Massachusetts Sea Glass

7 Best Beaches to Find Sea Glass in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has a long history: from the Native Americans to the English settlers of the 1600s to the formation of the Commonwealth in the 18th century. Massachusetts’s history includes the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the abolitionist movement, and the development of media and arts in America.

While visiting the Boston area, my family and I decided to find some beaches and see if we could find some sea glass or other relics. Massachusetts has many great historical areas and beaches where sea glass is commonly found.

Sunrise and sea glass in Massachusetts
Sunrise and sea glass in Massachusetts

1. Pavilion Beach

Pavilion Beach is near downtown Gloucester. It is a great spot to wander and relax. The beach is near restaurants, shopping, and the famous Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial. There are several vacation rental homes and hotels nearby. Pavilion Beach is home to the “Greasy Pole Challenge” held during the St. Peter’s Fiesta in June. This festival honors the patron saint of fishermen.

Where to Find Sea Glass on Pavilion Beach

Pavilion Beach is a rocky beach, which makes it perfect for finding sea glass! All you need to do is look down! Check along the rocky beach, and near the surf to find some beautiful pieces of sea glass!

Insider Tip: Gloucester can take you back in time……to the Medieval Era! Gloucester’s Hammond Castle was constructed by eccentric inventor John Hays Hammond in the 1920s and features a vast collection of Renaissance, Medieval, and Roman artifacts. Learn more here:

2. Nantasket Beach

Nantasket Beach is about an hour south of Boston. This is one of the busiest beaches in Massachusetts in the summertime. Sea glass is commonly found here, especially after storms and high tides. The beach is open year-round. While searching for sea glass here, check out the views at sunset and sunrise. They are breathtaking!

Where to Find Sea Glass on Nantasket Beach

Most of the mile-long beach is sand, so look for the areas of pebbles of rocks and look there. Some of the best pieces have been found under the gray stones that litter the beach.

3. Front and Back Beaches

Sea Glass on Front and Back Beaches
Sea Glass on Front and Back Beaches

Front and Back Beaches are found in Rockport and are in a small inlet. This allows ocean debris to wash in. Front Beach is not as rocky as Back Beach but there are still some smaller pieces of sea glass here. The beaches are near downtown Rockport, with hotels, shopping, and restaurants.

Where to Find Sea Glass on Front and Back Beaches

Look for any areas with pebbles or rocks, especially during low tide. Some pieces may be washed up onto the sandy shores, so scan carefully!

4. Devereux Beach

Devereaux Beach is in Marblehead and is a great spot to search for sea glass! This beach has a lot of pebbles so there is a lot of sea glass stuck among the rocks. This 5.5-acre beach has camp sites, restrooms, picnic tables, a playground, volleyball net, and pavilion rentals. It is also near a restaurant.

An afternoon of searching for sea glass
An afternoon of searching for sea glass

Where to Find Sea Glass on Devereux Beach

Because the beach is very rocky, look among the rocky areas carefully. It can be difficult to spot the sea glass in this area because of the number of rocks. Try searching at sunset or sunrise as having the sun lower in the sky makes it easier to see the cloudy glass among the shiny rocks.

Here’s a shortcut map link to Devereux Beach 👉

5. Long Beach

Long Beach is found in Warren Cover near Plymouth. It is at the end of a long barrier beach so everything the tides bring in gets caught here. This sandy beach is lined with picturesque cottages and known for good surfing, twin lighthouses, and amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Where to Find Sea Glass on Long Beach

Check along the low and high tide lines. The waves leave the most rocks and debris. Also check any areas with pebbles. Check while the sun is low in the sky to catch light glinting off the glass and rocks in different ways. It makes it easier to separate the glass from the rocks.

6. Craigville Beach

Craigville Beach is in Centerville and is a popular beach south of Martha’s Vineyard. It features restrooms, a snack bar, parking area, and a lifeguard. The beach has a basin shape, so it is a magnet for sea glass. Because this beach is very popular, try searching for sea glass in the off season, fall through early spring.

Where to Find Sea Glass on Craigville Beach

This beach is in the gap between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, so the currents around Cape Cod allow sea glass to flow right up to the shore. Check near the surf line, and near any rocky or pebbly areas. Keep an eye out for turquois sea glass as that is common here!

To help find your way, here’s a shortcut Google Map link to Craigville Beach 👉

7. Skaket Beach

Skaket Beach is along the northern hook of Cape Cod. It forms a catch for currents from Maine, New Hampshire, North Shore, and Boston. This makes it a great place to find sea glass! Summer access can be challenging as the beach is busy. Try searching during the off season for a better chance of finding sea glass. There are private areas of the island so make sure you avoid any private property.

Where to Find Sea Glass on Skaket Beach

Check near the water’s edge, especially during low tide. Low tide will uncover more of the beach to search. Look for any piles of pebbles or stones.

