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Sea Glass on the Outer Banks

by Renee H
(Easthampton, MA (USA))

Hi All! My family and I are newer sea glass hunters (started about 3 years ago) and are hooked!

We are taking a trip to the Outer Banks (NC) in a few weeks and are wondering if anyone had tips for hunting in that area (where to go, etc).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Renee :)

Map of Outer Banks area:

Google Maps Generator by RegioHelden

Added Info on Outer Banks:

The Outer Banks are a long stretch of elongated, low-lying, sandy and marshy barrier islands off the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina, lying along more than half of the length of the coast for 200 miles.

These islands are of the type usually formed where rivers empty along the ocean coast. The rivers and streams have carried silt and sand for many thousands of years.

These deposits of sand and silt, kept in place by currents along the shores, gradually collect on the shallow ocean floor, building upwards. The stretch of water lying between barrier islands, or "banks" of sand remains clear and navigable and are usually known as "sounds."

The barrier islands along the Outer Banks offer a great place for summer relaxation and beach activities and are very popular with tourists. The year-round population, however, is very low due to the difficult access to mainland towns, stores, etc.

The sounds, inside of the protection of the barrier reefs, provide easy sailing and have been navigated for centuries. Unfortunately for sea glass hunters, there is little wave action on the inside parts of the islands and the islands are very marshy, with almost no opportunity for sea glass.

The open ocean side of the Outer Banks is much more likely to produce good sea glass with the constant wave action, but the sandy beaches tend to bury anything solid within a short time, leavng and glass shards untumbled and buried under many feet of sand.

That being said, shards that have been there a long time can be uncovered during storms, and some of these shards have had enough exposure to be frosted and tumbled.

For more information on why barrier islands like those that form the Outer Islands of North Carolina are relatively unproductive of sea glass, see Find Sea Glass - A Discussion of Land Features.

~ Added by David Schneider of OdysseySeaGlass.com ~

See Also:

Comments for Sea Glass on the Outer Banks

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 30, 2014
Hit or miss
by: Anonymous

I just started collecting sea glass last year.

We vacationed in Hatteras last spring and I found several pieces (I always walk the Atlantic side, never tried on the Sound).

This summer we stayed in Corolla and I found a bunch of glass, mostly white, amber, and green but a few aqua and 1 cobalt blue piece too.

We are currently staying in Hatteras again and I have only found 1 piece of green so far.

It is really hit or miss but it's still fun to look.

Good luck :)

Jun 21, 2014
Found and lost a piece of green sea glass on Ocracoke Island
by: Anonymous

My husband and I went camping last week and to my surprise I found a 1 x 1-1/2" piece of green seaglass on Ocracoke beach during low tide.

I put the piece in my beach bag to separate it from the shells.

The next day I was not paying attention and forgot I left it there. We came home today and it was no where to be found!

I literally cried. I realized the day before we left the campground, I went to empty the sand out of the bag and shook it upside down.

My treasure is now gone. I am hoping to find another one next year.

Sep 30, 2013
Southern Shores
by: Vickie

I've owned an oceanfront house here for 17 years.

I've only found six little pieces of sea glass in all these years.

I think the decline of glass is due to bottles made of plastic for so many years.

Lots of jewelry sold as sea glass is actually glass tumbled with sand in a machine.

Oct 03, 2012
Keep looking
by: Anonymous

I find a piece daily walking the beach at afternoon low tide in the Rodanthe or Salvo locations.

I find all sizes, tiny pieces to rather big ones.

Jun 12, 2012
by: Anonymous

We have a second home in Corolla, but have only recently discovered the joys of sea glass searching...

my husband recently found a lovely dark green piece of glass about 2 x 2 inches and 1/3 inch thick with the letters "N" and "D" on it at the Currituck Beach.....

WE are having it bezel set at the Mystic Jewelry... but wonder about the source ...

the Jeweler said it was probably 60 years or older.... rolling around the ocean.

May 02, 2012
Outer Banks bust
by: Lewises

we've checked numerous places recommended by others and found only one or two pieces over an entire week of searching Nags Head, Pea Island, and Ocracoke Island on the Atlantic side.

Jul 17, 2011
Outer Banks Sea Glass
by: Sarah Jane

Hi, we go to the OBX every year.

We have found occasional pieces of sea glass - typically no more than 3 pieces during a week there.

We have had good luck on the northern (Pea Island) beaches of Hatteras, including the one at the Pea Island Lifesaving Station, at the base of the Bonner bridge.

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Many thanks to you both for your time and insight!

I love your page. It's been a great resource in my hunting!

