By Rebecca Ruger
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 beachcombers 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 know some sea glass collectors are loathe to share their favorite and best beachcombing spots. In fact, three votes submitted via the website actually go to “Secret Beach,” one each in Ohio, Maine, and New Jersey. 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
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. Removing large quantities of sea glass is discouraged. Read more:
- Road Trip to the North Coast: Fort Bragg, California
- Foam on the Crest of Waves, a novel set in Fort Bragg
2. Seaham Beach, Seaham, England
It’s on the bucket list of any true sea glass collector, 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 multis. Read more:
- Bucket List Destination: Seaham, England
- Beachcombing in Seaham England
- English Multis
- Multicolor Sea Glass and Hartley Wood & Company
- Dragon Glass
- Beachcombing in Seaham and Drilling Sea Glass for Jewelry (video)
- Extreme Beachcombing at Shippersea Bay (video)
- Seaham Sea Glass (video)
- Pocket Guide to Seaham Glass
3. Davenport Beach, Davenport, California
Four hours down the coast from Fort Bragg lies the town of Davenport, home to what the locals call Shark’s Tooth Beach and Shark Fin Cove. Down the cliffs here you will find the unique and famed sea glass, known the glassing world over because of its recognizable multi-colored patterns, remnants from a local art glass studio. Read more:
4. 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. Read more about beachcombing on Lake Erie:
- Lake Erie’s Glass Giant
- The Giant Blue Pickle
- Presque Isle State Park: Erie, Pennsylvania
- The Shipwrecks of Lake Erie
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. Read more:
- Beachcombing in Prince Edward Island
- Mermaid Tears Sea Glass Festival
- Mermaid Tears Seaglass Festival Photo Contest Winners
7. Hamburg Beach, Hamburg, New York
Glassing/Beachcombing Magazine started here (and so, too, many of our readers/voters) but people often underestimate good ol’ Lake Erie as a source of beach glass. My husband and I once hauled home 12 pounds—yes, pounds!—of beach glass on a winter day after about two hours of picking. Learn more about Great Lakes beachcombing:
- Beachcombing on Lake Superior (video)
8. 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. Read more about beachcombing on Lake Michigan:
- Grant Park Beach: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Lake Michigan: Beachcombing on the Ancient Sea Floor
- Leland Blue Stones: Happy Having the Blues
- Michigan: Thumbs Up to Lexington
- Urban Beachcombing
- Chicago's La Sirena and Urban Beachcombing
9. Queens Beach Park, Scarborough, Australia
Found on the eastern 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 quite a few who might disagree!
10. 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 northwestern 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. Read more about beachcombing in Puerto Rico:
- Beachcombing Destination: Puerto Rico
- Beachcombing in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Best Friends Trip to Old San Juan
- Harmony and Flow in Puerto Rico
Learn more about the best beaches and destinations for sea and beach glass, seashells, fossils, rocks, and more beach finds around the world. Articles ›
What’s on your beachcombing bucket list?
We asked thousands of beachcombers where they would most like to travel for a beachcombing getaway, if they could go anywhere. They shared their dream beachcombing destinations — places they’ve been to many times and spots they want to explore. Many listed specific beaches that they want to visit, and some named entire countries. Chosen by beachcombers around the world, these are the 2023 top 5 beach destinations for sea glassing and shelling.
thankyou for providing this useful information
Glass Beach Fort Bragg didn’t have any pieces larger than a lady bug, maybe slightly bigger. However the sound of the small pieces churning in the waves was pretty cool. Most pieces are really tiny. Still a unique place to visit.
Went to Simmons beach in Kenosha, today. Not a piece of sea glass, nor a pebble to be found. Just pristine sand.
I just left Souris Beach on Prince Edward Islsnd, Canada. There isn’t one piece of Seaglass there! Totally picked over!
Caused by drunks throwing beer bottles into the sea. Very antisocial
Thanks for the correction, Dazza!
Btw no9. Queensland is on the east coast of Australia not the West.
FYI it’s illegal to take sea glass from Fort Bragg so you probably shouldn’t have a blog post advertising an illegal activity that could get a lot of people in trouble.