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Maybe it’s the smattering of refracted light and color or maybe it’s the intricate sequence of processes that lead to their existence, but either way, glass beaches are one of our favorite places to explore. Not only are they vibrant and texturally pleasing, but they’re also excellent subjects for great photos and memories. Here are six of our favorite glass beaches that we think are well worth the journey.

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Vladivostok, Russia

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On the far east end of the Trans Siberian railway lies the industrial Russian city of Vladivostok. This port town boasts a population of over 500,000 people and is often compared to its trans-Pacific counterpart, San Francisco. This is due to Vladivostok’s own Golden Gate wannabe, the Russky Bridge. Not only is Vladivostok the end (or beginning) of a spectacular Siberian adventure, it also hosts a beautiful glass beach on the shores of Ussuri Bay. The beach was a dumping ground for an old ceramics factory, and over time, the elements smoothed the edges of the broken glass to create beautiful pebbles. This beach is a must-see and the perfect finale to a Trans-Siberian journey.

Spectacle Island, Boston, Massachusetts

Glass beaches also exist on the East Coast of the US, and as you may have noticed, they’re usually located near a city or industrial district. Material glass waste is how they are formed, after all! If you are headed to Bean Town, take the ferry from Long Wharf to Spectacle Island (4 miles offshore) to enjoy a colored glass beach that is, as the name suggests, pretty spectacular. Formed by heaps of refuse that were later covered and developed into the Spectacle Island nature reserve, this glass beach can keep you occupied for hours.

Fort Bragg, California

Fort Bragg

On the other end of the spectrum, Fort Bragg hosts one of the more well-known glass beaches in the world. This one is located on the south end of MacKerricher State Marine Conservation Area. Conveniently, the glass beach is accessible via the aptly named Glass Beach Trail, right off of Glass Beach Drive. It’s a lovely testament to nature’s ability to up-cycle and reuse materials that have been thrown away.

Kauai, Hawaii

Located in an industrial district of Kauai, the Eleele glass beach features a mix of basalt and discarded glass. One of the great things about this beach is that the glass pebbles are so numerous and small that they seem to completely take over the landscape. To find this literal gem, follow Aka Ula street towards the McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery and follow the walking path down to the beach; if you make it to the cemetery, you’ve gone a little too far.

Langøyene, Oslofjord, Norway

Norway, glass beach

Admittedly, this one is a little off the beaten path but that is part of its charm. We stumbled upon this beach during a summer afternoon spent island-hopping around Oslo’s fjord neighborhoods. The island ferries operate under the same brand as the city trams, so for the price of a day ticket ($12 USD), you can take the ferries to as many islands as you want! Right next to the ferry port on the island of Langøyene is a beautiful glass beach with broken colored glass, old porcelains, barnacled mussel shells and historic lava rocks that hint at Norway’s volcanic past. Hop on the ferry at Aker Brygge and point yourself towards one of Oslofjord’s best-kept secrets.

Port Townsend, Washington

Heading back over to the left coast on the Olympic Peninsula, McCurdy Point used to be a popular dumping site for material refuse. Today, it exists as a beautiful glass beach near the town of Port Townsend in Washington. This beach is located west of North Beach Park in Fort Worden State Park, and you may follow walking trails to McCurdy Point from the State Park. It’s a few miles to get there, but it’s definitely worth the hike!

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Tagged: California, Hawaii, New England, Seattle

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Caroline Lupini
Caroline's passion for travel isn't limited to hopping from country to country, but goes beyond the plane and into her everyday life. She's mastered the points and miles arena which has enabled her to travel far and wide, to 70+ countries including Iraq, Myanmar, Brazil, Russia, and many more. From writing for some of the most highly acclaimed travel blogs and news sites, to speaking at travel shows, Caroline's love of exploring the world has lead her to wanting to help others get out there to experience it too. To find out more, visit Caroline on Instagram (@caroline.lupini) and on her site (carolinelupini.com).

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