On my last visit to New Jersey, while my husband was busy with conference calls, I found myself with time to spare—a perfect opportunity to indulge in my favorite pastime.
As a Utah native, the lure of The Shore’s expansive coastline, so different from our mountainous landscapes, was irresistible. There, amidst the rhythmic ebb and flow of the Atlantic, I set out on a quest for sea glass, those elusive fragments of history that the ocean kindly polishes and offers up to the shore.
Now, with another trip to the east coast on the horizon, I’m filled with anticipation for the treasures I’ll find. The Shore beckons with its myriad of beaches, each stretch of sand a new chapter in my sea glass story.
So, join me as we delve into the best spots to uncover these colorful, sea-worn gems that New Jersey so generously shares.
- 1. Sunset Beach
- 2. Stone Harbor Beach
- 3. Manasquan Beach
- 4. Point Pleasant Beach
- 5. Long Beach Island
- 6. Spring Lake Beach
- 7. Sea Isle City Beach
- Is It Legal for Me To Collect Sea Glass in New Jersey?
- What is Sea Glass? A Brief History
- Why is Sea Glass Found on Some Beaches but Not Others?
- Do I Need Any Tools to Find Sea Glass?
- Tips For Finding Sea Glass
- What Can I Do with Sea Glass?
- Beach Wanderings
1. Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is on the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula, where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic. This beach is mostly small pebbles, and what are lovingly referred to as Cape May Diamonds, clear quartz pieces that have been polished and tumbled like the sea glass you are searching for! These are another great souvenir to take with you while searching for sea glass on Sunset Beach.
Where to Find Sea Glass on Sunset Beach
The beach is mostly pebbles, so you can find sea glass all over this beach. Check near the shore, especially after a storm or at low tide.
2. Stone Harbor Beach
Stone Harbor is a cute little town at the midpoint along Jersey Cape’s 30 miles beach front. The area has restaurants, shopping districts, and hotels. You can fish, jet ski, sail, surf, swim, play sports, and collect shells and sea glass on Stone Harbor Beach!
Where to Find Sea Glass on Stone Harbor Beach
Check in any areas with rocks and pebbles. These are the best areas to find sea glass. Also check along the shore during low tide. You will want to use your sand scoop or kitty litter scoop to filter out the sand along Stone Harbor Beach.
Insider Tip: While visiting Stone Harbor Beach, check out the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary. This is the only municipality sponsored heronry in the country. It is a National Landmark of the National Park Service, covering a 21-acre area with American egrets, cattle egrets, glossy ibises, Louisiana herons, snowy egrets, and yellow and black crowned night egrets. Learn more here: https://stoneharborbirdsanctuary.com/
3. Manasquan Beach
Manasquan Beach is one of the top beaches in New Jersey. This mile-long stretch of sand is a great place to spend the day with family and friends. There is a pizza place, deli, arcade, and restrooms nearby. The area is a great place to surf and has year-round activities like fishing and beach sports.
Where to Find Sea Glass on Manasquan Beach
Check near the surf, during low tide and after storms. Also check areas with rocks and pebbles. Search carefully as the glass tends to blend with the pebbles and can be buried in the sand!
4. Point Pleasant Beach
Point Pleasant, New Jersey has private and public access beaches, so make sure you stick to the public areas unless you have permission to be in the private areas! This beach is a popular area for swimming and surfing. Make sure to pay attention to the warning signs that denote whether it is safe to be in or near the water. The beach is close to shopping, hotels, and dining.
Where to Find Sea Glass on Point Pleasant Beach
Point Pleasant Beach has areas with pebbles, so check these areas thoroughly. They are the best places to find sea glass. You can also check near the shoreline, and after storms.
Here’s a Google Map link to Point Pleasant Beach 👉 Point Pleasant Beach Map
5. Long Beach Island
Long Beach Island features 18 miles of beaches. These beaches are a great place to relax and search for sea glass and other treasures! There are several towns along this island, and each is a unique place to explore.
Where to Find Sea Glass on Long Beach Island
Check along all shorelines. Look for any areas with pebbles or stones and check thoroughly. Make sure you are not on private beaches while scouring for sea glass.
6. Spring Lake Beach
Spring Lake, lovingly called the Irish Riviera, was a popular vacation spot for the Victorian elite in the 1800s. You can rent a place at the Historic Inns of Spring Lake, head to the boardwalk, and catch one of the festivals the town holds annually. Even during peak summer months, the beach is not crowded and provides a laid-back atmosphere. Spring Lake Beach is home to the state’s longest non-commercial boardwalk.
Where to Find Sea Glass on Spring Lake Beach
Check near the water’s edge. Also look for any areas with rocks or pebbles. Check after storms for the best chance of finding washed up sea glass.
7. Sea Isle City Beach
Sea Isle City, found between Cape May and Atlantic City, is a great place for swimming, volleyball, kayaking, and kiteboarding. Sea Isle City offers free beach days on Wednesdays, so take advantage of this deal! The beach is 5-miles of sandy bliss and is well-maintained. It is also a great place to bird watch!
