Glass Beach

Glass Beach – Where to Enjoy Beautiful Sea Glass Sands in South Shore Kauai
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you want to see gorgeous sea glass set against black sands, you cannot go wrong with a trip to Glass Beach in South Shore Kauai. Although you might see people taking sand as a memento, it’s best to respect the land by leaving it be. Instead, simply enjoy the view in the moment and take imaginative photos of your trip to the beach.

- The Local Expert Team

Through the mindless dumping of glass bottles, windshields, and everything in between, Glass Beach was born. As the glass debris hit the shore, the waves quickly got to work in smoothing the rough edges. Over time, the glass fragments became one with the sand, creating a beautiful array of colors underfoot. So, to explore this tale of how people impact the land and appreciate the restorative power of nature, a visit to this South Shore Kauai beach is a must.

To truly see the collision of human activity with the Earth’s forces, you’ll want to grab up a handful of sand and take a close look at its diverse makeup. In each palmful of sand, you’ll see black grains of sand from lava rock, bigger pebbles, and bits of glass smoothed over by the water. Closer to the water, the sand looks almost completely black since it comes from volcanic rocks all around. Want a closer look at the sand? Bring your magnifying glass or use an app on your phone.

In the coming years, you’ll likely only get to see the black sand because tons of sea glass and pebbles disappear with uninformed tourists. In an attempt to capture a bit of the beauty for themselves, many people arrive with jars and buckets to fill with the unique sand. The colorful view is slowly disappearing as a result, bringing this beach back to its original state.

Although the colorful sea glass is definitely the main attraction, Glass Beach is great for sandy strolls at sunrise and sunset. Picnics are a terrific idea, too, as it’s always a delight to dine while enjoying the beautiful view. The rough surf, drop-offs, and rough rocks all-around rule out swimming, bodyboarding, and other activities, however.

Things to do at Glass Beach include:

Capture Fun Photos
With its bright sea glass and rich black sands, Glass Beach serves as a wonderful backdrop for all your photos. You can pose in front of the water and then turn around for a pose with the beach behind to capture every corner of the beautiful landscape. If you want the absolute best lighting for your snaps, be sure to arrive an hour before sunset to enjoy the golden hour.

Go for a Stroll Along the Beach
For a long look at the spectacular sands, take a slow stroll along the length of the beach and back again. You can kick your experience up a notch by arriving in the early morning to see the sunrise up out of the horizon. Prefer to sleep in a bit? The sunset is equally spectacular, although you’re less likely to have the whole beach to yourself at that time.

Enjoy a Delicious Picnic
If you want to simply kick back and relax while looking at the beauty all around, plan to have a picnic at Glass Beach. Although there are no picnic tables, you can throw a blanket on the ground and roll out the full spread. To enjoy a seafood extravaganza beachside, consider hitting up Paco’s Tacos for your picnic fare.

While the sea glass sands are endlessly gorgeous, they’re best left right in place for all to enjoy. Although you might see people taking jars and buckets of sand off Glass Beach, grabbing even a pocketful damages the natural beauty of the land. So, leave it in place with the knowledge that you’re serving as a steward of the land. Want to leave the beach better than you found it? Pick up any trash you find along the way as well.

Insider Tips:
-The black sand gets very hot on bright, sunny days, as does the sea glass. Thankfully, you can just wear water shoes to protect your feet.
-Parking at Glass Beach can be found on the street, as well as a dirt parking lot.
-Biting flies can be a problem at times, so pick up locally-made bug spray to keep them at bay.”
-There are no restrooms or other facilities at Glass Beach, so plan accordingly.