the beach is located in Benicia, California off the 12th Street Park. Some locals have reported the beach is off Elane Way and Cove Way. Look for Public Access sign and follow to water.

Be warned, however, that much of the glass has sharp edges, so wear sturdy shoes. Much of the sea glass is not weathered with smooth round edges because the beach is located in Carquinez Strait, which is basically a bay with little wave activity. Beaches with the best sea glass have a decent amount of wave activity because the movement of the water acts like a giant tumbling machine and helps toss and turn the glass into frosty sea glass with rounded edges.

You should also check San Francisco tide times and go at low tide when the sea glass is exposed on the shore.

Best Glass Beach in Hawaii is on the Island of Kauai

Glass Beach Kauai HawaiiAnother Beach where you’ll be sure to find a high concentration of sea glass is Glass Beach on the Island of Kauai in Eleele. The sea glass has been picked over; however, there is still a lot on the beach.

Glass Beach in Kauai is surrounded by an industrial area, but it’s still a beautiful beach with a lot of small white and brown sea glass shards. If you look diligently, you will likely find some jelly bean shaped and rare colored sea glass like, yellow, sea foam and teal.

To get to Glass Beach in Kauai, head towards Port Allen. Turn left on Waialo Road, and turn left onto Aka Ula Road. Drive until you come to a dirt road. Park and walk a few steps to the beach.

More Pictures, Map, and Directions for Glass Beach in Kauai 

Rancho Palos Verdes BeachThe Most Secret and Secluded Beach in Los Angeles

Rancho Palos Verdes Beach

Los Angeles’s best keep secret is Rancho Palos Verdes Beach, and yes, you can find sea glass there too, especially after a storm. The beach is stunning, but best of all the parking is free in the Trump National Golf Course. The city of Rancho Palos Verdes made a deal that parts of the golf course must be open to the public. The parking lot is small, so if you’re planning a trip on a weekend summer day, be sure to go early.

Tide Pools at Rancho Palos Verdes BeachIf you’re planning a sea glass hunt just follow the trail down to the beach. It’s a little steep in a few places. When you get down to the beach, go to the left and start looking for sea glass among the rocks during low tide. The sea glass is not as abundant compared to other beaches, but it’s there.

Besides enjoying a good sea glass hunt, the beach is also excellent for a fun family day at the beach or a romantic get away. The sand is a little rocky, but it’s still smooth enough to lay down a towel and enjoy relaxing in the sun by the sea.

Kids will enjoy the waves and the tide pools. There’s also plenty of colorful rocks where you’ll be sure to see a few little sea creatures.

Santa Barbara Sea GlassSea Glass on Santa Barbara Dog Beach

Summerland in Santa Barbara, California

One of the best beaches to find sea glass is in Summerland, California. Summerland is located of the 101 Freeway in Santa Barbara county. The beach is also for dog lovers too. In the early morning and at low tide, you’ll be sure to see a lot of happy dogs walking the shore and you’ll be sure to find some sea glass.

Check the Tides for Summerland

To find the most sea glass, make sure to check the tides. Go at low tide, but be sure to not to get stuck when the high tides come in. A lot of the sea glass is along the high-tide point, especially where there are a lot of small rocks.

Beautiful Sea Glass Beach

Sea Glass on Santa Barbara BeachSummerland is a beautiful beach, and it’s not that crowded. There are usually only a few beachcombers walking along the sand and a few people walking their dogs in the morning.

To get to Summerland, take Exit 88 from the 101 Freeway. Head west, and turn right down Padaro Lane. You’ll drive along a residential neighborhood on a narrow street for a while. When you see the sign for Loon Point, turn right into the public parking lot. Take a short path to the ocean, and at the end of the path, go left.

Long Stretch of Beach and Sea Glass

Del Monte Beach, Monterey, California

Many beachcombers know that Monterey beaches are one of the best places to find sea glass. Del Monte Beach in Monterey, California is a long stretch of beach where you’ll be sure to find sea glass. The beach is named after the historic Del Monte Resort, and it’s located west of Del Monte Avenue.


View Larger Map

 

Other Sea Glass Beaches

Here are some other beaches where you’ll likely find sea glass. I’ve gathered the information from websites, articles and comments around the Internet. I haven’t thoroughly researched or verified all of them, but I plan on finding out more information or hopefully visting as many as I can in the future.

Keep in mind that sea glass beaches can be fickle. I’ve gone to beaches and have found a nice amount sea glass on one day. Then I’ve returned to the same beaches on another day or even the next day only to find little sea glass or nothing at all. Sometimes I think some days the sea glass gods just want to hold on to those little treasures. 🙂

The best time to find sea glass is early in the morning during low tide. You will also likely find more sea glass during morning low tide times after a storm. Beaches near bluffs and rocky beaches with coarse sand are usually better for sea glass hunting. 

