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Finding sea glass, colorful pieces of glass that have tumbled naturally in the ocean surf, is one of the best rewards of beachcombing. Like finding seashells, sand dollars, agates, and driftwood, sea glass is a beautiful treasure.

Knowing when and where to look for the glass is important. In addition to looking in the main part of the beach (especially pebbly beaches), you might have luck checking in nooks and crannies of fixed rocks, in creek beds, and at the ends of the beach. Often times they are in the surf getting rolled around, but be careful near the waves if you look there. Low tide is typically the best time to search (check tide tables).

If you find sea glass we recommend that you leave it at the beach (take pictures) or remove no more than one piece for yourself.

The best beaches with sea glass are old trash dump sites along the coast. It’s hard to believe but people used to dump their garbage on the shores of our beautiful beaches. In some cases it was dumped behind the beach or dunes, but erosion moved the beach to where the trash was dumped in years prior.

Glass Beach and Sand City Beach are the best examples of garbage dump sites that have turned into sea glass. The former has smaller pieces of glass that are very well tumbled (see pictures), and the latter has larger glass chunks that can be smooth and even sharp still. Note that it is illegal to take any glass from Glass Beach.

Glass Beach in Fort Bragg

At other beaches where sea glass is commonly found (see the list below), it may not have been a dumping spot per se, but bottles left at the beach (or tossed from the bluff) over time were smashed on rocks and then churned in the surf.

White/clear, green, and brown colors are most common (typical bottle glass), but sometimes you’ll find shades of blue and even red sea glass. Colors like yellow, orange and purple are much less common.

No matter how the glass got there, it’s nice that Mother Nature knows how to make it pretty and get rid of the sharp edges.

Below are beaches where we have seen sea glass. They are listed south to north. Let us know in the comments if you have found other places.


Beaches on this list

  • South Imperial Beach

    Imperial Beach continues south of Imperial Beach Boulevard all the way to the southern end of Seacoast Drive. South Imperial Beach is not as wide as the main Imperial Beach […]

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  • North Pacific Beach

    North Pacific Beach is north of the Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach and south of Tourmaline Beach. This wide sandy beach located below a steep bluff in the Pacific Beach district […]

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  • Shell Beach

    Shell Beach in La Jolla is located at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park. At this spot there is long set of stairs that takes you from the […]

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  • Cardiff State Beach – Seaside Beach

    Seaside Beach is a sandy beach in Cardiff State Beach at the border between Solana Beach and the Cardiff-by-the-Sea area of Encinitas, CA. Cardiff State Beach is the long sandy strip along […]

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  • Doheny State Beach – South Beach

    The South Beach of Doheny State Beach is on the south side of San Juan Creek in Dana Point, CA. This southern area of the state park has a large […]

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  • Diver’s Cove

    Diver’s Cove Beach is at the west end of Heisler Park near downtown Laguna Beach, CA. The beach is right below and just east of the Divers Cove Condominium building. […]

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  • Crystal Cove State Park – Moro Beach

    Moro Beach is the southern beach in Crystal Cove State Park located between Laguna Beach and the Corona Del Mar area of Newport Beach, CA. For many years this was […]

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  • Little Corona Del Mar Beach

    Little Corona Del Mar Beach is a popular small beach at the end of a ravine called Buck Gully in the Newport Beach neighborhood of Corona Del Mar. This is […]

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  • Huntington Dog Beach

    Huntington Dog Beach is a dog-friendly strand at the northern end of Huntington Beach City Beach. The zone where dogs are allowed on the beach is located between Seapoint Street […]

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  • Torrance Beach

    Torrance Beach is a long wide sandy beach (and the only beach) in the city of Torrance, California. This is the southernmost of the big beaches on Santa Monica Bay […]

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  • Redondo County Beach

    Redondo County Beach is a 1.5 mile long sandy beach that makes up the waterfront of Redondo Beach, CA. The main part of Redondo County Beach starts at the Redondo […]

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  • Carbon Beach – West Access

    The newest beach access in LA County is the Ackerberg Access to Carbon Beach. After years of litigation, it finally opened in late June 2015. Officially it has been named the […]

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  • Malibu Surfrider Beach

    Malibu Surfrider Beach is the popular sandy beach and surfing spot between the Malibu Pier and the Malibu Lagoon. Surfrider Beach is part of Malibu Lagoon State Beach which has […]

