Glass Beach – The Dump You’ll Want to Visit

sea glass beach and tide pool
glassbeach

It’s like a little Inuksuk…

Before you say anything about the content of this article, I hate people who litter. I’ll judge you if I think you’re too lazy to recycle. I hate pollution and the death of our fragile ecosystems and all the rest. But- with that disclaimer out of the way- Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California is the incredible result of human wastefulness and the resilience of nature. I’ve been trolling around for lesser known landscapes to road trip to and explore, and stumbled across this chunk of multicolored west coast paradise. These days, Glass Beach is a protected part of MacKerricher State Park, but in 1949, it was the site of an unrestricted dump. For 18 years, people drove out to the scenic expanse of ocean cliffs, marveled at the beauty of the natural world and the majesty of the depths, and then threw all their shit in.

Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

sea glass beach and tide pool(Photo by Lisa D Walker – 2009)

Eventually, California realized that dumping automobiles, appliances, toxic substances and razor sharp shards of glass into the water was probably a bad idea, and looked elsewhere for a dumping site. The beaches under the cliffs lay polluted, cluttered and ruined, and were basically treated as a forgotten ‘mistake.’ Despite our obviously brilliant handling of the situation, Mother Earth had a few tricks up her sleeve, and spent the next 30 years tumbling away the jagged edges of our insensitivity and leaving behind brilliant pebbles of polished glass. As the shores grew into glimmering beaches, the state realized that people were visiting to collect the glass and to see the rainbow sands reflecting the sun, and quickly annexed it into a national park. The result?

sea glass beach in california by National Parks Blog

bare feet on sea glass beachmulticolored sea glass beach and tide poolGlass Ground by Surf at Fort Bragg's Glass Beach by digggs on flickr

We finished up what nature graciously started, spent a few years cleaning up rusting metal hulks and all sorts of wonderfully dangerous debris (nothing says sandcastle fun like getting tetanus from a lead-filled 50s throwback), and Glass Beach is now a protected treasure that I’m dying to visit. While I can only imagine the sight of the colors of translucent glass turning in the sun and turbulent surf, I’m thinking I might just keep my shoes on.

Comments

      • Jorge Juanita says

        Then you weren’t in the right spot because ive been there and nothing but millions of pieces of glass. Good luck next time

      • Christopher says

        I was there in January of 2011. When you get to the initial sight it is fairly picked over, with a lot of garbage strewn about. You need to veer to the left, hop some rocks and you will find the most amazing beach, and it’s surprisingly large an isolated. I have posted pictures on Google Earth if you are truly interested in finding the correct location. Good luck!

      • Jeff says

        First of all I live here I’ve been to glass beach ever since I can remember even taking school field trips there and I haven’t seen this much glass there since I was 10 that was 6 years ago now there’s almost no glass so if yu see some kids with longboards yelling at you for picking up the glass and putting it in a bag it’s me and my friends please don’t keep the glass we get violent after we’ve told you once and we see you do it again but it’s a great place I love to hang there with my friends visit it when you have time and bring glass bottles :)

      • j says

        LOL you went to the wrong place . . its awesome and the glass “pebbles” are everywhere and it is deep. We dug down more than a foot and a half . . nothing but glass.

    • Denise says

      When were you there? We were just there last week (and also 5 years ago). You have to search really hard to find any trash. Last time we found a spark plug. This time we found 3 pieces of metal under 3 inches, one piece of rubber about 2 inches, and a heavy pointed object about 6 inches long that may have been a piece of a staircase balluster. And that was after 8 hours of beach combing. It’s amazing how the whole thing has been cleaned up. On the down side, people have taken most of the glass, so it won’t be long before they have to change the name. There is talk of a “re-seeding” program, but that will take decades to get off the ground.

      • Stephen says

        reseeding… there is something wrong with throwing more glass into the ocean so that more people can look at a colorful glass beach, simply as a result of other people taking the glass from the beach. (We are such a silly, On-Demand society these days).

        i don’t see what is wrong with letting this one pass. it was a disgusting thing transformed into a moderate amount of beauty, if you saw it you saw it, game over.. right?

          • I Speak English says

            What exactly does “dint” mean? I see it online quite often. Is it a lazy version of “didn’t?” Because if that’s the case, come on. It’s just one extra letter that makes you seem significantly more intelligent. Use it, please.

            That said, I agree with you. If you’ve seen the glass beach, congratulations. If you didn’t, that doesn’t mean we need to make another one.

          • jf says

            Ciao. I do’t speak…don’t speak English. Because the letter a donkey eat so quick and I don’t see. And glass in the beach? Bad idea. Au revoir.

        • jj says

          OKAY I have to ask – what is wrong with putting glass into the ocean so that it can be recycled by nature into sand? Before you answer, do you know where glass comes from?

          • Eric says

            Ok, we know where glass comes from. But, the fact of the matter is it wasn’t only glass that was dumped onto that stretch of land, there was metal, rubber, garbage, you name it. Now, saying we did that again, I don’t think we’d have the same outcome and people may get hurt if we do this again, because people will still go there to see the “glass beach” but be disappointed when its filled with garbage again.
            It was there once, by accident. Lets not try and recreate something that should have never happened.

          • VS says

            We need to let the ocean ecosystem in that area regenerate into what it is naturally supposed to be. I don’t understand how throwing huge amounts of sharp shards of glass into the ocean seems like a good idea to you, even if it did turn into something kind of cool the first time.

          • Andrew says

            That’s like asking: what is wrong with boiling an egg and giving it back to a chicken… It simply is not the same thing. Even that aside: it would take a great amount of time for the shards to become as small as sand again.

          • Jay P says

            You ask what is wrong with people putting glass into the ocean?!? People swim and surf in that area. Have you ever seen the damage a broken bottle can do if stepped on bare footed?

        • Huw says

          Glass is made from sand, it’s just putting it back where it came from in the first place. Might as well throw your old bottles there and keep the dream alive.

        • DB says

          Silica (the chemical compound SiO2) is a common fundamental constituent of glass. In nature, vitrification of quartz occurs when lightning strikes sand, forming hollow, branching rootlike structures called fulgurite so essentially glass has no effect on the ocean. The glass would just get broken back down to a sand form again.

    • John says

      Beauty can be found in landfills even…..there is beauty to a clearly juxtaposed image such as a beach made of glass bottles, or a reef made of tires…..its sad, but thats not about aesthetics, context, or intent. It is what makes it something people need to see, and gives it a sense of power and beauty.

    • kim says

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!! I suppose that you think that the fog rolling off a lazy river on a cool morning is just smog??? Or that the first smile from a newborn baby is just gas? Try looking at the world thru rose colored glasses for a change! You might just see something amazing for once!!!

      • tyler says

        kim, your the problem in this country. I could sculpt my waste into a dove and have it fly away would that be beautiful to you? Lets make more glass beaches eh? why not nature wont care right.

        • Cass says

          Kim I totally agree with you and think that you see things in the right way. When people bad mouth positivity, it is through fear. I think it would be a great way to recycle glass in moderation, it is made from sand isn’t it?

      • says

        Amen to that, sister! If anything, it could serve as a lesson to natural beauty and how wantonly disposing of things that won’t break down (plastic, needles, etc) just ruins nature even more.

      • Sam says

        …. SAND is sand in solid form. What state do you think that sand is in that it would need to be further solidified to become a solid?? Goodness, people, come on…

    • sbpsnx2d says

      to me its beautiful simple aesthetically, but within, its is much more beautiful that a former dump could transform itself into such beauty

  1. Gina says

    Until the day we invent something to take us back in time so we can beat the “we just didn’t know better” out of our ancestors, I think that this is an interesting and attractive result, all considered.
    There’s also the point that some day in the future, these large pieces will be worn down to fine sand, just like every other rock or silicate on the beach.
    Nature is like the honey badger. Nature don’t give a shit.

    • lynea carson says

      Ancestors didnt know r u kidding me back in the day there was no glass to throw away u refilled ur milk bottles beer bottles and soda there were no PLASTIC everything the waste is now it wasn’t then youneed to read a little deeper there were no boxed and packaged food no fast food cups bags and wrappers no cigarette butts …no not ancestors its called technology. And the need for convenience it is the last 20 to 30the years even appliances. Are through away now…no u can thank the here the now when’s the last 20 time u asked for paper instead of plastic or bought allumin. Cans instead of plastic or glass repaired an electronic instead of throwing it away :):) just saying and I’m. 42 by the way

      • L says

        Unless of course, the glass broke…. which is why we have a place that looks like Glass Beach …… the history’s already been explained, but 1 more time: in 1906 the California earthquake destroyed much of the downtown area of Fort Bragg, CA. A quick way to get rid of the trash? The mill owners opened a section of road, their special dumping grounds called ‘The Dumps’ and allowed the city to haul away the debris from the earthquake and dump it over the sides of the cliffs. The city had found a new place for townsfolk to dump all their trash…. and so, The Dumps were born out of necessity rather than ignorance.

