How to Collect Sea Glass on Kauai, Hawaii


Not many people throw a bottle into the sea anymore to see where it pops up in the world. Sea glass is shards of glass that have been dumped into the ocean that later wash up on beaches. Pounded by rocks and waves over time to resemble smooth stones or jelly beans, sea glass is becoming more and more rare. The wide use of plastic combined with tightened pollution laws have ensured that huge quantities of glass are no longer dumped into the ocean as a means of disposal. However, Glass Beach on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, is still a treasure trove for sea glass hunters.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-gallon bucket
  • Beach-walking shoes
  • Find Glass Beach on the island of Kauai. Travel to the southern end of the island to the town of Ele'ele on Hanapepe Bay. Take Highway 50 to Highway 541 at Waialo Road, where a dirt road leads to the black sand beach. Glass Beach is not mentioned in most tourist publications and there are no signs pointing the way.

  • Bring a 1-gallon bucket or smaller container. Due to the scarcity of sea glass, you are only allowed to collect 1 gallon or less of glass each day.

  • Arrive early with good beach-walking shoes. Sea glass is prized for its beauty in floral arrangements, home decor, jewelry and other uses; therefore, the competition to find beautiful examples is stiff.

  • Search for sea glass on the beach. Check between rock crevices and other outcroppings along the rocky shore. Some days will be better than others for your search. Glass Beach is not a swimming beach, so everyone you see will also be out collecting sea glass.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sea glass comes from any type of glass articles that have been thrown into the sea. The most common colors are clear, amber, white, light blue, aqua and green. The rarest colors are red, yellow, orange, cobalt, turquoise, gray and teal.


  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
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