Glass Beach is not going to be on your list of the best surf destinations any time soon. This it is well worth a visit if you love the ocean and everything it has to offer.
About Glass Beach - Fort Bragg, California
Glass Beach is located in Fort Bragg, California, and was once a dumping site in 1906. Appliances, glass, and even cars were once dumped at this location, which is why it's still called "The Dumps" by local residents. The beach continued to be an active dumping site up until 1967. This is when a lot of cleanup projects took place in an effort to clean up the location and reverse the damage.
During this time, the water and waves caused the ceramic pottery and glass items to break down and become smoother. Some of the metal items left behind were collected and sold.
Tens of thousands of people visit Glass Beach every year. During the summer months, 1,000 to 1,200 people visit the beach daily. The location is only a few hours north of San Francisco and features an abundance of brown and green glass, which are smooth-colored gems.
Visiting the location after a storm can make it easier to find more unique pieces of glass that wash onto the shore.
Can You Take Glass From Glass Beach?
It's against the law to take any glass from Glass Beach while visiting the location and is strongly discouraged. Some people still take a small amount that is not noticeable to use as a souvenir. The glass is protected on the shore because it's a state beach in California. Unfortunately, the amount of glass taken by visitors in past years has significantly depleted the amount of glass present on the shore. There is still a good amount of glass left for people to enjoy, but it continues to become less dense over time. The waves that hit the shore also drag down a lot of the glass that has accumulated.
There are many different trails present that lead to other beaches with glass from the south end of Glass Beach. All the beach glass that is present is from garbage that was dumped at the site for many years.
Captain J.H. (Cass) Forrington is currently working on a movement to replenish the lost glass to restore the history and condition of the beach.
Can You Walk On The Glass Beach In California?
Yes, you can walk on the shore at Glass Beach in California. However, it can be uncomfortable to navigate the area barefoot. It's recommended that you bring sandals or shoes to wear during your stay to protect your feet and avoid injuries. Pick a pair of shoes or sands with good tread to ensure you can safely navigate different parts of the beach without the risk of slipping and falling.
Chances are you won’t get cuts on your feet from the glass as the sharp edges have been dulled by years of being smoothed down by the sand.
Places To Stay When You Visit
There are many places to stay when you visit Glass Beach in Northern California. The beach is in proximity to Sea Rock Inn, which offers upscale lodging with ocean views.
Mendocino Grove is a family-friendly place to stay when you want to spend time in the great outdoors with a few modern luxuries available. This location is a campground with rental tents, picnic tables, and fire rings. You can spend more time outside staying at Mendocino Grove while taking advantage of the on-site games and bathhouse.
The Inn at Newport Ranch is another popular location for tourists to stay, and has unique, original decor in each room. The furnishings capture the ethos of the redwood forest and bring the outdoors into the establishment. Located on the High Bluffs, The Inn at Newport Ranch sits on the coastline and feels like a secluded oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The meal service is delicious and accommodates any type of diet. The rooms, trails, and spectacular views of the ocean make it an unforgettable place to reserve a stay.
Other Glass Beaches To Visit
There are other glass beaches present throughout the U.S. in states like Florida, Hawaii, and Oregon. Kauai Sea Glass Beach in Hawaii is a popular place to visit and is located near Port Allen Harbor in an industrial port. The beach is unique because it has a lot of small pieces of glass with clear and blue pebbles of glass everywhere. The glass began to accumulate over time when auto glass and broken bottles were discarded at the site. The beach is accessible by taking the highway to the Port Allen exit.
Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor, Boston, Massachusetts is another glass beach for those who are closer to the east coast. It features a lot of sea glass and shells and is known to be peaceful and more remote than other popular glass beaches in the U.S.
Those on the west coast can visit La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California where it's easy to find plenty of seals and sea glass. This is one of the most beautiful glass beaches in the world because it features palm trees, rocky cliffs, and plenty of sand. There's also a boardwalk and places to rent snorkeling gear if you want to find frosted glass in the water.
Balneario El Escambrón is located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has a lively environment where a lot of crowds are present throughout the year. It's also known for its coral reef, palm trees, scuba diving, and snorkeling. This is a fun place to explore after viewing the different types of sea glass that are present in a variety of color shades.