        It was ignorance of the tides and what garbage and pollutants would do to the environment, that kept the three locations going. The 1906 dump closed in 1943. The middle section of beach was then opened to dumping. That lasted all of six years before it was closed in 1949. The northernmost site, now owned by state parks (as of approx. 2002), was opened then and finally closed in 1967 when the water board discovered what it was doing to the ground water…. so there you have it….and now we have three beaches, collectively called Glass Beach…. the city is working a plan now to create a Coastal Trail. They are saying when that opens that they will begin discouraging people from taking the glass… but that’s another can of worms….

    • Tommy says

      This is historical imperialism at its finest. Ignorant ancestors. Heh. You’re providing plenty of material for your future analogue to make similar comments.

    • says

      Volcanos made the glass beaches. when the lava melts the sand, it turns to glass. Glass is a totally natural substance. It is simply melted sand. It is not littering. it will turn back into sand. Sheesh. It isn’tplastic

  2. says

    Wow, this looks like a really amazing place! And who knows what happened to all the chemicals and toxins dumped in with all the glass, but at least Mother Earth can tumble these shards back into sand and show that sometimes beauty truly can come from misfortune.

    • Chel says

      The released toxins from worn glass is disturbing. Reassurance comes from knowing that sand is a key ingredient to glass production – the sea is recycling itself. Thankfully. Plastic is frightful. Found this through stumbleupon

    • Gina says

      Hey Randy- I actually point out I haven’t been there, but mentioning shoes is more my personal humour and a touch of skepticism at wanting to step around in what is essentially ankle deep glass. I’m not pointing out that shoes are required in any way.
      However, Fort Bragg’s website does mention that you should consider keeping them on as there are the few occasional pieces of rusty metal scraps (like old spark plugs and that sort of thing) laying around that may have been missed or have washed up since the cleanup.

    • L says

      Personally, Randy, and I’ve lived in Ft Bragg for 26 years, I don’t like going without shoes on Glass Beach…. there ARE sharp shards of glass in places, not to mention rusty sharp pieces of metal sticking up out of the glass in places…. no thanks….. shoes in my opinion, are a MUST on this beach…

  3. says

    I suppose I have mixed feelings on this one. I too, like you can not understand people who litter. I just put it down to damn right laziness..and this.. well I agree it is an incredible sight and thankfully a very rare one at that. We are slowly becoming ever so slightly more willing to try and protect our planet, but still have an extremely long way to go. If the adding of more glass to this site has stopped and the damage to wildlife is zero then I don’t suppose there is a harm in promoting it as a site to see, and maybe some money could be made from it to be used in some way to help stop people from littering.

  4. Diane says

    I think it’s an excellent example of how God can take uneven our most thoughtless and stupid mistakes; and with a little time…transform it into something beautiful.

    • jamie says

      God did this? Its funny how when it was a waste dump it was man made, then when it turned good it was gods intervention. Im sure “god” has better things to do.

      • Rikki says

        Jaimie, your comment is the best I have read here yet. Live and let live people, quit trying to nitpick everyone else beliefs. Have some respect for one another.

      • tyler says

        misti and jaimie stfu. ppl should be ragged on it challenges their beliefs. I find more people trying to shove god in others faces more then anything else.

        • A. says

          Actually, I find that people who don’t believe in God shove it in others’ faces much more than the other way around. Diane made a statement about a God that she personally believes in – notice that she isn’t trying to convince others of her beliefs or ‘rag’ on athiests. More often than not, I find that my athiest friends point fingers about ‘preaching’ and then preach to me about what they think. Just let things be, it’s the Internet.

          • Jesse says

            If you put any opinion( religious or not) in a public forum you are giving people the chance to challenge or agree with your opinion..
            if you don’t like that then… Don’t post anything.
            Human development is fueled in huge part by the
            QUESTIONING OF PREVIOUSLY HELD BELIEFS

            Not challenging opinions (of any form) is tantamount to accepting them, and if we all did that then…
            We would be living on a Flat world in the Centre of the Universe
            and that would be such a waste of the
            A) True Beauty of Creation and the Universe
            or
            B) True Beauty of Gods Creation and the Universe

          • Josh says

            I think you’re all nuts, it wasn’t God or nature that did this, it was magic glass fairies that are sent here from Fairyland to protect the little, they spend night and day polishing every little piece of glass so as no child or adult gets cut or scraped.

            You need to stop with these mythical creations you come with like God and nature and trying to think that this stuff magically happens with a snap of the finger. If you only knew the fairy hours put into each piece of glass you would truly appreciate the true beauty of each piece.

            Saying something like “God did this” or Mother nature did this” please, it’s not that simple. Trust me, just ask the next glass fairy you see. I’m sure every one of these little amazing creatures could tell you a story….

            You should all be ashamed.

  5. says

    Excellent article! I live in California and I’ve never heard about this place. I found your blog on stumbleupon. We write a travel blog at letsjetset.com and I’m definitely going to put this place on our to do list! Thank you!

    • errin says

      No. The glass is a part of the beach. It’s protected. If you take it with you, then others will too, and eventually there will be nothing left of the beautiful beach that was there. Take pictures instead please.

      • anne says

        It’s actually “frowned” upon and discouraged. But I have researched it and can not find anywhere where State law prohibits removal of trash from the beach, yes it is man made trash, even though it’s beautiful. If it’s gone someday the beach will still be be there, and it will still be beautiful the way it was before it was a dump.

  6. Jaimie says

    I’ve been there a few times. It’s such a cool place. My uncle always said the blue bits of glass were the most rare and challenged my cousins and I to find as many as we could.

    • Jiggy says

      I have collected seaglass in a bunch of provinces and states and I find red is the most scarce. I have mostly Green,White(clear), Blue & Brown. I have found some Orange, Yellow and Purple but only one Red piece. I spoke with a man at a craft fair in CT & he said Black was very rare!! I find alot of joy along the ocean beaches and sea glass is all part of it!

  7. Morgan says

    I visited MacKerricher last year, and I am sad to report that there is virtually no glass on glass beach. Also, there is a significant amount of fresh, sharp glass. It looked like people had been breaking bottles on the beach in an attempt to restore the glass taken by hundreds of tourists and opportunists.

    • Shannon says

      Not really. I grew up in Fort Bragg/Mendocino and only recently graduated high school and moved away. While any of the cool or special glass is pretty much gone, there is still lots and lots of green and clear glass and none of it is sharp. I was just there a few months ago, in fact.

  8. Robin says

    I’ve been there and it is a beautiful example of the ability of humans to not think far enough into the future. it is sad in as many ways as it is beautiful. We’ve found very interesting objects, a piece from a brown Clorox bottle, with just the Clorox logo left and my mom’s personal favorite, a tiny arm from a porcelain doll. I’d like to know when these pictures were taken because when I was there in the mid-90′s, the beach was pretty well picked over. But perhaps the trash of yesteryear continues to come ashore…

  9. Kayna says

    I was born and raised in Fort Bragg, and I miss it terribly. Glass Beach is a beautiful place, very unique and a place people should really consider visiting.

  10. Maureen Conwell says

    It amazes me that there are so many environmentalists now that can bash what was done “back in the day.” Where were they then? We didn’t know about ecology and the harm doing that could cause. We just wanted to get rid of our garbage. Better there then on the roadside somewhere in the woods like what’s being done now. I know this for a fact because I see it almost once a month on my drive into town. Now there’s the people who need the reprimend in this modern day. However I applaud the environmentalist’s effort to clean things up.

    • Ayme says

      Try visiting Hawaii (the big island) the southernmost point of the United States. The entire shoreline is plastic. Washed in from everywhere. English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese writing on the piles of fisherman’s floats, water bottles and all things imaginable that are made of plastic. You drive way out of the way attempting to see “The Green Sand Beach” and this is what you stumble upon along the way. It’s disgusting, you don’t even see the sand for the trash.

      • Greeley says

        Was at Green Sand Beach a few years back and the amount of ocean trash was unbelievable. Truly a human tragedy at its worst.Hard to find any green sand through all the crap washing ashore. Some kind of trash nexus of the sea.

  11. betty banham says

    ever since Nat’l.Geo put a peice on these old dump sites people from all over have come and picked and dug and polluted paths and beaches.It is picked pretty clean these days and some vendors set up tables and sell peices of glass and various other trinkets.makinking it commerical has taken the old hidden joy out of it.

