The only thing more special than taking a long walk on the beach might just be discovering a treasure while on that stroll—like a sea shell or a piece of sea glass. If you’re not familiar with sea glass, let us fill you in: Sea glass is the end result after a piece of glass, say from a beer bottle or window, gets discarded into the water and then is smoothed and polished over time by ocean waves.
The beaches where sea glass is common are often located near current or former garbage dumps—so this is nature’s way of turning trash into treasure! Sea glass is often colorful, and some jewelry designers even use it as the focal point or center stone in necklaces, rings and bracelets.
The process of turning a shard of glass into a thing of beauty is said to take somewhere between five and 50 years, so when you do find a piece of sea glass, part of the fun is wondering if it was formerly a Coke bottle from a few years back or a stained glass window from a ship that sunk decades ago.
While it’s not always possible to find sea glass on just any shore, especially since recycling efforts have now made sea glass more difficult to find, below are six beaches in the U.S. where you’re more likely to discover a piece of sea glass.
Please note: Removing sea glass from these beaches is discouraged and, in some places, can be a misdemeanor criminal offense. So instead of taking sea glass home with you, snap a pic of your finds and leave the beaches untouched for future generations to enjoy.
1. Kauai Sea Glass Beach In Eleele, Hawaii
On the Hawaiian island of Kauai, you can find an amazing stretch of sea glass beach in an industrial area in Eleele, near the Port Allen Harbor. The beach there is said to be covered in aqua, brown, blue and clear-colored sea glass that reportedly originated from a company dumping broken bottles and auto glass off of Kauai’s western shore many years ago.
2. Glass Beach In Fort Bragg, California
As one Yelp reviewer notes, there is so much sea glass at this beach that you can almost lay down in it and make a sea glass angel. Also, don’t miss a visit to the Sea Glass Museum where you can grab a souvenir and learn about the beach’s history as a dumping site.
3. Del Monte Beach In Monterey, California
About five hours south of Fort Bragg is another California sea glass gem. The Del Monte Beach is also a short drive away from downtown Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf, another must-see attraction in the area.
4. La Jolla Cove In San Diego, California
Not only is La Jolla a picture-perfect tourist destination where you can snorkel and swim, but this Southern California beach is also said to be a great beach-combing spot for shells and colorful sea glass. Don’t forget to check out the famous La Jolla Cove seals.
5. Spectacle Island In Boston, Massachusetts
Just short ferry ride away from Boston’s Long Wharf, Spectacle Island is both an island and a public park with hiking trails, swimmable beaches and, of course, loads of sea glass! Some even speculate that the glass that washes up here could be hundreds of years old.
6. Jasper Beach In Machiasport, Maine
While this charming beach on the coast of Maine is primarily known for its colorful assortment of polished volcanic rocks, it also frequently makes lists of beaches where you might find sea glass.
Happy sea glass hunting!