The ocean can do incredible, mind-blowing things. Water is one of Mother Nature's most powerful forces and when it comes to the points around the earth where the surf meets the sand, the outcome can often be beautiful and devastating. If the waves that roll up onto our favorite beaches can do things like eroding beaches and causing storm surges, imagine what they could do to a small piece of glass?
For those who don't know, this is exactly what beach/sea glass is. Fractured pieces of glass that have been lost in the ocean whether, tragically, by people littering or by boats at sea, or even by shipwrecks, as they get rolled constantly by the waves. This action of constant movement and friction eventually smooths the edges to the point where the glass is unrecognizable and looks akin to a stone. The difference between a stone and beach glass, though, is that the result of months and years of ocean tumbling has produced a colorful, vibrant, smooth piece of glass that can be used for practically any artistic endeavor. Nowadays, these small pieces can be worth money to those who seek rare colors and shapes.
Never, ever intentionally leave glass shards at the beach or throw them into a body of water. Sea glass sometimes takes years to be safe enough to pick up without jagged or sharp edges and, not only is it illegal to litter, but it could cause serious bodily harm to others who use the beach. This also defeats the purpose of 'hunting' for sea glass.
Grant Park Beach, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
Contrary to popular belief, you don't always need to go to a spot where the land meets the ocean in order to find sea glass. Grant Park Beach is located on Lake Michigan and is no longer a secret in terms of its beach glass finds.
Many people come from all around the region to hunt for unique pieces of rounded, polished glass along this beach, and the rarer the find, the more it's worth. The beach itself is filled with pebbles which is usually a good sign for beachcombers looking for beach glass, and occasionally bottle stoppers can also be found here along with pottery shards.
Seaham Beach, United Kingdom
Seaham Beach has a secret, and it involves a glass factory that was once just upwind on the coast. This has led to many interesting finds over the years and while it's a well-known beach glass hunting spot in the U.K., it's also one of the best.
If you get there early at low tide, you might just be able to find pieces before anyone else does. Beach glass is consistently being left along the beach and while it's a tough hunt with so many people, it's entirely possible to find some unique pieces here. According to Travel Awaits, the pieces of glass that were unusual and experimental were discarded into the sea, which means, eventually, they'll wash ashore once again.
Bovisand Beach, Devon, United Kingdom
Bovisand Beach isn't necessarily one that you'll find many sunbathers on as it's more a collection of sandy, rock-ridden coves than an actual beach. Once again, this is the perfect makings for a prime beach glass spot thanks to its high tides which keep the influx of unusual objects pretty high.
The trick is to venture fairly high up on the beach where there are some sandy patches, and it's usually here that colorful glass shards are left behind, perfect for picking. Since this beach isn't as popular as its other U.K. counterparts, there's a higher chance of finding something before another beachcomber does. Be wary of the weather, though, as it does get pretty dicey on these rocky shores.
Sea Glass Beach, Okinawa, Japan
Interestingly enough, Sea Glass Beach was rumored to be a dumping ground when it was under American occupation post World War II. With its natural beauty and gorgeous shoreline, it's hard to believe - but the beach glass that washes ashore would say otherwise.
It's not unusual to find bottle pieces and other unique finds along this beach if you look hard enough and even if you find nothing, it's still a gorgeous place to be on a sunny day. Out of all the best places in the world to find beach glass and to legally hunt for it, this beach is most likely to yield those unique colors and shapes. According to Travel Awaits, any number of colors from shades of yellow to purple-hued glass can be found here.