    • Heather says

      I was just at this beach 2 weeks ago and there was still plenty of glass, the paths were clean and well maintained and there was not a single person selling trinkets or setting up vendor tables.

      In fact, the beautiful walking paths and trails were lined with rambling wild blackberry bushes and fat and happy squirrels.

  12. Michelle says

    I’ve been to glass beach. I didn’t really care for the old glass, but I loved the scenic views and had so much fun taking pictures around glass beach. it’s very beautiful and it is worth going to.

  13. Geebby says

    I went there with my parents in 2007! My mom makes jewelry out of sea glass/ shells so she made us go there. It was so worth it though!! And you really can go barefoot!

  14. Gina says

    Apparently there are a couple of beaches; the main one MacKerricher touts as a tourist hotspot seems to be the one people are saying is picked over. From what I’ve been reading in park guides and what not, there are two other beaches that are harder to get to that have been left much more undisturbed. But that might be because one is only accessible by Sea Kayak. What an awesome adventure!

  15. says

    Everything else aside, how did the wildlife/ocean life handle all the years of abuse from humans? Ft. Bragg native(s): are there normally sea lions or seals in the area? If yes, how were they affected by all the toxins and glass bits before the glass was tumbled smooth? How about sea creatures? Do Ft. Bragg natives eat the fish, shell fish from the area? Does kelp grow normally? Star fish?
    This is part of our problem: we only think of how humans are affected, not the rest of the eco-system which we are dependent upon.

    • FB Native says

      I am a “Ft. Bragg native”. To answer some of your questions…

      “how did the wildlife/ocean life handle all the years of abuse from humans?”– I’m not old enough to remember the times when this area was actully used as a dump, so I don’t know how the wildlife suffered “way back when”. Our little community was quite the thriving fishing port for many many years. The decline in the industry has more to do with government regulations becuase of overfishing than the environmental hazards caused by the dumping that occured at Glass Beach.

      “are there normally sea lions or seals in the area? If yes, how were they affected by all the toxins and glass bits before the glass was tumbled smooth?” Yes- we have sea lions and seals. I’m not sure how the sea lions and seals were effected, though they seem to be doing well (just ask any fisherman who has experienced a sea lion snagging a salmon from their line).
      “Do Ft. Bragg natives eat the fish, shell fish from the area?” Yes, we do. And some of you might even eat them, too. As I said, we are a fishing community. Many of the fish and shell fish taken off our coast are shipped out of the area. Native are quite happy to eat fresh, locally caught snapper, salmon, abalone, mussles, halibut, dungeness crab, etc.
      “Does kelp grow normally?” Yes- it feeds the abalone and sea urchins (urchin roe is shipped to Japan) “Star fish?” Yep- even in tide pools at Glass Beach!

  16. BrownsvilleTexas says

    This reminds me of how amazing it was to see then walk on a pure black sand beach on the Big Island of Ha’waii….

  17. Bill says

    I guess it just goes to show how arrogant humans are thinking they can ‘destroy’ nature. Just like the spill in the gulf, nature shows us once again she can take care of herself.

  18. Aly says

    I visited here when I was growing up and every time it was a treat. It’s so much fun to run around seeing all the beautiful rocks that you can collect and all the beautiful colors of the rocks. I wish I could be there now. Such an amazing site to see.

  19. Alayna says

    While I hate litterers, I think glass on the beach is kind of funny, because it’s like “back to whence we came”. I wouldn’t mind visiting here. I agree with you, though. I’ll keep my shoes on; cutting your foot is never fun.

  20. says

    Love this place. I would have totally missed last year on my road trip if a local hadn’t told me to stop. Ft Bragg is a cool little town, worth stopping at.

  21. scott says

    The weirdest thing just happened… I am reading this article about glass beach and Fort Brag and watching 60 minutes,and in a completely unrelated story about Japan and the tsunami, they keep mentioning Fort Brag. 10-2-11 at 7:10 P.M. Serendipity strikes again.

    • Faisal says

      I was watching the same show but caught it right at the end of the tsunami part, I missed the Fort Brag. Speaking of 60 minutes, that guy that climbed all those mountains without any ropes was pretty crazy and cool.

  22. Jack says

    Fort Bragg is the California town that has a Japanese sister city just profiled on ABC News. — Now that we’re so much smarter than that long ago trash dumping — and we’ve done away with our glass, we only have plastic bottles! Scary…

  23. Corbin says

    Love the photos! Seems like a beach I might be wary of scooping up a handful of “sand” though. But definitely would love to check it out! Those colours are wild!

  24. says

    Cool. Have just been reading another article on collecting wave washed antique glass and those collectors probably need to know about this beach.

    • Roger says

      You could always just post the link!! Do it! This post deserves to be seen by everybody! Places like this are rare. Mother Nature fixing the problems we created!

  25. says

    Wow. Absolutely gorgeous. How interesting, too. Thanks for sharing. I used, many years ago, to be able to collect bits of polished glass like that on Shell Beach in La Jolla, California, to decorate my little terrariums. But since laws are now in place and enforced outlawing glass bottles on the beaches, the polished glass bits are no more. I love how nature is designed to impact dangerous things and make them beautiful sometimes.

  26. Tiffany says

    Glass beach looks nothing like this anymore. The locals go down early in the morning and collect whatever small amounts of glass still wash up. Ft. Bragg is still a beautiful place to visit, though!

    • Patricia says

      Thank you for pointing this out.

      Ft. Bragg is 6 hours drive south of me, so I don’t get to go down there often. Last year I went down and there wasn’t one piece of glass to be seen. It isn’t just picked over now, its gone.

      It also irritates me that a travel blog was written by someone who’s never been there. Just wow!

      • Gina says

        We’ve been having a pretty great back and forth conversation in the comments here about parts of the beach still having glass. Many people say the main beach has no glass, some have gone to different parts and found glass. Either way, people are talking about their experiences and their enjoyment of the area, and are interested in the positive results of just another mistake in our history as humans.

        Taking some of your own language, it irritates me that you make a snippy comment when you clearly came to a men’s blog, not a travel blog. I’ve never been to the beach, but rather repeatedly mention it’s something I’d like to see. It’s an interesting and wonderful story about somewhere near to you that deserves to be shared. Just wow!

  27. says

    Oh my God. Incredible. I can’t imagine or I never imagined that debris and rubble can turn into a beauty, something like this in Fort Bragg California. This beach is really worth a visit. I wish I can get to this place one of these days.

  28. says

    Wow, it is absolutely beautiful. It is so important to visit places like these at some point in your life. It’s definitely on the bucket list. I love traveling to places all over the world and finding great deals to get there!

  29. says

    Very beautiful! That is a great opening picture as well. I’ve never heard of this place before reading this article, but now I really want to to go.

  30. Brittany says

    I actually just visited glass beach in July, my sister got married in Mendocino! It was awesome! Although I must say it is sad to see people come and collect bags and bags of glass to make crafts and jewelry out of. I think it is okay to take a few pieces but try to leave it there for people to explore for years to come! And you don’t have to keep your shoes on! :)

  31. Brian says

    I find it rather shocking how ignorant the authorities were to use this place as a wast dump. I always thought folk from CA were smart, but they have just proved me wrong.

  32. trout says

    i love this. brilliant reminder that nature will always prevail. as much destruction as we may do to the world, it will always last long after the human race is gone

  33. Kate says

    Glass beach is/ was amazing. We used to go there very very often as children last time I was there was probably about 7 years ago. I have heard from some that there is no glass left and others that it’s still great. I haven’t been back in a very long time though! Most of the people who have said there is nothing left, are people who are not local and probably don’t know where glass beach is. It’s in a strange spot so it can be difficult to find. Although it was created out of idiocy, it’s seriously beautiful,

  34. says

    There is a similar beach near Port Townsend, Washington. It is known by locals as Glass Beach. It too, was previously used as the town dump for many years. There is not nearly the amounts of sea glass shown as in Fort Bragg, California but still attracts those looking for sea glass in the Pacific Northwest.

  35. Camille St Martin says

    So weird!!!! I was on Stumble Upon this morning and came across your post. I live in Colorado but my husband is on a motorcycle trip in California right now. I had no idea where he was because I hadn’t talked to him since yesterday morning but texted him he should check out this place. He just happened to be getting breakfast in Fort Bragg!!! So he went and checked it out after, said it was awesome. Thanks Gina!

  36. Stew Guttenberg says

    There is a glass beach in St. Lucia as well. Locals can take you there, but its near the old french capital of Soufriere. If you ever wanted to go out there you could stay at Pelican House, and our local guide can take you.

