Places to Find Sea Glass

Updated February 21, 2017

The best "glass" beaches are: highly populated, or have been; at the base of a bluff or cliff; possess at least 25 feet of fetch (nautical terminology for the distance wind blows unobstructed over an expanse of open water); have a source of glass; and have significant wave action. A garbage dump near the shoreline, a glass manufacturing plant near the beach and public beaches with picnic areas are prime spots for sea glass collecting.

East Coast

An excellent site for sea glass collectors, called "seaglunkers," is Bar Harbor, Maine. Glass of all colours collects at the high tide line. More than 16 pieces of jewellery-grade glass are found per hour here. The beach at Colt State Park in Rhode Island is also rated good with six to 15 jewellery-grade pieces found per hour. This beach is rocky, and only accessible at low tide. The beaches at Fortescue, New Jersey, are popular spots for seaglunkers. This small fishing town is know for sea glass in many different colours. The beach adjacent to Norfolk Naval Air Station near Virginia Beach, Virginia, produces equal numbers of shards per hour, along with the beaches at Southport, North Carolina.

West Coast

Alki Beach, west of Seattle, Washington, is rated good by seaglunkers with finds of 6 to 15 jewellery-grade pieces of sea glass in an hour. North Beach in Port Townsend, Washington, is an excellent beach to find sea glass in shades as rare as black, red and yellow. Red glass is the most prized colour and comes from a few sources such as Victorian lamps, lanterns, Depression glass, automobile brake lights, and marine lights. The beaches at Fort Bragg, California are located along Route 1 north of San Francisco. Called "Sea Glass Beach," residents dumped their garbage over the cliffs here until 1967, providing masses of material that produced sea glass in the pounding waves. Monterey County, California boasts two excellent beaches for seaglunkers: Seaside State Beach, and Cannery Row with almost as much sea glass as Fort Bragg.

World Class Beaches

The beach at Fairy Bower near Manly, Sidney Australia has an excellent rating as a source of sea glass. The rare colours of yellow and pink have been found here. The beaches at Praia Castelo and Praia Cohelo in Albuferia, Portugal are up against rocks, and at low tide, small caves are revealed that contain large quantities of sea glass. These beaches are rated good, producing 6 to 15 pieces of jewellery-grade sea glass in an hour. Playa Media Luna, Isle Mujeres, Mexico is rated excellent for sea glass collecting. The northeast side of this island is rocky and best for locating specimens.

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About the Author

Based in eastern Virginia, Cathy Welch began writing nonfiction articles and novels in 1996. She wrote a short story that appears in John Maxwell’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” She writes reviews and nonfiction for Longridge Writer’s Group. Welch holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Christopher Newport University with a concentration in management.