How to Find Sea Glass on the Beach

sea glass beachesSea Glass Beaches in the United States

A number of sea glass beaches are located in the United States along its coasts.

California

  • La Jolla, California – Check out pictures of sea glass from my trip to La Jolla, California in June 2012.
  • El Matador State Beach in Malibu California
  • Many Northern California beaches like Santa Cruz, Monterey, Benicia, Pillar Point (Northern End and you have to climb down cliffs), Aptos and Fort Bragg and Pismo Beach-Shell Beach have been reported as having sea glass. 
  • Redondo Beach, California near Palos Verdes Estates
  • Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara
  • People have reported finding sea glass on beaches in Orange County from Laguna Beach to Newport Beach.
  • Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur. People have reported finding sea glass on and other treasures. May involve some serious hiking. 
  • Monterey Waterfront from Canary Road to Lover’s point- 1.25 miles.
  • Oxnard Beach
  • Pacifica, CA–located near San Francisco
  • Rio Del Mar, Aptos–Rio Del Mar is located a little south from Santa Cruz.
  • Capistrano Beach

Connecticut 

  • East Lyme, Connecticut
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison, Connecticut
  • Noank, Connecticut

Florida

  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Hannah Park Beach
  • St. Augustine

Hawaii

Maine

  • Arcadia National Park in Maire: Sand Beach and Frenchman’s Bay
  • Bar Harbor, Maine
  • Belfast, Maine
  • Casco Bay Islands, Maine
  • Cranberry Islands, Maine
  • East End Beach, Long Island, Maine
  • Jasper Beach, Machiasport, Maine
  • Jonesport, Maine
  • Land’s End near Maine
  • Mackerel Cove, Near Bailey Island, Maine
  • Middle Beach, Kennebunk, York, Maine
  • Monhegan Island, Maine
  • Mount Desert Island, Maine
  • Roque Bluffs State Park, Roque Bluffs, Maine
  • Spectacle Island (It’s forbidden to take sea glass from this beach)

Note on sea glass beaches in Maine: I’ve seen it said in several places around the Web that the best times to find sea glass on Maine beaches are at low tide and after storms.

Maryland

Massachusetts

  • Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts (Southwestern Shores)
  • Cape Ann, Rockfort, Massachusetts
  • Gloucester, Massachusetts
  • Lambert’s Cove Beach
    Pavilion Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts
  • New Beford, Massachusetts
  • Spectacle Island, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

Michigan

  • Empire Beach, Lake Michigan Drive, Lake Michigan, MI

New Jersey

  • Bay Head, New Jersey
  • Cape May, New Jersey
  • Long Beach Island, New Jersey

North Carolina

Oregon

  • Astoria, Oregon
  • Bayocean Peninsula on Tillamook Bay, Oregon
  • Brookings, Oregon – Mill Beach
  • Gold Beach, Oregon
  • McVay Rock State Recreation
  • Newport, Oregon
  • Oceanside, Oregon
  • Seal Point, Oregon
  • Lincoln City, Oregon

Rhode Island

  • Middletown, Rhode Island
  • Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
  • Block Island, Rhode Island
  • King Park Beach at Newport Harbor, Rhode Island
  • East Matunuck State Beach, South Kingston, Rhode Island

Texas

  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Crystal Beach, Texas
  • Galveston, Texas
  • Port Arthur, Texas
  • Surfside Beach, Texas

Virginia

  • Cape Charles, Virginia
  • Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
  • Hampton, Virginia

Washington

  • Alki Beach Park, Alki Avenue Southwest, Seattle, Washington State (northeast section of beach)
  • Anacortes, Washington State
  • Deception Pass State Park, Oak Harbor, Washington State
  • Glass Beach, Port Townsend, Washington State
  • Port Angeles, Washington State
  • Port Townsend, Washington State 
  • Puget Sound Islands, Washington State
  • Rosario Beach, Fidalgo Island, Washington State
  • Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington State

 

Sea Glass Beaches Outside the United States

 

Thirteenth Beach, Barwon Heads, Australia

 

  • Port Dover Beach, Ontario, Canada

 

  • Alexandra Battery Beach, Bermuda
  • Bermuda Island, Hamilton, St.George’s, Bermuda, Corner of Cochran and Malibar Road
  • Black Bay Beach, Bermuda
  • Building Bay, Bermuda
  • Kings Wharf, Bermuda
  • Somerset Village

 

  • Abaco Islands, Bahamas

 

  • Mullins Beach, Barbados 

 

  • Prince Edward’s Island, Canada
  • Nova Scotia, Canada

 

  • Okinawa, Japan

 

  • Playa Media Luna, Isla De Mujeres, north of Cancun, Mexico

 

  • Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles

 

  • Antonio’s Beach to River Mouth Beach in Puntas, Rincon, Puerto Rico
  • Vieques, Puerto Rico

 

If you know about a good sea glass beach, please comment about it in the comments section below.