  37. Cindy says

    Although I’ve never been there, I think it’s amazing how Mother Nature tries to correct our mistakes. A friend of mine saw this post & left a very appropriate comment….”A beautiful place to collect a mermaids’ tears”

  38. says

    Amazing find…I live in Northern California but have never heard of this place before. It will definitely be a stop on my next road trip to the border. The lesson here may be “don’t mess with Mother Nature”….she will turn junk into jewels! Thanks for the interesting article. Great job.

  39. Shannon says

    Hey… I grew up here. Just down the coast in Mendocino. Fort Bragg is 10 miles north. Glass Beach is beautiful for sure.

  40. says

    This is amazing! I had no idea anything like this existed. Just just landed in the top 3 for spots I MUST visit in the next 2 years. Everytime I visit the Caribbean, I love collecting some of the smoothed glass from the beaches. I have a big glass jar full of various colors, shapes, and sizes. There’s just something beautiful about the glass and the uniqueness of each piece and the way the sun hits the jar and illuminates. I’ve gotta see this beach! Thanks for sharing!

    • Chaz says

      It has been cleaned and its constantly combed over by people who walk the beach, so it really isn’t that “terrible”. w

  41. Jake says

    I can understand the metal debris being a problem but aside from that. People have to be pretty ridiculous to argue with the fact of it actually being trash. Glass is made of sand and it isn’t at all pollution to form it. It’s actually a pretty clean process. It just takes heat to melt and not that much and we aren’t talking about Diamonds. That all being said, I simply think of the fact that nature always finds a way and what was once part of the environment is simply being recycled.

  42. says

    Seriously!! I would wait ha hundred more years before visiting. Surely there are three-headed monster crabs lurking in the “sand” down there. And I’m one hundred percent sure I’m not gonna eat them.

  43. Danielle says

    I went here when I was 10; it is really gorgeous, but while I was in the water a wave took me tumbling back to shore, and a shard of not-so-smooth glass cut my head. I still have a scar there, and my hair is considerably thinner there in comparison to the rest of my really-thickly-haired head.

  44. Danieller says

    Holy hell. Either people didn’t listen to momma when she said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” or they weren’t taught it.

  45. Kalamere says

    So narcissistic of the writer. If you beive in the techtonic plate theory, any all all garbage will be destroyed and purified by the core of the earth. What self centered little shits think it’s all about their shirt life span. The Planet as they like to call it lives in geological time and has to no deference to man or any other creatures. It wasn’t garbage that made dinosaurs extict If you really believed in Darwin then you would already know that and stop with the petty lecturing of others.

  46. Erik says

    There is actually a similar phenomenon on a much smaller scale in my hometown of pepperell, MA. the Jeff Smith trail runs through the woods in a location that used to be a bottling area, being located on a natural spring. Whenever the bottling co. left, they flushed all their glass bottles down the creek that the spring fed. Now decades later the whole riverbed is lined with different colors of old glass, worn down enough to walk through. All sorts of different size and color bottle pieces are still there, sometimes ill manage to fish out whole unbroken bottles, can be pretty neat.

  47. Braden Pitcher says

    I am a student in Soil Sciences and Watershed Management at Humboldt State University who has visited Glass Beach many times and has volunteered with the sea glass replenishment project. Replenishing with glass and pottery actually enhances the marine environment. Glass is made from sand and is colored with minerals. As the glass dissolves in the water, it releases the silica from the sand and the minerals used to color it. The same is true of Terra Cotta shards from pottery to fine china. These minerals form the basis of the food chain so each piece of glass or pottery is literally a mineral supplement that forms the very basis of the food chain. Marine biologists now study the marine environment in Fort Bragg because it is healthier than the surrounding area. Fort Bragg has 48 varieties of the Chiton snail, for instance, which is more than anywhere else in California. The glass also acts as a benign way to actually stabilize beaches. In an era of poor coastal planning and development and increased erosion rates, replenishing this glass beach can be a benefit ecologically, economically, and literally, physically.

  48. Brandon says

    Nature is hardly ‘fragile’. Nature is probably the most powerful force man knows. Don’t underestimate it. Second of all, after reading the first paragraph of this, I became uninterested, thanks to your horrible attitude. This beach is proof that no matter what man does, nature can take our mistakes and turn them into something beautiful. Man itself cannot stop nature.

    • Gina says

      An interesting take on what I wrote, I’d say. If I could understand what my “horrible attitude” was, I would better be able to address your claims. Were you to read further, you would realize that I say exactly what you’re telling me I didn’t; my post is about how fantastic it is that with time, the planet has reclaimed this beach and nullified our harmful insensitivity. Nature is both fragile and strong- we’re extremely capable of completely destroying parts of nature, and nature is even more capable of completely destroying us.

  49. says

    What a great blog post! Awesome images, and nice writing too. I’ll have to get my family up there sometime to see Glass Beach for ourselves. It’d be nice to drive all the way up from our home in San Diego, taking the 101 just North of LA.

  50. Jeri Grace says

    I want to go home and then go up to Fort Bragg and just up to the Red-Woods. Thank You for the beautiful pictures!!!

  51. Barbahrooba says

    Way cool but I’d be afraid to walk on it. Coincidentally, I think I saw a similar article on TravelExplosion.com before.

  52. Peyton Barrett says

    I just love those glass colours. As a jeweller who works with recycled glass and metals I can appreciate the hardwork of nature creating beauty out of the “glass junk”.

  53. says

    Sorry state of affairs that we have become such terrible polluters, but I have to say – the photos of the junkyard glass are incredible! To think how mother nature can take away all the sharp edges and make something so pretty – glad she is more clever than us!!! Very cool beach to visit. I saw something similar in Antigua – thankfully, the beach there was not due to human pollution, but rather a natural phenomenon – a shell beach.

  54. thekrunkymonkey says

    This beach no longer looks much like this. Strangely enough, so many people have been taking the glass for so many years that there are virtually no large pieces left and Glass Beach is now part of a conservation area in order that the remaining glass will be “protected”.

    • Gina says

      I don’t know if it’s true, but I’ve heard rumours from people in the area that the main, easily accessible beach is fairly picked over. However, there are apparently one or two that are mostly accessible with a bit of a hike, or by kayak/canoe, that have been left fairly unmolested. Do you live around there, or did you just visit recently? I’d be curious to find out.

      • says

        Two things:
        There is SO much glass. It has moved South, with the current.

        There was a LOT of glass at the original cove, but not only did it move, there was a toxic waste clean up several years ago and there were huge loaders digging up the ocean floor and beach, loading up trucks, and taking the glass, cars, metal, etc. to the landfill.

        My website has the directions for where to find the sea glass. And, yes, you can take a little home!

        • L says

          Karen,

          The northernmost site was not the original cove; the southernmost site was… and the glass, as you know, is still there (yeah, this is Feather *smile*)

          The northernmost site was cleaned up after a storm revealed an entire car, as well as a lot of pollutants, leaking it onto the shore and into the surrounding ground water. State parks was about to take over from the city, but asked the city to clean it up before they would do that, and SOOOOO, most of that glass was hauled away. However, glass keeps popping up on the northernmost site and whenever the sands and sea weed aren’t covering it all up, it’s still quite lovely to look at, especially at low tide.

          That said, the state parks is citing archaeological and historical interest, as reasons for not taking the glass….. (hehehe, funny, right?)….totally negating, in their officious way, the fact that there are CA Coastal Codes that in essence, allow beach combing above the mean high tide mark…. (whichever is the middle between high and low; one can usually see it by comparing the lines of natural debris along the shore when it hasn’t been disturbed)….so if you must collect on the northernmost site, stay between the mean high tide and high tide marks :)

          • Duane says

            Karen I ve been their to these beach s sevr: times yrs ago an also dived off them what great things there where to see under water ,(if you do be dam careful) was a sight to be hold . this was back in 70 s an 80s an early 90s.

  55. Janelle says

    Thanks for sharing this with the world. I grew up in Fort Bragg where this beach is located. It use to be one of my favorite place. Beautiful glass everywhere.

  56. Steve says

    These pics are ANCIENT! Glass beach hasn’t looked like that in AGES. The glass like you see in the pictures has been gone for decades. You will be SO sad and disappointing if you take your family there. Much better beaches in the area! Just drive south about 10 miles to the little town of Mendicino! You will be glad you did.

    • L says

      Steve: the beach has three sites. Yes, the northernmost site hasn’t looked like this for at least ten years… but the middle and southernmost sites are still covered in glass. The shot that is identified as being by Lisa D Walker is mine, and yes, I took that shot in 2009. If you haven’t yet, please feel free to visit my website link under the shot and e mail me.

