In this age of Trash Turned Treasure, it’s no wonder Glass Beach on Kauai has become a gold mine for beachcombers. Scattered throughout the small patch of sand are smoothed-out gems from the sea; gems that had once been a glass jar or beer bottle.

Not many tourists know about Glass Beach. That’s because it isn’t listed in guide books, nor are there signs pointing beach-goers in the right direction. But mostly the beach is not your typical beach in Poipu but rather, a sliver of sandy shoreline in the middle of an industrial area.

The view of several gas tanks and Port Allen Harbor isn’t much of a view for beach-goers. The beach itself is probably not suitable for anything other than combing, since rocks and rough surf make swimming impossible. But who cares, right? Once there, you’ll barely be able to take your eyes off of what’s on the ground ahead.

A bonanza of beautiful beach glass decorates the sandy shore. Ambers, blues and aqua-colored pieces blow the run-of-the-mill white and brown-colored ones out of the water. There’s definitely not as much as there used to be, though, and the pieces are actually really tiny. I’ve heard that the beach was once covered with about six-inches of glass for the picking. It came from trash that people burned and threw into the ocean, only for it to return as rounded and sparkling pieces of treasure.

In recent years, artisans and collectors have raked over the beach to use in jewelry making and other crafts. Locals would scoop up glass and sand by the bucket-fulls to be used in retaining walls and driveways. If you visit, please don’t go overboard and leave some for others. If you can, try to pick up some trash along the way, too. Mahalo!

GLASS BEACH • Eleele, Kauai 96705


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