It's fitting to say "one person's trash is another's treasure" when speaking about Glass Beach on the west side of Kaua`i. At this small, black and gray sand beach below Hanapepe Town, sand decorates the beach in its most raw form. Colored beach glass covers the entire beach, making a colorful layer over the sand that sparkles in the sun.
Treasures at Glass Beach — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
The byproduct of the former trash dump that was here, glass now lies on the beach in front of a backdrop of several huge white gas tanks in a modest, ocean-side industrial area. But don't let that paint a bad picture. The beach is quite beautiful and is a sandy notch in the middle of the coast made of black lava rock. This isn't really the best swimming beach, but look for some of the small tide pools and take a dip if the water's mellow.
Monk seal at Glass Beach — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
The thickness of the layer of glass varies with the tide, but on any given day you're bound to find plenty of glass to pick through for hours. It's common to see an endangered Hawaiian monk seal lazing about on the beach, and if you do, it's very important to leave it alone and stay at least twenty feet away.
To get here, head west and turn left on Waialo Road towards Port Allen. Take another left on Aka Ula then right at the fork in the dirt road.