USA TODAY: The Best Sea Glass Beaches
Raechel Donahue, Demand Media
On certain beaches around the world, you will see excited beachcombers bent over their pails and regarding their finds with glee. It's not seashells they are gathering, but colorful sea glass. These treasures are formed from discarded bottles and other types of glass left on the beach or tossed into the sea. The waves and currents break the glass and tumble the pieces until they are smooth and gem-like. Sometimes hunters will find only a few pieces, but many beaches are made almost entirely of sea glass instead of sand. There are hundreds of sea glass beaches around the world but many of the very best ones are in or near the U.S.
Fort Bragg in California
Located in Northern California's Mendocino County, Fort Bragg's aptly named Glass Beach is a cove completely covered in colored sea glass. The reason is that this area was once an actual dump. Time and nature have combined to transform trash into treasure, but you must not remove any glass from the northern section of the beach, as it is part of a state park. However, if you head south at the edge of the bluff, you'll find a path that leads to another unprotected beach where you may take glass; it's not as plentiful as on Glass Beach, but it's legal.
Fort Bragg is one of California's best sea glass beaches.
Kauai Island in Hawaii
Known as the Garden Isle for its lush vegetation, Kauai also is home to Glass Beach, and there are millions of small, smooth glass pebbles in blue, aqua, brown, green and occasionally red. The glittering beach is the result of the neighboring Swiss Cheese Shoreline, a lava rock network of holes that trap and batter the glass that eventually makes it up to the beach. Near Poipu on Kauai's southern end, it's not easy to get to, but for a sea glass collector, it's worth the trip.
Located in the North Atlantic some 770 miles from Boston and New York, Bermuda is known for its azure waters and pink beaches. But it also has a rich history as a British colony, privateer port and Revolutionary War port - let's just say a lot of bottles got thrown overboard. Thanks to the jagged reefs, shipwrecks, and hurricane assaults, the island's beaches have a good collection of sea glass. Alexandra Battery Beach is on the former site of an 1860s fort and is prime hunting ground for the frosty glass created by the PH factor of the saltwater. Keep your eyes peeled for random sea glass art created by local beachcombers.
Puerto Rico's Vieques
Vieques, known to locals as "Baby Girl Island," is a small Caribbean island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Long controlled by the military, Vieques is still relatively unspoiled and sea glass collectors come from far and wide to see the bits of broken bottles, dishes and even old car taillights that wash ashore, especially on the northern beach of Playa Cofi. Vieques is a half-hour flight from San Juan and U.S. citizens do not need a passport to visit.