Florida has some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in the world. These beaches are home to pristine sands, clear waters, and bountiful beach treasures. One such treasure is sea glass! I have found several sea glass pieces in California, and plan to visit Florida one day to add more to my collection. I live in a landlocked state, so I have found more beach glass than sea glass.
So, what is sea glass? Where can you find it? What Florida beaches have the best sea glass? Continue reading to find out all you need to know about finding sea glass in Florida!
1. Jensen Beach
Jensen Beach lies along the Atlantic Coast of Florida. Jensen Beach in Port St. Lucie is one of Florida’s best sea glass locations. The beach sits on a barrier island, giving it a lot of wave activity. This beach is home to pristine white sand and clear blue waters. There are a lot of sea shells along the beach, and sea glass is commonly found nearby.
Where to Look on Jensen Beach
Check after storms when the waves have churned up the seabed and brought the glass to the surface. Near the shoreline and where the waves have been crashing during high tide and tidal storms is the best place to find sea glass on Jensen Beach.
2. Siesta Key
Siesta Key is consistently ranked as the number one beach in the United States across various publications. Siesta Key consists of 3 major beaches, all of which are home to sea glass. Siesta Key is a popular vacation spot, so these beaches will have a good amount of traffic.
Where to Look in Siesta Key
Siesta Key is home to three beaches: Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach. Siesta Beach is the busiest beach. Siesta and Crescent beaches have white sand, while Turtle Beach has brown sand. Turtle Beach is the best place to find sea glass, and the beach is less busy than Siesta or Crescent. Check near the surf and look for shells!
Tips for Finding Sea Glass: Remember to grab a mesh bag when searching for sea glass. I’ll dip the bag into the water occasionally to clean the sand off.
3. Venice Beach
Near Venice Beach, Florida, you will find several beaches that are home to abundant sea glass. Mostly brown sea glass is collected here, but sometimes you can find clear, aqua, and green sea glass. Venice Beach is home to abundant fishing, surfing, dining, and shopping, and the beaches are pristine white sand making the sea glass stand out!
Where to Look in Venice Beach
Nokomis Beach, Casey Key, and Caspersen Beach are the best places near Venice Beach to find sea glass. Nokomis is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach and is a beautiful 14-mile white sandy beach with clear blue waters lapping at the shore. Casey Key is north of Nokomis Beach and is less crowded. Caspersen Beach has some sea glass, but visitors often find shark teeth and seashells.
Insider Tip: Check beaches during low tide. Low tide exposes more of the beach and increases your chances of finding sea glass!
4. Jupiter Island
Jupiter Island is another great area to check. The island is well-known for sea glass. It is a natural barrier island. Sea glass, shells, and other treasures are abundant here as the area is largely undeveloped. Spanish shipwrecks are likely the source of the sea glass in this area.
Where To Look on Jupiter Island
Coral Cove Park on Jupiter Island is a great location for finding sea glass. Whether you are in Coral Cove, or just strolling the Island, check near the surf. After storms is one of the best times to find sea glass as the ocean has churned up the sea bed.
Insider Tip: Jupiter Island is home to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. The museum offers tours, both guided and on your own, of this historic property.
5. Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island is one of the best locations to find sea shells in the country. However, it is also a great place to find sea glass! Sea glass of all colors has been found here. The most commonly found colors are brown, green, and blue. The white sandy beaches are a picturesque backdrop to the boldly colored sea glass and abundance of sea shells!
Where To Look on Sanibel Island
The very best places to look for sea glass on Sanibel Island are Lighthouse Beach and Bowman’s Beach. Sanibel’s sister island, Captiva Island, is another great location for finding sea glass. Check near the surf, especially after storms.
6. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is, like many Florida beaches, home to pristine white sands and clear, emerald waters. Aside from sea glass, you can also find sand dollars, sea shells, and various other beach treasures. The sugary white sands make spotting most sea glass easy! This family friendly beach is home to wild dolphins and makes for a great vacation spot or day trip.
Where To Look on Clearwater Beach
Check near the coastline, as with any beach. The best time to find sea glass is after a storm. As the storms churn up the water, new sea glass emerges and is washed onto the beach.
7. Daytona Beach
Aside from their renowned Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach is a family friendly beach with lots of fun things to do. The beach is a great place for fishing, biking, hiking, parasailing, and shell and sea glass hunting. Daytona Beach is wide and flat making the colorful shards of sea glass easy to spot. The light-colored sand provides a nice backdrop to the sea glass.
Where To Look on Daytona Beach
As with all beaches on this list, check near the surf. Look for seashells as sea glass is often found nearby. After a storm is one of the best times to search for sea glass. Keep in mind Daytona Beach is a popular location to visit, so get there early to find the best sea glass!
Insider Tip: Daytona Beach is known as “The World’s Most Famous Beach.” Known for its racing roots, it hosts some of the largest motorsport events globally. Visit the Riverfront Shops to find great souvenirs and spectacular dining.
