Sea Glass In Florida
Collecting sea glass is a fun activity that both children and adults enjoy. When you find a piece of sea glass, it is exciting to imagine how long it has been floating around the ocean and what the glass was once a part of. You can then use your newly-found sea glass to make jewelry or decorate you home.
If you are interested in collecting sea glass, head down to Florida. It has a large coastline and the right conditions for generating large quantities of sea glass each year. In this post, I’ll explain how sea glass is formed, which kinds of locations have the most sea glass, and where to find sea glass in Florida.
What Is Sea Glass?
Sea Glass is pieces of broken glass that have fallen into the ocean and continually tumbled around until their sharp edges have become rounded. During this process, the glass takes on a frosted appearance and loses its slick surface. Sea glass looks quite beautiful, which makes it highly sought-after.
Most sea glass comes from broken beer bottles, jars, glasses, and windows. However, older pieces of sea glass sometimes come from shipwrecks or discarded sea cargo that have been moving around the oceans for many decades. It can take several years for the edges of sea glass to become completely rounded and some unusual shapes can form over time.
Sea glass is found in many locations around the world. However, beaches located in Florida, California, Bermuda, Scotland, northwest and northeast England, Hawaii, Southern Spain, and Australia tend to have a lot of sea glass present.
How Much Sea Glass is on Florida Beaches?
Sea glass is becoming increasingly rare on beaches in the United States, because we are no longer dumping large qualities of glass into the oceans. When rubbish does find its way into waterways, it is usually plastic. The increasing rarity of sea glass makes it even more exciting to find.
The good news is that sea glass is more common on Florida beaches compared to other parts of the United States. There are reports of people sea combing in Florida and finding 10 to 20 pieces of sea glass after an hour or two.
Some Florida locals have reported finding 100 pounds of sea glass over the course of a year. That’s a huge amount of sea glass which you could use to decorate your home, make into jewelry, or give away as presents. If you visit one of the locations listed below, you expect to find anywhere from 5 to 20 pieces per hour.
What Kinds Of Locations Are Likely To Have Sea Glass?
Certain types of locations in Florida tend to have more sea glass than others. The best locations have:
- Beaches surrounded by populated area
Beaches that are close to populated areas are more likely to have glass objects discarded into the ocean, which increases the likelihood of finding sea glass.
- Coastlines which aggressive waves
Having large waves in an area means that glass fragments will turn into sea glass much faster. It will take about 7 to 10 years for a glass object to turn into sea glass in constant surf environments, but many years longer in locations without aggressive waves.
- Beaches near landfills
More glass will find its way into the local environment if there is a landfill nearby — which means more sea glass.
- Areas near historically active seaways
If a beach is located near an area where ships have been traveling for centuries, there is a greater chance of finding sea glass. Locations where there are nearby ship wrecks are exciting places to search for sea glass because you might find very old pieces.
- Busy beaches where people spend a lot of time
Locations where people spend a lot of time are more likely to have bottles discarded into the water, which means more sea glass.
The Colors Of Sea Glass In Florida
The color of the sea glass you will find in Florida is determined by the original source of the glass. Because most of the glass in the ocean has come from jars, bowls, beer bottles, wine bottles, ceramics, and windows, the most common colors will be brown, white, Kelly green and clear.
If you are lucky, you will find a less common colors including:
- Amber (usually from whiskey, spirits, medicine, and old bleach bottles)
- Golden amber or amberina (spirit bottles)
- Lime green (soda bottles made during the 1960s)
- Forest green (rarer spirit bottles)
- Ice or soft blue (soda bottles, gin bottles, medicine bottles, ink bottles, old fruit jars, and windows).