      I’ve written a book about the history of the beach. I still collect glass on the middle and southernmost sites. Yes, there is still A LOT of glass there. You just have to know when to go: low tide is best…. I find too that hunting sea glass is also better in winter and spring…. summer is fine, but the beach is too crowded for me…. :)

  57. Chris says

    Glass is made from sand. It’s totally inert and harmless once smooth and in small chunks. Instead of wasting landfill space or wasting energy recycling it, we should dump it in the ocean.

  58. scott says

    And it gets even prettier when there’s an oil spill and the water gets an iridescent sheen of rainbow colours on it! ;-)

  59. says

    On our Greek island of Paros there are several beaches on which one can comb for sea glass. Plus there are many sea glass hobbyists from around the world. So I am putting together a sea glass workshop to bring them together.
    Cheers

  60. says

    My wife always looks for coloured glass on beaches -she absolutely loves them – imagine her face when I showed her this article! Thanks very, very interesting. However we certainly shouldn’t dump anything in the sea!

    • L says

      oh, hahaha, the same General Braxton Bragg who lent his name to the Fort Bragg in North Carolina, is the one who lent his name to this coastal gem on the northern California coast, in Mendocino county…. so yes, Fort Bragg is in both locations… ;)

  61. karen says

    Love this post. I live here in Fort Bragg and I’m a sea glass addict. I have to laugh at a current shitty committee that is trying hard to keep people from collecting the trash. It is trash, bottom line. Seeding? No, don’t ever throw anything in the ocean, you are littering. Lesson learned. Now, go get the trash-turned-treasure because it’s pure joy to collect. It is legal to collect on the part of Glass Beach that is LOADED with sea glass on the City’s side of the beach. You will get some dirty looks if you bring a shovel and a bucket, but you wouldn’t do that. Especially because the good glass is on the top!
    It’ll just turn to sand, so if you really want to preserve it, take it home!
    Also, I don’t think we are going to someday stop our kids’ kids from picking up all our plastic to put in their art projects. Or…?
    If you are one those that “seeds” the glass, you should be arrested for littering. It’s disgusting to throw anything into the ocean.

    • Gina says

      Thanks for giving us some closure! Everyone’s been freaking out claiming that there’s nothing left because we’re all HORRIBLE MONSTERS. I was certain there were large parts of the beach that still held some glass and could remind us that sometimes our mistakes can mean very little in the face of mother nature’s heavy handed nurturing.

  62. Brig Sunil Arya says

    Will love to visit the Glass Beach….the natures way of recycling and converting waste in to tiny marvels ……

  63. MattP says

    I grew up in Fort Bragg. True, it was the town dump for many years. True, people did bad things in the past as they still do now. What is in the past is past us.

    The irony of glass beach in Fort Bragg is simple. Humans made the wase problem there. Then humans saw that there was a novelty to going to glass beach and collecting glass and the odd bit of rusted whatever and in turn, made crafts with them. Now it is frowned upon to pick glass there. The biggest complaint in FB about Glass beach, it is running out of glass. OH MY GOD! You mean the earth has made man clean itself and now it is a bad thing? That is the irony there in FB. The enviros want the environment clean, but are now complaining that this once blight is getting too clean.

    I have spent much time there in the “heyday” of glass picking and the best treasure that I have found there was a 1918 standing liberty silver half dollar that still has the rusty sand deposits on it that I chipped from a piece of bluff with my pocket knife. That was in the late 80′s.

  64. MCB says

    Weather it is pleasing to your eye is not significant. We have learned that it is our responsibility to impact nature as little as possible. Now, that we are aware, it would be an even bigger sin to do it again.
    With that said, I would like to visit while it is still there. The colorful pictures are pleasing to my eyes.

  65. saad zwayne says

    It`s a nature piece of art , I hope one day I have the opportunity to visit it. thank`s for the sharing this experience .

  66. says

    Very nice photos, even the source means something else. The nature seems to be more intelligent than humans are. I can invite you in Romania, where the nature is still wild. Not for many years, unfortunately…

  67. Kathy says

    I love this-we had the same situation in a lake in upstate NY, except the beach glass isn’t as concentrated in one place-you can find it nearly the entire shore of the south end of the lake

  68. Mackenzie says

    I believe I visited glass beach and there was hardly any glass left because it was picked up bye tourist. It was pretty sad but perhaps I was just not in a very lush section of glass beach in fortbragg.

    • L says

      She didn’t take these shots. I took the one at the bottom. The rest are by people who contributed to Trip Advisor….. the author should have gotten permission prior to using them…. and Trip Advisor shouldn’t allow people to just take the photos like that…. am considering removing mine from their site as it’s sad how many bloggers have just used the shots without identifying the photographers. Photography represents work for me….. it’s hard to pay the bills when I am not being paid for my work… :) However, I did give the author of this blog permission to use my shot as long as she gave me credit… I just wish we could find the other photographers so they would have credit too :)

  69. says

    Haha! Love it!! If nature can turn toxic waste into this thing of beauty (to me, anyway!!) it just shows us how impermanent our tracks on the earth will be. And that’s worth a look!!

  70. says

    Wow! Sustainability is such an important issue for man… yet the Earth adapts quicker than we do to recycle our waste… lessons for us all!

  71. Treva says

    I love that people have finally found this treasure! I grew up going to glass beach every year as a kid and it was wonderful. These days there is very little blue glass to be found, but the beauty is everlasting.

  72. says

    I have seen something like this before in Israel. After independence day the beaches are scattered with broken beer bottles and a few weeks later when you go to the beach the waters have cleaned off the sharp edges. Even though it is trash and its a terrible thing, there is still some beauty to it. Very interesting article.

  73. says

    That beach looked like the photo in the 60′s when I was a child. I still have glass from back then. Now it looks nothing like that. And yes there are a few hidden places that have a few bigger pieces but the years those too have disappeared. That picture certainly was not in recent years. I would be willing to bet new comers will be greatly disappointed.

    • L says

      Cindy: all the shots are within the last few years…. I took that bottom one in 2009. You just haven’t been to the right section of beach :) (There are three sites)

  74. says

    Great article Gina!
    I still enjoy visiting Fort Bragg but it certainly has been picked over. But of course, on any given day you can still find some wonderful gems.
    I do wish I knew the place when it was still “undiscovered.” I’ve been told about being able to leave there with a bucket full of rare, colorful sea glass.
    Fortunately, there are still “glass beaches” out there to be discovered.
    I never leave home without a plastic baggy…
    :-)

  75. says

    I own the Sea Glass Museum in Fort Bragg. I haven’t read all the comments and posts, but I would like to note that the marine environment in Fort Bragg is now much healthier than the surrounding areas because of the glass and pottery shards. This is because each color comes from a different mineral (even clear glass is clarified with minerals) and as the glass and pottery dissolves it releases those minerals and that is the basis of the food chain.
    The glass pebbles also create air pockets that provide habitat for shrimps, worms, isopods, insects and micro flora and micro fauna that also reinforce the food chain here. Fort Bragg has 48 variety of chiton snails, more than anywhere else in California and the other species are more plentiful and healthy as well.
    If the glass level here is not maintained, there will be a big die back in the marine environment that will affect all species, including the sea bird rookery and the harbor seal population.
    As collecting can not be banned or stopped, due to Art. 10 of the state constitution, replenishment of the glass is the only alternative. This is the ultimate in recycling and is cheaper and much more environmentally friendly than putting it in a landfill. Glass is made from sand that came from beaches and is no more than large pieces of mineral enriched sand.
    Please visit the Sea Glass Museum for more information.

    • Chad says

      Thanks for stopping by Cass, that was very informative. I hadn’t even considered that the minerals from the glass would be useful to the sea life.

      • Cass says

        Thanks, Chad. We are trying hard to educate people on this issue. I would like to add that Gina’s photos are recent and that although the park area is largely depleted, it is only the third of 3 town dump sites and we have the highest concentration of sea glass in the world. Site #2 is fairly easily accessible by foot and Fort Bragg is the Mecca for sea glass artists and enthusiasts. Site #1, or “Treasure Cove” is still only accessible by water. Collecting is perfectly legal at Sites #1 & 2, but we ask people to be selective in what they take.
        In 2008 marine biologists dove the sea caves behind the old Georgia Pacific mill site and were amazed at the striking array of life here. Their comments and photos can be found at http://www.fortbraggmillsite.com/fortbraggmillsite/index2.cfm?module=scientistsnotebook.
        Whether you are a diver/snorkeler or sea glass enthusiast, Fort Bragg is a great place to visit.
        Cass

  76. says

    I’ve heard about this beach several times. Next time i’m in Cali i’ll have to visit. I’m sure at sunrise there would be awesome photo opportunities. Thanks for sharing.