A Quick History of Sea Glass
Sea glass is a beautiful, albeit unintended, collaboration between humans and nature. Glass has been produced by humans since around 3500 BCE. Sea glass forms when glass has found its way into the ocean. The water, waves, salt, and sand tumble the glass naturally, similar to a tumbler used to polish rocks, and the colorful bauble is now smooth as a stone. It can take many years, or even decades, for glass to become sea glass.
The best quality sea glass is completely smooth and frosted. The frosted look comes from soda and lime content, two common additives in the production of glass, that has dissolved from the salty sea water. Sea glass comes in all colors, but the most common colors are the most common bottle colors: brow, green, and white
Are Sea Glass and Beach Glass the Same Thing?
No, they are not. Sea glass is formed from year after year of tumbling around in the ocean. Sea glass is found on saltwater beaches, while beach glass is found on both saltwater and freshwater beaches. Beach glass can be found on lakes and rivers.
The main difference between the two types of glass is their appearance. The water is not as rough on lakes and certain saltwater beaches, so the glass will not be tumbled and polished like it is on other beaches. The soda and lime will not break down in the glass in freshwater settings like it does in saltwater areas. Beach glass will usually not be as frosted as sea glass and may still contain shiny patches.
Is It Legal to Collect Sea Glass on Public Beaches in Florida?
Yes. It is legal to collect sea glass in Florida, unless otherwise indicated. If there are signs on the beach, on websites, or in specific localities, it may be against the law to collect items from the beach. Florida, however, is known for being a beachgoer friendly state and taking items found on the beach is generally okay.
It should be noted that if you are in a historical site, or private property, you may be unable to remove sea glass from the beach or water. There will be signs stating such if the area is off limits.
Why Are Some Beaches Better Than Others for Finding Sea Glass?
Beaches where people have travelled to and from for centuries are some of the best locations for sea glass. Beaches in the Northern and Eastern United States, Mexico, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and Scotland are all notable places where sea glass has been found. Rocky or pebbly beaches are also great for finding sea glass because the glass gets trapped in the small stones and does not wash back into the sea.
Tips For Finding Sea Glass
It pays to keep sea glass’s origins in mind when choosing a location to hunt for sea glass. Areas where human settlement has occurred at some point will have a higher chance of sea glass. Places where there was historic marine traffic, or along a major marine route, will have a high chance of seeing sea glass.
Low tide is the best time to hunt for sea glass as more of the beach is exposed. Check tide charts to plan when you hunt. Also, remember to check the forecast. You do not want to hunt during a storm, but after a storm is one of the best times to find newly washed ashore sea glass.
Tides tend to be more dramatic in the northern hemisphere, so northern beaches are some of the best places to check for sea glass. Tide fluctuations help move more material and help smooth the edges of the glass down to their sea glass form.
Beaches with less traffic will have more undiscovered sea glass than busier locations. Many beaches are home to sea glass if you put in the work to find it. Do a whole day of searching the beaches. It is a good activity for getting the whole family up and moving!
Do I Need Special Tools to Find Sea Glass?
While no equipment is necessary, there are a few things that can make your search for sea glass a bit easier. First, a small plastic rake or kitty litter scoop. This may sound strange, but the rake helps pull back areas of wet sand quickly. The kitty litter scoop can filter out sand, leaving rocks and sea glass only.
Sturdy walking shoes are also recommended, especially if you will be walking along a rocky beach, or walking down embankments. Make sure they are non-slip as wet rocks can be dangerous!
You may also want to take along a small bag or pail to keep any sea glass you find. This way it will not fall out of a pocket or your hand while searching for more.
Ideas For Displaying Sea Glass
There are countless ways to display your sea glass. Many people use them for craft projects, while others collect them in pretty jars, jugs, or mirror box frames. You can use them to spruce up a flower pot. You can use them in a fish tank (ensure they are properly cleaned before adding to a fish tank!).
One of the coolest uses I have seen for sea glass is almost like a mobile for a baby crib. The creator used starfish as the top and strung hundreds of pieces of sea glass on string from the center of each starfish. This makes a lovely addition to a home!
Another creative way to display sea glass is to use it like mosaic tiles in stone pathways or tabletops. This lets you add a variety of colors, and even other items found on the beach like shells, into the mosaic. Learn more about ways to display sea glass here: https://lovelygreens.com/30-sea-glass-ideas-and-projects/
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More Info for Florida Sea Glass
- Pass-A-Grille Beach, Website: https://www.visitstpeteclearwater.com/list/pass-grille-beach/239 Pass-A-Grille Beach, situated in St. Pete Beach, Florida, is known for its scenic beauty and is a potential spot for finding sea glass.
- Sanibel Island, Website: https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/discover/beaches/sanibel-island Sanibel Island in Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and is a popular spot for finding sea glass.
- Seaham Sea Glass, Website: https://www.seaham-seaglass.co.uk/ Although not specific to Florida, Seaham Sea Glass provides a list of beaches around the world where sea glass can be found, including some in Florida.