Glass Beach at Fort Bragg in California

Aug 13, 2011 5 comments

Glass Beach is an unusual beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California that is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage by the residents near the coastline. Glass Beach is a unique beach, not because it was made by man, but because of the way nature has reclaimed a garbage dump, and how time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man's mistakes.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. Fort Bragg residents threw whatever household garbage they had over the cliffs above and into what is now Glass Beach. They discarded lot of glass, appliances, and even cars. By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and closed the area.


Now, over 30 years later, nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding waves have cleansed the beach, wearing down the discarded glass into the small, smooth, colored trinkets that cover the beach today. You'll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you'll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun.

In 2002, the California State Park system purchased the 38-acre Glass Beach property, and after cleanup it was incorporated into MacKerricher State Park. The area is now frequently visited by tourists. Though not officially permitted, many still scour the beach for interesting curios and glass to take home as souvenirs.


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Sources: 1, 2


  1. Not as souvenirs... As sea glass for jewelry making! This is the only beach like t in the U.S. and they try to stop people from taking glass, which is ridiculous as there's no hazard and people picking it up to that end know what they're doing as far as avoiding cuts. Furthermore, sea glass is very much "in" for pendants, bracelets, necklaces...and hard to find these days. As a result, prices have skyrocketed so much that people now make their own in tumblers w river stones (takes 2-3 days). It is a business indeed...

    1. They try to stop people from taking sea glass not because of hazards.So much glass has already been taken by people who collect in great amounts. If it continues, there will be a time when there will be no more glass on the Glass Beach. People should really enjoy the Glass Beach for its unique scenery and preserve it. Take nothing but photographs.

  2. That's cool! Now I don't feel bad about throwing my trash is the ocean. One day it will be pretty!


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