One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure: Glass Beach

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!


34 thoughts on “One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure: Glass Beach

    1. There is another one that I want to visit in Hawaii. It’s amazing what Nature does with what we’ve thrown at it. This beach and the ones in Hawaii and Aruba that you mentioned are proof of it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like a blast! The Pacific Coast Highway is one of my favorite roads in the country. Like the saying goes, “Time heals all wounds”. This beach is the epitome of that.


  1. I’ve heard of those before, we have one in France too and when I was a kid I use to pick the most shiny, transparent pieces I could find on the beach without realising it was glass that was polished by the sea and send back on the land. When I was a kid I just thoughts they were beautiful treasures. Ha the joy of being a kid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a fascinating place, in a way it’s a shame that tourists have taken so much of it – but I guess you could look at it that tourism has cleaned the beach up after human error in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for such an informative and honest post. I have also heard that the glass beach can be a bit underwhelming… I’ll keep all your tips in mind for my California road trip! I don’t know if I’ll bother with glass beach unless I find some spare time. Your photos really are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would still go. It’s slowly going away and it’s something that demands to be seen. It’s a beautiful beach. If you need help planning your trip, or want suggestions, I’d love to help!


    1. Same here! I found a bottle as a kid and carried it around for a long time thinking some one on an abandoned island placed a note in it. Turns out is was just an old, spoiled beer haha!


  4. Glad they made a change to eventually clean the area up! And that’s too bad there isn’t as much glass as there used to be, but it does still look pretty anyways. Would love to check it out one day, especially on a road trip up the coast! Sounds like a blast!


  5. How beautiful! I wish I had known about this a couple years ago! We live just north of Portland and took a roadtrip through California and the SW states, this would have been fun to see. Definitely will keep this in mind for a future trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Megan, it’s been one of my goals on my bucket list. It was an absolute blast! You definitely have to do it! Let me know if I can be of any help with planning or ideas. I’ll also have more post coming out soon!


  6. I’ve always wanted to go to the glass beach, Fort Bragg. It have been on my list for a while now. Thank you for your honest opinion about the glass beach, especially about how it wasn’t what you expected yet still recommend us to go. And I didn’t know they have glass festival! That sounds awesome! Also, thank you for the tip about visiting the low tide; I’ll keep that in mind (:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely still a must see. Especially now that the glass isn’t as plentiful as before. You’ll have fun and the beach is still very beautiful! Let me know what you think when you go!


  7. Gorgeous photos! Thank you! I love beaches and love buying sea glass jewelry, so if I ever do make it to that region of California, I’ll have to go see this even though you think it’s not worth the hype. It’s rare to find sea glass on the beaches we usually go to.

    Liked by 1 person

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