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  • Zuma Beach

    Zuma Beach is a Los Angeles county park facility in Malibu. It’s a long wide beach with enough parking spaces for the Superbowl. The main beach at Zuma is about […]

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  • Leo Carrillo State Park – South Beach

    South Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is a sandy spot near the mouth of a creek that flows out (rarely) from Arroyo Sequit. This dry wash drains part of […]

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  • Silver Strand Beach

    Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard, Ventura County stretches from the Channel Islands Harbor entrance to the Port Hueneme Harbor entrance. The wide sandy beach is backed by many tightly packed […]

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  • Oxnard Beach Park

    Oxnard Beach Park is on a wide sandy beach in Oxnard, California. The beach makes up the shoreline between Hollywood Beach to the south and Mandalay Beach to the north. […]

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  • Seaward Avenue Beach

    Seaward Avenue Beach is the wide sandy beach in front of Ventura’s Seaward Avenue Beach District. This neighborhood and shopping area is centered on the intersection of Pierpont Boulevard and […]

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  • Summerland Beach at Lookout Park

    Lookout Park is the main beachfront park in the small town of Summerland, CA. Summerland Beach is right below this lovely park. The park is operated by Santa Barbara County […]

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  • Hammonds Beach

    Hammonds Beach is a locals beach and a surfing spot in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara County. The beach here is a nice sandy spot hidden away amongst homes […]

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  • Arroyo Burro Beach

    Arroyo Burro Beach County Park is the official name of what Santa Barbara locals call Hendry’s Beach. This beach is surrounded by tall bluffs with parks and trails on top […]

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  • Avila Beach City Beach

    Avila Beach City Beach is the large wide sandy beach that takes up the entire waterfront of the town of Avila Beach, CA. The picturesque wooden Avila Pier sticks out […]

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  • North Point Beach

    North Point is a small park with a natural area of brush and dunes just north of Morro Bay, CA. The park (signed Northpoint) is just over one acre in […]

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  • Moonstone Beach

    Moonstone Beach is along Moonstone Beach Drive which parallels Highway 1 in northern Cambria, California. The shoreline here is made up of brown sandy coves separated by rocky bluffs. At […]

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  • Cayucos State Beach

    Cayucos State Beach is right on the waterfront in the town of Cayucos, California. The Cayucos Pier is a popular old wooden fishing pier that juts out from the beach […]

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  • McAbee Beach

    McAbee Beach is located in the heart of the Cannery Row area of Monterey, CA. At high tide it’s a small cove with smooth boulders and just enough sand to […]

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  • Sand City Beach

    The small city of Sand City, California is completely wrapped around by the city of Seaside. Once an industrial area along the shoreline, Sand City Beach is going through changes. […]

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  • Seacliff State Beach

    Seacliff State Beach is a long sandy beach on the waterfront of Aptos, CA. This is a great place for sunbathing or walking the sandy shores of Monterey Bay in […]

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  • Davenport Beach

    Davenport Beach, a.k.a. San Vicente Beach, is the southern beach of two beaches right in the little town of Davenport, California. This beach is easily accessible and the other one […]

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  • Gazos Creek Beach

    Gazos Creek Beach Access is the northernmost part of Ano Nuevo State Reserve in southern San Mateo County. There is a parking lot just off Highway 1 north of a […]

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  • Ross Cove Beach

    Ross Cove Beach is on the north side of Pillar Point between Half Moon Bay and the city of Moss Beach. The cove is inside the boundary of the San […]

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  • Coyote Point Beach

    The Coyote Point Park and Recreation Area is located on a point in San Francisco Bay about half-way between San Francisco International Airport and the San Mateo Bridge. The recreation […]

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  • Ocean Beach

    Ocean Beach is a long beach spanning the entire Sunset District of San Francisco from Cliff House south to Sloat Boulevard. It’s also a wide beach especially when compared to […]

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  • Muir Beach

    Muir Beach (the beach) is part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and located in the small town of Muir Beach, California. Redwood Creek flows down to the ocean here, […]

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  • Albion Flat Beach

    Albion Flat Beach is at the back of a protected cove below a picturesque Highway 1 bridge. The Albion River Bridge is a combination of wooden trestle and deck truss […]

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  • Glass Beach

    Glass Beach is the well-known southern beach of MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg. Glass Beach gets its name from the smooth colorful glass pieces that you can find mixed […]

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  • South Beach

    South Beach is a locals beach just south of Crescent City Harbor where Highway 101 rolls into town. It’s a wide sandy beach that is partially protected from the west […]

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