All Best, Amanda in Connecticut

Hi David,

I received your sea glass hearts and I LOVE them all.

Thank you so much for sending the extra hearts.

I was so touched by your thoughtfulness and I appreciate you sharing these special gifts from the sea! Hope to see more of your sea glass soon!

Thanks again,


Hi David,

Just wanted to tell you thank you for the monthly sea glass newsletter. I love it, and look forward to it.

Thanks again to you and your wife.


Hi David,

I just wanted to let you know I appreciate receiving my sea glass order so quickly.

Love the flowers, wave crest & rare pastels and the little extra surprise....you made my day!!


I am so fascinated by sea glass - I can’t believe at 70 I found a new hobby.

Thanks for the opportunity to search and read up on this!


Your site made me so happy tonight! Why?

Many happy memories swirled back into my mind when I saw your pictures. I spent my childhood on the beaches of Cape Cod and we spent many happy hours looking for sea glass."


It is a pleasure and refreshing to meet people in the sea glass community that are willing to share! I got some great tips from your site. It was wonderful not to spend my entire vacation looking for a beach. Thanks again!

Maryanne K.W.

Hi David and Lin.

Love your sea glass web site. I enjoy your picture of the month and intend on winning at least once.

I have been collecting and creating things from sea glass for over twenty years. I find my sea glass on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland Ohio.

Thank you for sharing your treasures with me. Yours truly,

Cathy Lincks

What an AWESOME site! I love reading about it, looking at all of your pictures, and planning my next vacation to the perfect beach.

Keep up the great work!


I’m a new subscriber to your newsletter and I love it!


Hi David,

Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your newsletters.

I never even knew about sea glass before 2 years ago, now of course I'm hooked, love it, just love it.


Hi David and Lin - I love your website! Thank you for sharing info...


Hi David. Its Bill and Joan Laverick, Durham City, North East of England. We love reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

Bill & Joan

I soo look forward to reading your blogs.

Jacqueline Giguere

Just wanted to let you know (since you were so helpful) that I won a blue ribbon (1st place) in Gifford Middle School Science Fair in the category of Environmental Science with my topic - Effect of a Florida Tidal Inlet on Wrack Line Sea Glass Volume.

Now, I will compete in the Regional Science Fair which will take place on Feb 2nd. My mom and dad and I had a lot of fun searching for sea glass.


Mary Hyde

I am beginning to be a typical sea glass hunter - always looking for fun places to find glass!

I think your site is great - very informative - thanks for the time and effort you put into it.


I am beginning to be a typical sea glass hunter - always looking for fun places to find glass!

I think your site is great - very informative - thanks for the time and effort you put into it.


I love your email newsletters. I am 77 and try to get "glassin" whenever anyone will take me to the beach!! :-))

P. Paul

Hi David

Just wanted to tell you thank you for the monthly sea glass newsletter. I love it, and look for ward to it.

Thanks again to you and your wife,

Judi Weber

Hi David and Lin!

I SO enjoy you newsletter! Please forward it to my sister. I've got her hooked on the beauty of sea glass!

Thanks in advance! Happy foraging.

Joan D

Hi David and Lin,

I have shared your website with my other sea glass fanatic friends over the last couple of years and they love it as much as I do.

Yours is my favourite website of all time and the very best website I've seen for everything sea glass.

I can lose myself for hours in your website. Dangerous place!

Anne O, Toronto

Thanks so much for the information.

I visited Carbon Beach today.

Very small and few people but a nice supply of glass just as you stated.



Hi Lin and David,

I have come to sea glass via my shell collecting and am finding it very addictive too. Last year I found a glass bottle stopper which was a thrill.

I really enjoy the newsletter and can easily spend an evening getting lost in the stories and comments.


Anne Cram

Just wanted to thank you for all of your helpful information.

The sea glass community is filled with people who guard their secret beaches so it is refreshing to see that there are people who are willing to share.

It's so useful for those of us that don't live near a beach and travel to find our glass.

The information posted here lets us spend more time enjoying our adventure rather than wasting time looking for a great spot

Thanks again,

Anonymous Viewer

Gee, my heart races when I hear about all these marvelous finds.

Kudos to this wonderful site and for those who share their finds.

You've got a friend in me,

Norma Myrphy

I love your site, thanks for all the wonderful info.

I'm looking forward to my new hobby and participating in your odyssey Seaglass forum.



David & Linda,

So wonderful to have crossed paths with you and thanks for sharing your expertise on sea glass along with your wonderful website.

Ann & I have caught your infectious seaglass fever! Hope to cross paths again soon.

Happy and safe traveling!

Richard C. Wong · Portland, Oregon

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