Where to Find Sea Glass on Sea Isle City Beach
Because the beach is relatively sandy, you may want to use a sand scoop near the shoreline to scoop up any buried sea glass. You may also find some seashells here! Check for areas with pebbles and rocks.
Here’s a Google Map link to Sea Isle City Beach 👉 Sea Isle City Beach Map
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Is It Legal for Me To Collect Sea Glass in New Jersey?
Collecting sea glass in New Jersey is legal. As with all locations, make sure you are not searching on private property, National Park or National Monument, or NJ State Lands. Some of these areas may allow you to pick up sea glass but you will need to obtain permission first.
Always make sure you speak to park rangers before you hunt sea glass to make sure it is legal in the area you plan to hunt. You can contact park rangers, city managers, or even as the lifeguard on the beach if it is okay to search and take sea glass in the area you are exploring.
What is Sea Glass? A Brief History
Sea glass began its life as regular, every day, household glass. This glass found its way into the ocean, a lot of times from dumping trash into the oceans. This glass has been weathered chemically and physically as it tumbles through the oceans of the world.
Items like glass bottles, tableware, vehicle headlights, shipwreck items, etc. find their way into the oceans. This glass is weathered by the saltwater and sand in the ocean, much like a natural rock tumbler. The once sharp edges are smoothed, and a polishes surface with a frosty appearance.
There are a variety of colors of sea glass. The most found are white, green, and brown. Olive greens and pale ambers are rarer. Light greens, pale aqua, amber, darker greens, rarer still. Cobalt blue, lavender, aqua, light blue, lime green, red, orange, yellow, gray, teal, pink and milk glass are the rarest colors to find. Learn more about the rarity of sea glass colors here: https://cfaes.osu.edu/sites/cfaes_main/files/events/ctsandbox/Beach%2520Glass%2520Colors_27.pdf
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Why is Sea Glass Found on Some Beaches but Not Others?
Sea glass has the potential to be on the shores of every beach in the world. However, it is mostly found in the northern hemisphere. The reasons for this are the shifting tides. The tides are more extreme int eh northern hemisphere, meaning more glass and sand and debris are pushed around. The direction of the tides determines where the glass will wash ashore.
Beaches with a lot of rocks or pebbles tend to have more sea glass on them. This is because the glass washes into the rocks and gets stuck. On a sandy beach, the glass can be pulled back out into the ocean or buried under the sand.
Do I Need Any Tools to Find Sea Glass?
No special tools are required to find sea glass. There are, however, a few tools that make searching for and finding sea glass a little bit easier. I like to take along a kitty litter scoop or metal detecting sand scoop. Both items will filter out sand, leaving the rocks and any sea glass in the scoop. This makes it easier when searching in areas with lots of sand.
I also take a long a pouch or bag to carry any sea glass or sea shells I find in. This keeps my finds safe and sound while I continue searching for more! I also take along a grocery sack to put any trash I find inside. Leave the areas cleaner than when you found them!
If you plan to hunt on a beach with large rocks in the water, make sure you have good, non-slip shoes. You do not want to risk slipping and falling. This could really hurt you! I like to take a pair of gloves, too. This keeps your hands safe from scraping on rocks, broken glass, or metals.
Tips For Finding Sea Glass
The best time of year to search for sea glass is during the off-season. This is the time of year when the beaches are less populated. If the beaches have a lot of people, there may not be any sea glass left to find. Try searching from fall through early spring for the best chance.
Try searching for sea glass after a storm. Storms churn up the ocean and push more debris onto the shore. Larger storms, like hurricanes, will cause a lot of sand and debris to move. Make sure it is safe, and the weather is clear before you head out.
When looking for sea glass, it can be difficult to differentiate between the rocks and pieces of sea glass. Try looking for glass at sunrise or sunset. Having the sun low in the sky, and at your back, will make it easier to tell the difference between the rocks and sea glass.
What Can I Do with Sea Glass?
There are a lot of things you can do with sea glass once you collect it! I have seen people make unique jewelry, stepping stones, and other decorative items. The options are limited only to your imagination!
One of my favorite things to do with sea glass is to simply put it in a clear jar, and maybe add a few small LED lights to the jar. This is a beautiful decoration and looks amazing with the lights glinting off the different colors of sea glass!
I have seen some people use sea glass like mosaic tiles. Countertops, tabletops, stepping stones, and wall art can all be created using glass this way.
You can also get a nice frame and divide the frame into sections to showcase your finds.
Click here to find more options for using sea glass! https://lovelygreens.com/30-sea-glass-ideas-and-projects/
Insider Tip: One of the best places to visit in New Jersey is the Atlantic City Boardwalk. This boardwalk is 4-miles long and was constructed in 1870. It features the iconic Steel Pier, a 1,000-foot-long amusement park with rides and fun for all ages. You can also check out the Entrance to the Stars, with handprints from many famous celebrities. Learn more here: https://www.atlanticcitynj.com/explore/attractions/details/?id=26732
New Jersey is a historic and beautiful state to visit. The Shore is a well-known place to relax and vacation. Try hitting the beaches during the off-season so you will not be inundated by tourists and other recreators. Sea glass has been found along most of New Jersey’s 140-miles of shoreline. So, any beach you visit will have a chance of providing some sea glass!
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