A tiny little beach nestled between an industrial area and an old Japanese cemetery in Kauai, Hawaii, Glass Beach lives up to its name: Mixed in with the grains of sand are millions of tiny bits of colored sea glass.
Back before Kauai got a landfill, this industrial area was the dumping ground for mass amounts of trash, which is where all of the sea glass that comprises Glass Beach came from, though it’s since been picked over by sea glass collectors.
Although the beach itself is lovely, the best part of Glass Beach — and the least visited — are the lava beds that start at the southern edge of the beach. Footing can be treacherous at times and visitors should keep a careful eye on the water, because there are numerous lava arches and holes that spout with water when there are large waves.
Out along the lava beds, you can find rusted-out car parts, large pieces of worn glass, and even more glass pieces that have been embedded into the lava rock. It’s an incredible view of nature absorbing and incorporating man’s trash and transforming it into something surreal, even beautiful.
Know Before You Go
From Port Allen, drive towards the ocean and turn left on Aka Ula Rd. Once the paved road ends, park anywhere along the dirt road. Glass beach is only about a two minute walk from that point. If you continue out along the lava beds, be aware that the fields on the top of the cliff are private property, so do not plan on walking along the top of the cliff.