- Soft green (old 1900’s Dr Pepper, Cola, ink, baking soda or fruit bottles)
Very rare colors include:
- Opaque white (milk bottles)
- Cornflower blue (poison bottles, early Milk of Magnesia bottles, Bromo-Seltzer or Vicks VapoRub containers)
- Aqua (certain 19th century glass bottles)
- Cobalt blue
If you are ‘extremely’ lucky, you may find the ultra-rare colors listed below. These colors have been found on the beaches of Florida, but not very often:
- Pink (often from antique plates)
- Teal (old Mateus wine bottles)
- Black (often from dark olive green glass)
- Yellow (from 1930s Vaseline containers)
- Turquoise (from tableware and art glass)
- Red (from old Schlitz bottles, nautical lights, car tail lights)
- Orange (the rarest form of sea glass)
Antique black sea glass is also sometimes found on Florida beaches. It is glass that has had iron slag added to it during the production process for additional strength and opaqueness. This kind of glass was used to carry goods on ships as far back as the 15th Century. The best place to look for antique black sea glass is near old trading ports and where old shipwrecks are located.
There are hundreds of wrecked ships around Florida. They include some antique ships like the wrecked Confederate transport ship near Jacksonville, which has delivered a few pieces of antique black sea glass to the nearby beaches. There is also a wrecked Dutch Merchant In the Florida Keys, which has distributed some antique sea glass to local beaches.
Most of the sea glass you will find in Florida will be white, brown or green because those colors are still used to make glass bottles today. Even though they are common colors, they can be quite beautiful.
Tips For Finding Florida Sea Glass
Here are a few more tips which will make it easier to find sea glass on Florida beaches:
- Search at low tide
Look for areas on the beach scattered with numerous seashells during low tide. Hunting for sea glass on low tide just after a new or full moon (Spring tide) usually achieves the best results because the beach’s sand is disrupted and the tide moves further.
- Search when the weather is sunny
Sea glass is easier to spot on a sunny day because it glints.
- Bring a spade
Scraping back the top layer of sand with a spade is often useful for exposing more sea glass.
- Search after a storm
The disruption caused by a large storm or hurricane will often bring sea glass to the surface.
Finding Sea Glass in Florida
There are several excellent locations for finding sea glass in Florida. If you are open to finding other rarities, these could be great beaches for finding shark teeth as well.
Navarre Beach Sea Glass
Navarre Beach is a beautiful location that is situated on Florida’s panhandle, on the Gulf Coast. It is one of the best places to find sea glass in Florida because of its often-windy weather, populated coast line, and strong waves.
Navarre beach is a relatively quiet spot, despite being surrounded by houses and condos. The serene nature of this beach makes it a particularly good spot for beach combing with the family. Common sea glass colors are everywhere on this beach and you should be able to find a dozen beautiful pieces within an hour or less.
Siesta Key Sea Glass
Siesta Key is a barrier island located off the west coast of Florida. It is home to several stunning beaches including Sarasota Beach, Siesta Key Beach, Turtle Beach, and Crescent Beach. These beaches have beautiful white sand and are a popular location with holiday makers.
Sea glass has been found on all of the beaches on the western side of the island. There are dozens of sunken ships just off the Florida Keys, which makes it a great location for finding rarer sea glass colors.
Jensen Beach, Hutchinson Island
Jensen Beach is a fantastic location for finding green, clear, white, and brown sea glass. Its proximity to the highly populated areas of Florida has meant that large quantities of glass have made their way into the waterways over the years. The beach is also close to historically active seaways, which means you will have a chance of finding blue, purple, red, or orange sea glass.
Coral Cove Park, Jupiter Island
If you head south from Jensen Beach, you will find Jupiter Island. It is another barrier island that accumulates large amounts of sea glass each year. Its close proximity to highly populated areas including West Palm Beach and Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale means that there is a constant stream of glass entering the ocean in this area. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also snorkel out to Coral Cove’s limestone boulder reef. This is a beautiful reef with plenty of fish, turtles, shells, and sea glass.
Jacksonville to Cinnamon Beach
The stretch of coastline from Jacksonville beach through to Cinnamon Beach is said to be a great spot for finding sea glass. These beaches are close to some populated areas and shipping lanes, but there are also isolated spots along the coastline — which means sea glass has time to accumulate before anyone can find it.
Thanks for reading Where To Find Sea Glass In Florida? Hunting for sea glass is a fun past time for the whole family, so enjoy your time on the beach!