    Love the blog, kind regards, Si

  77. Zappo23 says

    “Ohh, I hate littering, but look at the beauty it created!” I hate self-righteous, self-indulgent people who don’t want their cake but will eat it anyway.

  78. medusa says

    I grew up an hour outside of Fort Bragg. My father would take me to this beach every other weekend as a child. While I really appreciate the beautiful photo’s you took here, I don’t appreciate the apparent negativeness throughout this article. It just hit close to home.

  79. says

    wow the beads are beautiful. I guess it’s not a bad “dump” then. Would love to visit there. Thanks for sharing!!!
    Elsa

  80. Jesse Tam says

    Will definitely make a trip to see Glass Beach, it’s amazing to see the changes that can be made with some colorful glass.

      • L says

        Karen… again, the site where there is almost no glass left is actually the YOUNGEST of the dump sites…. it closed in 1967 and was cleaned up in 2002…..

  81. says

    glass beach is a thing of the past you will likely find nothing but its fun to look anyway .if your really into beach glass I think you can make you own just Google it . its done in a rock polisher. have fun and carry on.

    • L says

      If you think that, you’re missing out. Perhaps you haven’t visited ALL of the three beaches that are collectively known as Glass Beach? There is still a lot of glass left on the southernmost and middle sites :)

  82. Wayne says

    The quote, “I’ll judge you if I think you are too lazy to recycle”. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HA Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha…… Self-righteous would be the term for one who makes such a statement. I really don’t think you have the right, knowledge, or position to judge anybody but yourself. At the time that the trash was dumped there, it was considered OK by then social norms. You probably would have done the same in the same time and place. BTW Father Nature did not have any tricks up his sleeve, he doesn’t have any tricks. He just does what Father Nature does, and that is according to the universal laws of physics. So get off yer little high horse missy..

    • Gina says

      Hey Wayne! Welcome to the Internet; I think you’re really going to like it here, once you get the hang of it. See, the thing is: as humans, we really do have the right to judge… in fact, our entire lives are comprised of judgement! Every social interaction of every second of every day is based around a never ending series of decisions about what you like, dislike, respect, despise, or identify with. The most wonderful thing about this phenomenon is your post- you judged me on a single sentence, and became so incensed, you wrote an entire paragraph that largely hinges on some completely irrelevant terminology that you don’t like. Where our rights truly stop is at being judge and jury.

      As for the only valid point in your post, if you bothered to read anything else I’ve said, you would be happy to note I completely agree and have blatantly stated that there was simply no way to know or to care at the time. As a connection to this day and age, knowing what we do about our world and recycling, I do believe and judge that careless pollution is completely ridiculous and avoidable. In any case, your pointed use of Father Earth (Mother Earth is simply a well documented, centuries old, socially accepted and culturally relevant moniker), argument about “tricks up the sleeve” (a recognizable and understandable turn of phrase that conveys wonder and appreciation of an event), and your condescending use of Missy and perception of my high horse all make you sound… well, amazingly judgemental. We’re all a little more alike than you would care to believe.

  83. Daisy Helmuth says

    Thats so pretty! I wish I could visit it, but I’ve never been to California and I probably won’t for quite a while in my life, but oh well! At least there’s pictures!

  84. irishdreamer says

    I can’t help but wonder at those who are so critical of cultures of the past. Most of us do as others around us do. When a better idea comes along, we usually eventually embrace that idea, then look back and say, Why didn’t we always do as we do now. We are so superior to everyone else, aren’t we? In the fifties, there were no garbage collections where I grew up. You did what you could with your trash. We burned what we could in barrels using screens to keep sparks from flying, and some of us had “hollers” in which to put the unburnables. We told ourselves we were helping to stop erosion and felt good about it. Today, as we walk around sporting our water bottles and filling the land fills with plastic, we refer those who in the past either had no alternative or simply didn’t know better, as cretins. We are so superior, aren’t we?

  85. Kevin says

    FYI to the writer: you don’t get tetanus from rust on metal. The bacteria Clostridium tetani that lives in soil/dirt gets into the body through an opening in the skin, typically caused when we step on something sharp.

  86. patti says

    Another name for beach glass is Mermaid’s Tears.. but I bet the mermaids would be laughing if they read some of these posts…. Good grief people, lighten up!

  87. Desiree says

    I would love a machine of my own and make my own sea glass then take from where it is developing its habitat for other creatures to grow. I use to sit at this rocky beach in M’head MA just to find pottery and blue sea glass and saved them in a jar. But to create my own with all the bottles i have put away would be amazing and put in my own garden.

      • L says

        and that would be called faux sea glass. Real sea glass is, however, turned by the ocean and is distinctive in patterns on the glass, shapes, and overall appearance. Rock-tumbler glass is by far smoother overall and is not then considered sea glass…. sea glass has history. Rock-tumbled glass does not. :)

  88. Kevin says

    “For 18 years, people drove out to the scenic expanse of ocean cliffs, marveled at the beauty of the natural world and the majesty of the depths, and then threw all their shit in.”

    Thanks that was my favorite sentence.

    • L says

      Except that the beaches were dumps from 1906-1943, 1943-1949 and 1949-1967. Where 18 years came from is anyone’s guess…. LOL

  89. says

    Gina,

    Overall this is a great article but I have to agree with Kevin in the comment above… “and then threw all their s**t in”. I wasn’t expecting that and it’s why I couldn’t help but keep reading as you gave me an unexpected smile so early in your piece. Thank you for the article and adding a smile to my day. Martin from Marvelled.

    • Gina says

      Thanks for taking the time to say so, guys. I have a fairly flippant and lighthearted sense of humour, and sometimes it gets misconstrued as bitchiness- or in the case of this article, gets me called out for condescending mockery. But the real truth is, if we can’t get a smile out of the mistakes we’re destined to make as a species on a daily basis, we’re gonna spend the rest of our lives crying into our vegan no fat all organic fair trade coffee, wondering why no one laughs any more.

  90. Peter says

    Earth to Earth. All what that was thrown away is slowly being returned to its natural state. Our (human) life on earth is but a fleeting moment in the expanse of time/universe. Get used to this idea and appreciate the wonders you see in the brief moment you share whilst passing through. You are experiencing in fast-motion a “return to nature” that sometimes takes millions of years. e.g. Dinosaur bones to rock. You are seeing trash to sand. Steel to Fe XXX. Rubber to XYZ? Appreciate this as you will see only 80 or so years in a universe of about 13,5 billion years. Appreciate what you see and pass on a good experience to those who may wiish to enjoy their 80 or so years. Observe and good luck with your alloted life years. Don’t leave lbehind you trash that others will not wish to see. They may not have as many years.

  91. Kristen says

    I love this post, but the advertising included on the page is a bit crass and makes me not want to share or officially like the page. You should make a new site that doesn’t include advertising or monitor what kind of ads go up on your site. Unless you like having an ad with an almost naked woman and suggestive headline.

  92. says

    Although it looks nice, there’s something very wrong about California opting to turn a waste dump into a national park instead of cleaning up that part of the planet the state government permitted to be polluted. Only in America!

    • L says

      Oh, but they DID clean up the northernmost site; in fact, before the state park took that particular site on, they INSISTED that the city do the clean up after a harsh winter storm revealed an entire car and leached toxins into the soil and surrounding ground water. So, they cleaned it up alright, and took EVERYTHING they could, away (including most of the sea glass in that location)… so all the glass, trash, toxins, etc., were cleaned up and the northernmost site which is the youngest of the dump sites anyway, was claimed by state parks. Interesting is that now they are citing archaeological interest as a reason to not collect the glass there….. which, as I’ve said in previous posts today, negates the CA Coastal Code which makes it legal to beach comb above the mean high tide mark :)

  93. Anastasia says

    Lies and slander kids. I was up in Fort Bragg last summer, most of the glass is gone. They have beach security to make sure you aren’t taking glass off too. Too many people thought it would be neat to take home a bag of glass. Well, several thousand later and now it’s tiny bits or rounded white and green glass bits but mostly rocky sand.

    • L says

      Anastasia, sorry dear, you were on the wrong side. :) There are three coves collectively known as Glass Beach and you were on the northernmost site. Next time you are here, take the left fork and head south … you won’t be disappointed :) In fact, all the shots you see in this article, are from the middle site. :)

  94. AppleJacks007 says

    This is beautiful, maybe i will visit one day. Theres not a beach like that around me, would live to see it while the sun sets.

  95. Krystal says

    It’s June 2012, can we take glass from the beach???? that is the only reason I’m going there is to look at and take glass.

  96. Kaylee says

    Hello everyone!

