Glass Beach is located in the southern portion of MacKerricher State Park, on the north end of Fort Bragg. This beach is a popular spot due to the weathered glass that can be found in the sand. What most people don't realize is that there are actually 3 glass beaches.
Glass Beach #1 can’t be accessed unless it’s via kayak. Glass Beach #2 is located about 100 yards south of Glass Beach #3; which is the most popular spot that everyone hikes to.
These three beaches were used as dumps for locals starting in the early 1900s. Glass Beach #1 was used as a dump from 1906 to 1943, Glass Beach #2 was used as a dump from 1943 to 1949, and Glass Beach #3 was used as a dump from 1906 to 1967.
After the town’s leaders decided to stop the dumping and close off the beaches, a major cleanup was under way. For the next few decades, these beaches were cleaned and eventually opened to the public. But not before, the Sea Glass Museum scoured the area for some great pieces of glass. You can check out the Museum in the town of Fort Bragg.
In 2002, Glass Beach was incorporated into MacKerricher State Park and it has become a must see destination for when you visit Fort Bragg.
The trail is clearly marked from the road. There’s parking to the side of the trail entrance and it will fill up fast on a busy day.
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Before I continue, I must mention that the Parks and Rec department do not allow you to collect any glass and remove it from the beaches.
From the parking area down to the coastline, it’s an easy stroll down a path. Once you get to the coastline, you have to head south down a narrow path that does force you to climb down some rocks and back up when returning. This area also gets slippery during inclement weather.
Within a few minutes from parking your car, you will arrive at Glass Beach #3. Once at the beach, it’s fun to look for some uniquely shaped pieces of glass. All of the glass is smooth and soft. There’s no sharp edges. Additionally, the beach is nestled between large rocks and perfect to hike around during low tide.
I strolled down to Glass Beach #2 but didn’t look for glass. Most of my glass searching came at Glass Beach #3. The hardest color to find is blue. Most of the blue glass has been taken or washed away. In fact, despite the warnings, many people still take glass as a souvenir from their trip and it’s caused a shortage in glass.
However, on a second trip to Fort Bragg and Glass Beach, I brought my kids and my son dug through the sand and glass until he found some blue. He thought it was buried treasure, which I played along with. Bottom line – kids love this beach too.
The shortage of glass doesn’t prevent you from having fun. There’s still plenty to dig through and I highly recommend that you visit this beach when in Fort Bragg.