Glass Beach

The name is self-explanatory. Welcome to a California beach with millions of tiny pieces of glass instead of sand.


Glass Beach is a collection of three small and narrow beaches in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, Northern California, that are covered in millions of smooth colored pieces of sea glass of various sizes and shapes.

But what is the significance of the glass on Glass Beach? Because of years of dumping garbage into nearby coastline areas, all three beaches are abundant in sea glass.

Three local dump sites accumulated glass, cans, apothecary bottles, auto tail lights, batteries, and many other car appliances in the early twentieth century, more precisely from 1906 to 1967.


Residents who threw their trash onto the shore created the first dump site in 1906. They would burn down the garbage mountain when it became unmanageable.

The Glass Beach is a particular stretch of beach created by small polished glass grunts, located near Fort Bragg in California in the MacKerricher State Park.

When the first landfill site was filled in 1943, Fort Bragg opened a new landfill site, which remained operational until 1949.

Then, until 1967, when city officials closed it down, a third beach began collecting the community’s trash.

Several cleanup programs have been implemented over the years.

Glass found on sand strips near bodies of water underwent chemical and physical transformations over time, eventually becoming natural frosted glass.

Sea glass takes between 30 and 100 years to develop its distinctive shape and texture.

Glass shards tumble and crash against the surrounding elements – rocks, water, and sand – and their edges round and smooth.

The pounding waves aided in hastening the process.

It spans a shore of more than 15 acres that was once used as landfill in 1949 by the inhabitants of the area. They called it “The Dumps” as the reef used to wash ashore all sorts of wastes – appliances, furniture, porcelain and even entire vehicles, but above all a large number of glass objects.

Only later did the colored pieces become a popular jewelry collectible. The majority of the gem bits on the sand at Glass Beach are transparent, white, or green.

But watch your step: there are still thousands of sharp pieces of shattered glass on their way to greatness.

Before literally walking on glass, you must first put on your flip-flops.

Don’t Take It Home

Glass Beach is only three and a half hours from San Francisco, or 170 miles (273.5 kilometers) north of the Golden City via U.S. Highway 101.

Beachgoers and the general public, however, are not permitted to take small or large fragments of glass from these locations, according to California State Parks rules.

Instead, they are encouraged to leave the sea glass fragments alone so that others may explore and discover this unusual semi-natural treasure.

During the summer, approximately 1,000 tourists per day visit Fort Bragg’s three glass beaches. They are also drawn to the beautiful tide pools that form at random near the shore.

Glass Beach is a prime example of Mother Nature’s interaction with humans. Low tide is the best time of day to explore it.

It may be difficult for the elderly and disabled to reach the treasure site, but it is not impossible if accompanied and supervised by adults.

There is a parking lot near the beach trail that leads to the location.