Insider Tip: While visiting the Cape Cod area, take the ferry to Nantucket. Nantucket was founded in 1659, and Quaker missionaries settled during the 18th century. This area was once the center of the whaling industry. The island has miles of beaches, cycling paths, and many other historic attractions. Learn more here:

A Brief History of Sea Glass

Sea glass begins its life as ordinary glass: bottles, jars, old vehicle headlights, even windshields. Before municipalities had landfills, people would dump their trash into the ocean. Even in today’s world, plenty of trash finds its way into the oceans. As this glass thrashes around in the seas, it gets tumbled and polished against the sand and rocks.

Beautiful Sea Glass
Beautiful Sea Glass

Over time, this glass is smoothed, and the chemicals in the ocean react with the glass itself to give it a frosted look. Sea glass comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. White, brown, and green are the most common colors of sea glass. Rarer colors include aqua and light blues, cobalt, and cornflower blues, red, orange and turquois.

Is It Legal to Gather Sea Glass in Massachusetts?

It is legal to gather sea glass in the state of Massachusetts. One exception is Spectacle Island. While this is a great place to see sea glass and other relics, it is forbidden to remove anything from the island. If you find anything on the island, Park Rangers ask that you return items to them or the Visitor’s Center.

Tips for Finding Sea Glass

Sea glass is found on beaches all over the world. To find true sea glass, you want to search on ocean beaches, not lake beaches. Large lakes, like the Great Lakes, can contain glass like sea glass.

This glass is called beach glass because it forms the same way as sea glass, but without the chemicals found in salt water. Freshwater glass does not have the frosted appearance of sea glass.

Salt water sea glass has a frosted appearance
Salt water sea glass has a frosted appearance

One of the main tips for finding sea glass is to look in areas with pebbles and rocks along the beach. As the tides wash over these rocks, they push pieces of glass into the rocky areas. The rocky areas act as a catch for the sea glass.

Check during low tide to search areas usually covered by water. Check during sunrise or sunset as the lower sun will make spotting the differences between rocks and sea glass easier. Check after storms and during the spring months for anything washed up from the churning seas.

The off season is the best time of year to find sea glass. The beaches are less crowded, and you will have an easier time finding glass. The summer months are busy in Massachusetts so check from late fall through spring.

Tools for Finding Sea Glass

There are no special tools needed to find sea glass. However, there are a couple of items that make searching for sea glass easier. One item I like to take with me is a cat liter scoop. This scoop makes it easier to separate sand from rocks and glass.

You may want to take along some gloves and non-slip shoes. Gloves will help protect your hands from scraping on rocks or freshly broken glass or metals. Non-slip shoes will help you keep your balance in slippery areas in the water.

Another thing I like to have when searching for sea glass is a pouch or bag to keep any sea glass I find. This keeps it safe, so I do not lose it.

Why Are Some Beaches Better for Sea Glass Than Others?

Beaches along the northern half of the planet typically have more sea glass. This is because areas with stronger tides move the glass shards better and wear them down more. Tides are more dramatic in the northern hemisphere.

Beaches prone to storms may also have more sea glass. Again, this has to do with the tides. Storms churn up the tides which churn up more of the ocean floor, moving sediment great distances. These sediments, along with any glass they may be carrying, washes up onto the beaches.

Some beaches simply are not along a strong enough current for sea glass to wash up. Or their tides come from areas where glass was not typically thrown into the ocean.

What to Do with Sea Glass

You can make fun wall hangings with sea glass and wood
You can make fun wall hangings with sea glass and wood

There are so many craft activities to do with sea glass. One of my favorite things to do is fill a tall jar with sea glass shards. The multiple colors and shapes make a very nice addition to the décor of my home.

I have seen people use sea glass like mosaic tiles. You can use them to make table tops, trivets, or even walking stones.

One of my favorite uses for sea glass is a simple piece of wall art. Take a natural stick about 4 feet long and tie some fishing line on. Drape it down and along each piece of fishing line, tie on some sea glass pieces. It is almost a mobile of sea glass that looks great as wall art.

You can also add it to flower pots and potted plants to cover the soil. This makes for a beautiful addition to your garden pots!

Beach Wanderings

Massachusetts is a fantastic state to explore! From the earliest histories of the Native American inhabitants to the later English settlers to modern times, there is something for everyone in the Bay State. There is so much to see and do while visiting Massachusetts.

Be sure to search the local beaches in Massachusetts for sea glass! Sea glass is commonly found on many beaches in the state. It is legal to pick up sea glass on most beaches but be aware that some beaches may prohibit this activity. Always check local regulations before you collect anything from the beach! So, get out there and explore!

Malory Ericksen discovered metal detecting in 2015, initially unearthing nails and pull tabs in Idaho. The finding of an old railroad tie cemented her passion for the hobby. Now in Utah, she delights in uncovering historical treasures, driven by her love for history.

Read Malory’s complete bio 👉 About Malory Ericksen

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