    Just curious if anyone knows the specifics about tourism and such to this beautiful place. I’ve taken a liking to the idea of having my wedding in this spot, though I cannot currently find any information to accept or decline my idea.

    If anyone has a website or any further information that would help answer my question, please take the time! Thank you!

    • L says

      If you don’t mind a climb and other witnesses to your special day, then by all means, have your wedding here… make sure you do it at low tide, however, so as to accommodate your wedding party :)

  97. Chiang Mai says

    It is quite amazing what nature can do!! It is a shame that that we do not learn quicker, Though!!

  98. says

    am astounded at finding this webpage . . . i was at this place in 1971, a friend took me there . . . was kind of a hippie-hangout back then . . . has long faded into my memory . . . wow . . . was beautiful then, i do remember the dazzling combination of wet glass and bright sun . . . fantastic!

  99. vicki dionne says

    I live near a beach and collect this stuff. but there is not near the glass at our beaches as this. this is amazing to see. i would be in hog heaven seeing this in person. hope to go there one day.

  100. sonja says

    I went there last week.I was expecting to see big pieces of glass,maybe even embedded into rock.small pieces of glass were on the sand.you think theyre small rocks,when you take a closer look you notice it’s glass.youll find them around closer to the shore …….it’s not all over the beach.sorry it was a dump before.

    • L says

      hi… you were just on the wrong beach is all…. come on back and stay to the left instead of turning right… :) You will be very pleasantly surprised :)

  101. says

    Awesome post, thanks for sharing! If I ever make it out to California…and if this still exists as a glass beach – instead of just a normal beach – I’ll make sure to check it out.

  102. says

    What fantastic colours. But I think you’re right to keep the shoes on – walking on all the broken glass is probably not the most sensible thing!

    • Chad says

      Agreed, that probably wouldn’t be the best move. I walked down a river in Belize barefoot once, and after an hour of walking, my feet were destroyed. I imagine this would be so, so much worse.

  103. Andrew says

    Humans have a very strong tendancy to make ourselves out to be more important/powerful than we really are. We know the Earth is billions of years old and we’ve probably only been around for a few hundred thousand years. Yet we think that what we’re doing is going to make a huge impact on nature.

    It’s true that we may impact it enough to one day cause our own extinction. But as for nature and the Earth? It will be fine. It will recover. It can deal with glass. It can deal with plastic. It can deal with hazardous gases. We might not be able to, but the Earth can.

    We throw glass in the ocean, it makes glass rocks. Doesn’t care at all what the material is. It’ll wear it down until it becomes sand again. No big deal to the Earth. Not even a blip on the radar.

    We’re putting toxic gas in the air? Earth doesn’t care. It’s the same to the Earth as any other gas. If it kills us off, nature will just allow a new species to evolve that’s fit for living in this new atmosphere… Hell, it may even just be us that adapts to it.

    In other words: Nature cannot be ruined or destroyed. We are a part of nature. Anything we do is a part of nature. People like to make divides between us and nature, between technology and nature… It’s all nature. Just because our ideas about nature are always represented by trees, plants, other animals, etc… it doesn’t mean that’s all nature is. Nature is everything. And it will survive no matter what we little humans do.

    So when we talk about our effect on the environment… It’s not about concern for the Earth. It’s about concern for US! We’re worried about what can affect our health. Maybe some people are worried about the other animals, because we don’t like seeing species go extinct… But by and large, environmental concerns are about worries that we’ll end up killing ourselves. The rest of it’s just superficial concerns about the environment looking pretty, because trees are prettier than skyscrapers. But here’s proof that human-affected environments can end up looking pretty too.

  104. Travel Dude says

    Oh I love beach glass. I use to spend hours looking for it when I was on North Haven Island in Maine and still have a few pieces stashed away in my keepsake box. This beach is beyond cool looking. I will have to put it on my to do list.

  105. says

    Reading all these comments is very interesting. I am glad we as humans have very different opinions. I just look at the beach and say that is cool. I make jewelry and would love to have a few pieces. Just enjoy the story and the pictures and visit the beach. There are many beaches all over the world with sea glass. I just might put this on my bucket list. :)

  106. Mr. Coffee says

    WOW,

    are you sure those aren’t from some holywood film?
    OMG, i didn’t know mother earth had such beautiful beaches,

    is the beach long??
    and do people do surfing there?

    WOW,
    you really had my eye opened

  107. says

    We are selfish to the level of total destruction.We do not care who gets harmed by our waste.We dump our toxic waste anywhere,without thinking about the consequences of it.We organize earth summit but we never move a small finger to protect our earth from environmental harm.Whom should we blame?The respective national governments,or the politicians.If we are truthful to ourselves we will know that we are to blame individually and jointly.Next time when I make waste Let me think about this picture and be more careful to dispose it.

  108. it says

    I still enjoy visiting Fort Bragg but it certainly has been picked over. But of course, on any given day you can still find some wonderful gems.
    I do wish I knew the place when it was still

  109. says

    This really is amazing. I think it looks beautiful, despite its trashy origins. And it is a sign of hope that even our most careless acts can be put right in some way.

  110. Bellaisa says

    Oh, I wish my grandpa could have seen this. He would love to see nature at it’s best like this. But seriously, we need to stop wasting and disposing.

  111. Mel says

    Wow how amazing!!! Great pictures & article :) I had never heard of this before the things ya learn on the internet hey :D

  112. dustin says

    I am from Fort Bragg I lived there till I was 30yrs old and spent almost eveyday down there when I was 12-13 yrs old skipping school and messing around. Its changed alot since then. There used to be big cement walls at the end of the cliffs where they used to back up and dump the garbage trucks. It might not of been a very enviromental thing to do but years later it is very beautiful. most of the rocks that are exposed on a low tide are big chunks of rusted metal objects the serve as homes to the sea creatures and it is like art sculptures. There are beaches all around the world just like this. I think reintroducing glass is a good idea and am shocked because I have been thinking that for some time and had no idea others were thinking it too. Fort Bragg survives from the turists that frequent there and anything to keep them coming back or recomending it to other travelers is a good thing.

  113. says

    Totally blown away! I’ve been collecting sea glass for years, and this is just spectacular! My favorite place is about 2 hours from where I live, but I don’t tell people about it, so that it won’t be completely depleted. Best kept secrets and all… ;-) Really appreciated the comments by Cass, fascinating information. Nice post Gena; thanks for sharing this.

  114. Char says

    If someone paid for my ticket and the shipping container back to Canada… as well as logging… I would be there in a heartbeat and clean it all away!!! I LOVE beach glass and am an avid collector! I agree, its sad when people do this sort of thing and most of the stuff I see on the beaches in Canada Ontario is from long gone days… some is 100 years or more old. :)

  115. says

    This is a beautiful example of some people’s trash being other people’s treasure! I’ve been to California many times and have added this to my list for the next time around!

  116. Jimsod says

    Unfortunately, Gina has tasted the Kool-aid of the environmentalist rage. Glass beach is primarily glass from an old glass factory that no longer exist and not from people dumping their garbage over the cliff. We do need to be morally and ethically aware of our natural resources but let’s not misrepresent the facts to rally around the bully pulpit, Holier than Thou. The real polution is over population.

  117. Robert L. Forget says

    30 years ago I used to pick up little glass triangles and hearts off the beach in Victoria BC and make necklaces out of them and sell them for five bucks. There used to be a dump just outside in the ocean, many years ago. I thought at that time that I could earn a living anywhere in the world as I traveled with my secret craft. The last time I was in Fort Bragg, I was returning to Canada after my honeymoon in Mexico and while parked on the beach there, I observed a nuclear war about 10 to 15 miles out. So I knocked on the camper nest to me’s door, saying; Did you see that? He said; they’re training, it’s top secret. That was pretty scary. I wish God would make that go away. he-he.

  118. says

    I just stumbled on to this and what an interesting find it has been! I have never heard of this beach before, but now I am totally enthralled and want to go see it myself! We never fully appreciate nature for the beauty it adds to our daily lives. It’s unfortunate that the site had been made a dump and that it took so long for us to start to clean up our own mess only after nature had done her part. But being the amazing force that it is, it seems to have made lemonade from lemons by giving us something new, exciting, and interesting to go see. While this is an interesting back story to this rainbow colored beach, I hope this story gets out there more, not so much to attract visitors, but rather to encourage people to appreciate nature for what it is and to respect it. Thanks for sharing this bit of knowledge with the world :)

  119. says

    There is a beautiful glass beach on Kauai that we visited earlier this year. The glass is not as large as pictured here but still very unique and beautiful. George

  120. says

    When I was little I used to search the beaches for these small pieces of rounded glass. Their soft texture and colors amazed me and I always brought a bunch of them back home. If I would have found this beach years ago, I don’t think my parents could have managed to get me out for a while!

