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Glass Beach in California

Ocean is an artist able to turn rubbish into treasure—check out smooth rubies, sapphires and other jewels that used to be pieces of broken glass

Glass Beach
Glass Beach
Glass Beach
Glass Beach

The beautiful crystal beaches of Fort Bragg once used to be a landfill—that's right, in the twentieth century, locals threw garbage over these cliffs. The dumpsite was closed only in 1967, and the area was partially cleaned up. Yet the finest work was to be done by the ocean—over decades the waves have been transforming the glass shards and other debris into smooth jewels and choking them up onto the beach so that nowadays we could marvel at this quirky beauty.

Soon the beaches became increasingly popular with visitors who are particularly numerous in summer when the weather is warm and less prone to rain. The best time to visit Glass Beach is during the low tide despite the season. Sadly, many tourists take the jewels away, and if everyone does so, the beach will simply disappear. Therefore, the guests are asked to leave the glass gems on the shores, so that others could also enjoy the colorful beaches in succeeding years. Note that since 2002 the site has been a part of MacKerricher State Park.

Practical info

What is the recommended time of the year to visit Glass Beach and why?

During summer months, Glass Beach is the best place to visit when the weather is warm and comfortable. However, this is the peak season, so it can get crowded. To have a more serene environment, visitors should come early or later in the afternoon to beat the crowds. Show more

Where exactly is Glass Beach located in California and how can people access it?

Fort Bragg, California houses Glass Beach and is approximately midway between San Francisco and Eureka. The beach is situated within MacKerricher State Park, and vehicles can access it through a paved path. It should be noted that there is limited parking so visitors should come early to get a spot. Show more

What caused the formation of Glass Beach and what is its history?

Glass Beach has an interesting past. It served as a garbage dump from the early 1900s to its closure in 1967. Waves eventually broke down the glass and trash, forming colorful and smooth beads that washed up on the beach. It's now a site for collecting unique souvenirs from the beach that were once recyclables and appreciating the ocean's ability to transform something unwanted into something extraordinary. Show more

What can visitors do to help maintain the natural beauty of Glass Beach?

To preserve the natural beauty of Glass Beach, visitors should refrain from taking any glass pebbles from the shore. Even small removals can quickly destroy the collective beauty of the beach. Visitors should observe the natural environment, take photographs, and practice leave-no-trace principles. Additionally, visitors can support local conservation groups or participate in beach cleanups to help preserve the natural habitat. Show more

What should visitors know about the rules and regulations of Glass Beach?

MacKerricher State Park regulates some behaviors, including the prohibition of taking natural resources or historic artifacts from the park. This means visitors are prohibited from taking Glass pebbles from the beach. Visitors should use designated pathways, respect the flora and fauna of the area, and adhere to the park’s leave-no-trace principles. Furthermore, visitors should take along any trash they bring to the park. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin