Ever since moving to Southern California, I’ve always wanted to make the road trip up the coast, following the Pacific Coast Highway. At the beginning of the year I was able to do said trip, going from Los Angeles, all the way up to Seattle, Washington. Definitely one of the best trips I’ve taken.
After hearing tales of legend about Glass Beach, how the ocean has taken something that once was a dumping ground, and turned it into something spectacular peaked my interest. Glass Beach made its way up my California bucket list quickly, the same way the little glass pieces washed up on the shore, and It hasn’t left. Including Glass Beach as one of the stops was a no-brainer.
Getting to the beach is a simple task, as it’s right off PCH in MacKerricher State Park on Fort Bragg, CA. To get here, turn North on Elm and follow the road to the intersection of Glass Beach and park. Once you’ve parked, make your way down one of the many trails to the beach. The glass is mainly concentrated on the left hand side, in a small cove. As beautiful as this beach is, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Through the years, millions of tourists have come through and taken a lot of the sea glass. That, plus the power of the ocean has reduced the quantity of glass leftover on the beach. There is still quite a bit left, although most of the colors are gone, leaving mainly white and clear pieces. I would still recommend going, especially before it’s gone. It’s just not as epic as I expected.
In the early 20th century, Fort Bragg residents threw their household garbage over cliffs owned by the Union Lumber Company onto what is now Glass Beach, discarding glass, appliances, and even vehicles. Locals referred to it as “The Dumps.” The California State Water Resources Control Board and city leaders closed the area in 1967. Various cleanup programs were undertaken through the years to correct the damage. Over the next several decades the pounding waves cleaned the beach, by breaking down everything but glass and pottery and tumbling those into the small, smooth, colored pieces that cover Glass Beach.
It is not the only glass beach created by human activity. There is another in California (Benicia) and one in the Hawaiian bay of Hanapepe. There is also one that exists at Guantanamo Bay. They are all testament to the power of nature to correct the mistakes made by humanity.
Here are a few tips for when you’re exploring Glass Beach.
1. The best time to visit the beach is in the earlier morning, at low tide. You can get Updated time tables by clicking here.
2. The weather can be cold while visiting. Be sure to dress in accordingly, in layers.
3. Glass Beach is popular with tourist, many of which search the beaches for that perfect piece of sea glass to take home. Ironically, where it once had been illegal to dump glass on the beach, it’s now illegal to remove it. One way around this is to find sea glass outside of MacKerricher State Park.
4. Every Memorial Day weekend, Fort Bragg holds a Glass Festival. For information on this, and many other things to do while in Fort Bragg, click here. You can also find directions to the beach by clicking here.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and take lots of pictures! Also be sure to comment with any questions or to let me know what you think! You can also follow us on Facebook as well!