How to find sea glass like a pro
If you are as addicted to finding sea glass as me, or think you need a new hobby that takes you to beaches, read on. I’ve been collecting sea glass for my jewelry range for about twelve years now and have collected glass from all parts of the world. Over the years I’ve learned a few things about collecting sea glass so I’m going to share some of these tips with you. I"ll also share which are my favorite sea glass beaches.
My top 10 tips for finding sea glass
1. Find where the old garbage dump was before recycling happened in coastal areas..Fort Bragg in California and Glass Beach in Port Townsend, Washington were the garbage dumps.
2. You will always find sea glass in urban areas or cities that are located on the water.
3. Rough oceans make for great sea glass especially if there is sand and other pebbles to abrade the glass, weather and perfect it and round the sea glass pieces out.
4. Beaches that people go to for sunsets and sundowner drinks will always have sea glass.
5. Go sea glass hunting after stormy weather. The waves will have churned up fresh stuff and will most likely have deposited some sea glass there just for you.
6. Watch the tides and if there is a large tidal range like we have in Washington, go after the tide has changed and is heading into low tide.
7. Walk the high tide line after high tide and be prepared to hang out at the beach while you beach comb as the water recedes all the way to low tide. Another plus with going at this time is you may pick up those pieces of sea glass before anyone else has had a chance to find them.
8. Sea glass is often mixed in with the pebble mix so be prepared to sift through the mix with your fingers or a small gardening rake. You’ll be surprised at the treasures this technique will turn up.
9. Look among the rocks on the beach you are sea glassing on. Often pieces get trapped and hidden between these rocks.
10 . Wear water shoes and be prepared to get wet and possibly have a bucket for scooping in the wave line as the tide turns. I’ve often found some good pieces by doing this.
My favorite sea glass beaches
1. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California
2. Barceloneta Beach, Barcelona Spain (amazing teals and some multis). You can read more details in my blog post on Barcelona which includes my sea glass hunting here.
3. Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa (pretty good greens and whites and fab olive greens from wine bottles as the Cape is a wine growing area).. The ocean is also really rough and there is a good pebble mix to weather the sea glass.
4. Glass Beach, Port Townsend, Washington state (you have to watch the tides on this as the beach under the bluffs is where you find the glass and we have a significant tidal range in Washington. It is quite possible you might get stranded if the tide comes in. It is also a 3 mile or 5 kilometer hike to where most of the glass and old garbage dump is.
5. Lahaina, Maui, which is an old whaling village, so think urban from a long time ago. Be prepared to wade in the waves with a bucket here, but the rounded pieces of sea glass will be well worth it. I also wrote a blog post with travel tips to Maui. Read it here.
6.Hanapepe, Kauaii. This was the island's dump site and while some pieces are quite fresh, some pottery or glassware may be found here. The pieces are quite pitted as they are being worn against the rough lava rocks.
7. Gordon’s Bay, Western Cape, South Africa. Some nice pieces here including olives, whites and dark greens, basically anything that is the colors of wine or beer bottles and South Africa has only recently been recycling glass.
8. Discovery Park Beach, Seattle Washington. This beach is on the Puget Sound and so is urban enough to get glass on it as well as fairly good waves to wear down and weather the glass. The parking lots are at least 2 kilometers from the beach where you will find glass, but the walk through the forests will be so worth it.
9. Burfoot Park, Olympia Washington. This is my home beach and it’s not very rewarding to find glass here, but it’s a wonderful beach to find lovely pebbles at for my pebble jewelry designs. I consider myself lucky if I find a piece or two of sea glass here. You definitely have to scratch through the pebbles to find stuff. It’s a short walk through native forest to get to the beach and just going for the experience of pure nature is worth it.
I hope that you've found these tips useful and that I've mentioned some new seaglassing spots for you to add to your sea glass beach bucket list.
If you are a fellow sea glass hunter, I'd love to know what your sea glass hunting tips are or where your favorite spots are for finding sea glass. Pop your recommendations in the comments section below, I'd love to be inspired to travel to your favorite beach and I'm always up for learning how to improve my sea glass hunting techniques.
In case you want to see some of my jewelry designs, head here.