If you’re looking for the ultimate first date location (that won’t cost you a dime) or you want to impress your friends (hell, even yourself) then Glass Beach is a must add to your travel bucket list.
The Beach is The Dumps
It is hard to believe that something as beautiful as a polished glass beach was once called “The Dumps” but it’s true. Today we know that it’s probably not a good idea to dump trash into the ocean, but back in the day the big blue was free game for anything not wanted. The same goes for Glass Beach as it used to serve as local landfill and everything from bottles and cans to appliances and cars were tossed onto the sands. Fortunately, things did not stay this way for long.
The Great Clean Up
In 1967, a local landfill was made and the dumping of trash on the beach began to subside. In 1998 the owner of the stretch of beach joined forces with the California Integrated Waste Management Board as well as the California Coastal Conservancy and launched a huge campaign to clean up the beach. As cleanup continued, the stretch of beach was bought by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Birth of Glass Beach
In 2002, the nearly 40 acres of coastal area that is now known as Glass Beach were brought in as part of MacKerricher State Park. The cleanup has been successful and there are no cars or appliances to be seen on the shores; instead, there is an almost endless shoreline of polished brightly colored sea glass. Glass Beach is actually comprised of several separate and distinct beaches in this area- some can be accessed by foot, a few are on islands and spits of land that are accessible by boat only, and still others require climbing down the rocks and cliffs that line some areas of these shores.
Take Nothing, Leave Footprints
It is important to note that is you visit Glass Beach, it is forbidden to take any of the sea glass that is found ob beaches that are within the boundaries of MacKerricher State Park. Photos are fine but no souvenirs. After all, thousands of people visit these shores every year and if every person took some of the glass pieces home, soon there would be no Glass Beach to enjoy, just a boring regular beach with beautiful picturesque cliffs and vistas…
Sea Glass Museum
Glass Beach is a popular destination and many visitors are intrigued by the natural clean up that has taken place, turning broken glass bottles into beautiful polished glass stones. Those who want to learn more about the phenomenon that has taken place on these shores can visit the Sea Glass Museum, located near Fort Bragg. Admission is free and contains many cool specimens from Glass Beach, plus scientific explanations and historical stories about the beach, pollution, sea glass, and more.
Sea Glass Festival
If the educational factor of a museum is not entertaining enough (we get it), there is an entire festival that has been developed and dedicated to the appreciation of sea glass. The festival is held on Memorial Day Weekend, and includes vendors and art galleries created by sea glass artists and jewelers. This is the perfect opportunity to buy authentic sea glass souvenirs to remember you special time at Glass Beach.