  121. Wuz says

    Why shouldn’t they remake it? We throw billions of tonnes of rubbish into holes in the ground to fester under the ground every year. What’s the difference in throwing some glass into the ocean to make a beautiful little beach for people to enjoy, visit for a few hours and see something they’ve never experienced before? Especially if it’s protected so that it’s safely done. They will obviously not through rubbish into the sea again now! After all, there’s far more sea than land on our planet and there’s no humans living under the sea like there are people in shanty towns living on rubbish dumps of pure filth.

    People need to chill out and enjoy the beauty in small things man made or natural. Most beaches in the world have some rubbish and debry on them, that’s life and that’s the way some people treat the world today, with disregard for hyginene and others pleasure. It’s a short life we get to live on this planet and I think it’s sad that there are so many unhappy people who choose to hate on others research, hard work and opinions. Be respectful to each other and you will lead an easier happier life. I think the beach looks awesome. If they’re running out of glass maybe they can remake it to preserve the original beauty of how nature works. Sounds like a great school trip to me if you live that way!

  122. says

    Oh My Good Lord. This is amazing! What a nature’s wonder that makes bad things into good things. Such a very beautiful sight of these rubbles turned into colorful stones.

  123. marvin nubwaxer says

    put broken glass with some coarse sand and water into a cement mixer and it won’t take long to get all the polished glass you want.

  124. says

    Hi, Gina. Beautiful post. I love how you personalized it so that we know you visited and used the ecological angle. I’ve also blogged about this spot both on my blog and for World Travel List. I added a video to my post that explains how the minerals in the glass feed the ecosystem as the waves wear them down. Now that the garbage is gone, the glass is actually GOOD for the environment! Win, win for everyone, as long as people take only photos and leave only footprints. Happy Sails from Gold Boat Journeys: Live. Write. Travel. Explore

  125. Laura says

    Well, I live about three blocks from this particular site, and, yes, it once was the city dump, and the glass remaining is fantastic to behold; however, there is less than there used to be. If you know where to go, in certain coves along the coastline, there are places where much glass can still be seen and enjoyed. Do keep your shoes on because among the glass, which has been tumbled in the surf, there are also pieces of wire and small rusty things that are more likely to hurt you than the glass. The glass is prominent, and IS actually good for the environment (as stated in the previous post). Locals are attempting to find a way to replenish the older trash-glass with newer pre-tumbled trash-glass, so that the supply is not ever completely depleted by visitors who cannot resist taking some home with them. It is best to take only photographs and leave only footprints, but people, being what they are. So come and visit to see for yourself. It is not a beach full of trash, as some have stated, and if they did not see very much glass, then they did not look in the right places. Perhaps they can only focus on sour grapes…

  126. says

    Yeah, that is amazing beach, but i guess i saw such one in europe, on the black see shore. But this pictures are just amazing, like clear swarowski crystals.))
    Very cool share and grt article, thanks and please visit us too. We can become friends in blogs)

  127. says

    It really awesome. I have saw this first time. Thanks to stumble upon. I wish to visit here once before I die.
    But the first question stroked in my mind when I saw this
    Are these glasses natural or man made?

  128. Mary says

    omg this is horrible, yes it’s appealing to the eye but realistically this shows how polluted that part of the world is. We are living in a horribly polluted world and I believe it will get worse. This is just one of the signs that mother nature is fighting against “dirty” humans and she is losing the war :(
    We are destroying earth and this is proof.. truly horrible pictures and extremely sad that my children will have to live in suck a polluted planet :(

  129. says

    It is really beautiful! I couldn’t think of a better outcome from people being lazy, slobby bastards who just turf their rubbish where they stand.

  130. says

    I took my mom there a few years ago for Mother’s Day – She had a blast digging around for her favorite colors! We have a lot of sea glass to be found where I’m from, too: Orcas Island, WA. We enjoy making jewelry out of it because it’s so dang pretty!

  131. t says

    how exquisitely utterly amazingly beautiful. Glass is made from sand. It’s true… from earth we come and to earth we go. Sea glass is very valuable as people buy the jewllery from it. In Hawaii there is a green peridot beach!!!!

  132. BRENDA says

    I LOVE THE PICTURES OF THE BEACH,THE THING I LOVE TO DO MOST WHEN VISITING A BEACH IS COLLECT ANY SMOOTH GLASS,ITS AMAZING HOW MANY COLOURS YOU CAN FIND, BLUE IS ALWAYS A GREAT FIND.
    I WOULD LOVE TO ONE DAY GO TO THAT BEACH IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL.

  133. says

    “For 18 years, people drove out to the scenic expanse of ocean cliffs, marveled at the beauty of the natural world and the majesty of the depths, and then threw all their shit in.”

    I lol’d at that. Thanks for the article…never heard of this place. It’s gorgeous.

  134. Greg F. says

    Now, wait! Are you trying to say the Earth’s fragile ecosystems might somehow, someway have regenerative powers? That would mean the narcissists of the world can’t truly, permanent screw things up? That the Earth could miraculously recover? Quick! Somebody call Al-Jazeera Gore!

  135. says

    Wow! The colors here are incredible. That just went on my bucket list. Fantastic pictures. They really capture it. And I love the title! haha.

  136. says

    I’m there! Great article, I like the brief history of how the beach came to be. I frequently travel into California to go to the beach, but sometimes I get tired of the same sand. I will have to make a special trip to see this one.

  137. Cassie says

    To bad a bunch of people came in and stole all the glass or something.
    Its not there anymore :(
    Now its just a regular beach and if your lucky you might find one piece of old glass.
    Saw it when i was a kid tho, literally mind-blowing, one of the coolest things I ever will see.

  138. zandra says

    I was just here on 3/26/13 and although the beach didn’t look like some of the pictures that pop up on google, there was tons of glass all over the beach. Mostly clear, green, and brown, but it was amazing how much glass there actually was. This was the first time I saw glass beach and I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t really notice trash either, but I did see lots of metal pieces and spark plugs stuck into the bigger rocks down by the water. I would definitely recommend visiting glass beach just to see it for yourself, but I wouldn’t expect it to look just like the pictures on google :)

  139. P says

    This is beautiful, I stumbled here and this is one of the last places my best friend was before she passed away in an accident. I’m glad I can see it here until the day I actually get to go here,

  140. Rajiv says

    Although this is trash – it does make some sense; glass is made of silica which is nothing but sand, as in beach sand!

  141. says

    I always look for sea glass on the North Fork of Long Island, but have only found one or two pieces. I’d love to visit a beach that has an abundance so I could gather it and make jewelry. If I’m ever in the area, I’ll make it a point to stop by. Thanks for the article.

  142. says

    Ohhhh i have seen this before, i really would love to get there! i know it littering and that is not a good thing but look at how the sea has turned a bad thing into something so stunning!

  143. says

    Just stumbled upon your site, and added Glass Beach to my list of things to do while back in the States. I can’t believe I lived in Cali for three years and never even knew this existed!

  144. says

    I’d have my wedding there so when I’m overheard saying SHOW ME THAT FINE ASS OF YOURS I can recant and claim i said SHINE LIKE THE FINE GLASS ON SHORE!

  145. Laney says

    Anyone live near here? My boy loves to collect rocks and would love to have some rocks from this beach??? He’s 7 and he’s been asking me to take him there since he was 4 lol please let me know. My email is lanez_2001@yahoo.com thank you :)

  146. Debra Clarice says

    I just spent a week at Fort Bragg. Better than usual weather made the day at Glass Beach a treasure in itself. Even though it does not look exactly like the photo taken in 2009, it is still beautiful five years later in 2014.

    There are actually three beaches with the surf-smoothed gems. How amazing that a force of nature turns this man-made garbage into treasures! Most of the pieces I found this trip are different shades of green, brown, and clear, but I got some interesting pottery remnants, too. I say “got” because I brought some home with me. I’m not one of those people who carries buckets or bags out. I only take what I will use or share. Besides, there seems to be no shortage of glass. In fact, I found bigger and better pieces this time than I did back in 1998.

    The beach in the middle has a lot of glass embedded in this really hard, almost concrete-like sediment. Most of it still has very sharp edges, so be careful. There were also a lot of objects for metal collectors here.

    When I wasn’t treasure hunting, there were all those tide pools to explore. The entire place is a geological wonder in addition to being a really cool place to “shop” for sea glass.

  147. says

    Thank you mother nature for creating such a beautiful site. It’s amazing what some people’s careless and wastefulness can do. This is a once in a lifetime occurrence. Littering is still awful for our environment and it should not be encouraged in any way at all!

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