 

42 Comments

  • Laura Adams

    Chileno Bay, Cabo San Lucas MX. I’ve visited there many times and never come home empty handed. Abundant with tiny pieces of mostly green, brown and white. I did find blue.

      • Connie

        From the listed places, is it safe to assume that we’re only able to find sea glass in the Northern Hemisphere, or is it that we just haven’t looked extensively enough in the Southern Hemi?

        • Cathy

          Sea glass is found all over the world where ever glass has been dumped into the ocean. It’s also found in lakes too, but it’s usually referred to as beach glass.

    • Cathy

      I’ve read about beautiful beach glass found off Lake Huron specifically in the Port Huron area. Although it’s a lake, Lake Huron has pH levels near or above ocean levels, which is great for conditioning glass into beach glass. Check out Pinterest for pictures of beach glass from Lake Huron. There’s just a few, but you can see how smooth and beautiful the glass looks.

  • Joanne Russ

    I love collecting sea glass and other treasures on the beach! During the time I spent in Zihautanejo Mexico this winter I can across a lot of interesting pieces. They are concentrated in the more rocky areas and the best time to hunt is after a full moon, high tide. There were also big waves for a couple of days before. I was just thrilled with my finds!

    • Cathy

      Thank you, Joanne, for sharing your sea glass finds in Zihautanego. I looked at some pictures of the beach, and it looks like a beautiful place.

  • amy

    2 islands that we visited on our last cruise. Dominica (Merno Bach) and St. Marten (Grand Case area). our kids had a blast and we came home with a fun bag of glass.

  • Erin

    Along the shore of Lake Erie, is the town of Angola (outside of Buffalo). There is a bar there, Mickey Rats, and because of the propensity for people to take their beer bottles down to the shore, the area has a good bit of sea glass. You still have to hunt for it, but it’s a fairly decent location.

  • Barbara

    Duluth Harbor in Duluth Minnesota. We were ambling around and started looking with no expectations. Found a lot of sharp pieces and tossed them back to sea. But also a few keepers including blue, orange, bottle green.

  • Wendy

    What about South Carolina? I’m going to Myrtle Beach next week. Also, on Oahu, I have found a bunch of glass at Kaena Point on the North Shore side in the last little cove after the tide goes out.

  • Bob Shrekter

    Annisquam MA, is the shit for sea glass. This is a local secret I heard this at a local dinner while eating a bagel.
    Really, I have been several times and never left without a great deal of sea glass, all of which is high quality. I have even found some blues and purples on occasion! There is not a great party scene here so the Heineken bottle disappointments do not happen.

    Happy hunting!
    Bob Shrekter

  • Stephen Miller

    Just came back from Vernazza, Italy, May 1st, and took a quick walk early in morning on the New Beach there, go through the rock opening on left just before you reach the main square. Found white and green, the white was very thick, very happy to bring back from our trip

  • Mignon Whitaker

    Went looking on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Tignish & Donahue Beach both provided us with some nice pieces ranging from several clear, some green and pale blue and amber! We are going to hit Cavendish today, since we are staying nearby. Going to try to hit South Shore in Prince County on Thursday, if the weather cooperates.

  • Dean Sens

    Almost all of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are loaded with Sea Glass. You get about a pound or 2 in 6 to 8 hours of walking the rocky beaches.

  • Richard Bradley Smith

    Hello,

    I am not interested in sea glass. I am trying to remember where I was years ago, I think it was one one of the Great Lakes but I have not been to Huron, where the glass was at least 50 feet thick and stretched for at least a mile. By the way, to my way of thinking the glass to go after is the old slag from the factories or the old paint from the car plants, if you can buy any of that.

  • David

    Catalina Island, 23 miles off the California coast across from Long Beach, has pebble beaches. Glass is mostly round and abundant, especially along the high tide line, or at the base of the sea walls surrounding the cove at Avalon (the main area of Catalina)

  • Dolly

    I’m currently in the north island New Zealand near Auckland – does anyone know of any good sea glass beaches near here or further North to the Bay of Islands as I love to collect whilst my husband is fishing !!

  • Carol

    I found a small handful of sea glass in Nassau, Bahamas. The beach nearest to the cruise port.
    Grand Turk yielded a large handful at the beach right at the cruise port. Happy Hunting!

  • Deidre'

    Shell Beach in St. Barths has quite a bit. I brought home 2 sandwich containers in July. Mostly green, Amber, and white. I found a lot in November too.

  • Milissa

    My finds:

    Lorient Beach on St. Barth’s
    Menemsha Beach on Martha’s Vineyard
    Matepeake Beach on Kent Island, Maryland
    Kronkite Beach, Marin County, CA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *