10 Best Glassing Beaches

We asked readers to vote their favorite beaches to hunt for sea glass and beach glass. We were thrilled to have such great comments to accompany the votes, as it pointed to a trend of glassers preferring quality over quantity, as evidenced by this particular comment, which was a recurring theme submitted with the entries: “This beach gives the best finished and frosted glass. I can get more glass actually closer to home, but I prefer the wider variety of color and the better quality here.”

We might have been a bit disappointed in the lower-than-expected number of votes, if we hadn’t had such a good chuckle over the very fact that we expected as much: we certainly know how much glassers are loathe to share their favorite and best beachcombing spots. In fact, 3 votes (submitted via the website) actually go to “Secret Beach,” one each in Ohio, Maine, and New Jersey apparently. The last included the comment, “I ain’t telling you and don’t come here.”

So, from our readers, here are the top 10 beaches for finding sea glass and beach glass.

1. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

This should come as no surprise, though it was a tight race with #2 (likely another no-brainer). Glass Beach in Mendocino County is the place to beachcomb for sea glass. Locally, the beach and area at the edge of town is known as “The Dumps” for the early inhabitants’ practice of throwing their trash over the cliffs. But remember: removing the sea glass is forbidden.

2. Seaham Beach, Seaham, England

Seaham Beach, Seaham England

It’s on the bucket list of any true glasser, attracting serious beachcombers from as far away as Alaska and Australia. Sitting upon the wild North Sea, the town was once home to the Londonderry Bottle Works, which was comprised of 6 glass houses. More than a hundred years after the last of the glass factories closed, the sea still churns up those famous English multies.

3. Davenport Beach, Davenport, California

Davenport Beach, Davenport, California

About 4 hours south of Fort Bragg, but worth the trip lies the city of Davenport, home to the Davenport beaches, including what the locals call Shark’s Tooth Beach and Shark Fin Cove, where you will find the unique and famed sea glass, known the glassing world over because of its recognizable patterns.

4. Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor, Ohio

Headlands Beach State Park, Mentor, Ohio

The dark horse of the best glassing beach contest, but just three votes shy of Davenport, here comes Headlands Beach! One voter commented, “Excellent variety of colors, textures, and larger well-frosted pieces,” which means we’ve all just added this to our glassing bucket list.

5. Monhegan Island, Lincoln County, Maine

Located about 10 miles off the coast of Maine, you’ll need a ferry or boat to get to this former artists’ colony, which has a current population of less than 100. But they say the sea glass is plentiful. “I find sea glass in so many different colors! And in a variety of sizes, too. And there’s lots to see and do on the island,” said a Monhegan voter.

6. Souris Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Known for its abundance of sea glass, or as one voter said, “sea glass galore,” Souris Beach Provincial Park is a neat and clean beach with a great boardwalk dotted with a few quaint shops. Another ballot cast for Souris came with the warning that “it can get picked over right quick so get there with the sun.” Duly noted.

7. Hamburg Beach, Hamburg, New York

Maybe because Glassing Magazine originates here (and so, too, many of our readers/voters) but people often underestimate good ol’ Lake Erie as a source of beach glass. Glassing’s editor and the husband once hauled home 12 lbs.—yes, pounds!—of beach glass on a winter day after about 2 hours of picking.

8. Simmons Island, Kenosha, Wisconsin

Simmons Island, Kenosha, Wisconsin

This Lake Michigan beach puts the Great Lakes twice on the winners’ page. Simmons Island in downtown Kenosha offers up great beach glass booty, but also a variety of fossils including trilobites, brachiopods, corals and crinoids, which are easy to come by. “My go to beach,” said one proud voter.

9. Queens Beach Park, Scarborough, Australia

Found on the western coast of Australia, and boasting a great walking path, is Queensland’s best glassing beach, as voted by Glassing readers, despite one supporter claiming, “Australia tends to not have the range of colors as other beaches in the world.” We can think of a few on Instagram who might disagree.

10. Parque Colon (Colon Park), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

Parque Colon (Colon Park), Aguadilla, Puerto Rico

“Bags full! Both sides of the river mouth will yield tons of goodies. Beautiful water,” said one voter about the beach in northeastern Puerto Rico. Note: the beaches of San Juan on the opposite side of Puerto Rico were "this close" to being on the list, until a tie-breaker vote put Aguadilla at No. 10. 

This article appeared in the Glassing Magazine May/June 2018 issue.

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