Glass Beach, California

The bits of sea glass now giving Glass Beach its name have been largely smoothed out over time as a result of oceanic activity, allowing them to be touched and even turned into new pieces of art.

California is famous for its many tourist attractions and beautiful climate. One famous Californian landmark is Glass Beach, located in the Mackerricher State Park near Fort Bragg. The beach is a very popular attraction on the outskirts of Fort Bragg, a sunny and tropical town with a small population of just under 40 thousand. What makes Glass Beach so remarkable is the titular glass which covers the sand and stretches for miles. From 1906 to 1967, this beach and ocean area was used as a landfill for glass, automotive parts, and appliances. This was certainly not one of America’s proudest moments, but something beautiful did come out of the wreckage. After being washed up from the ocean, many glass and metal bits began to resurface. These eventually covered the beach, creating a sheet of smoothed out sea glass you can even walk on.

Marine Life On The Beach

Sea shells amidst the glass fragments on the Glass Beach.

Like any beach, the usual sea creatures can be found on the Glass Beach shore. The glass waste has deterred most wildlife from staying to make their home, although you do catch glimpses of common sea creatures such as seals, whales, and fish. The climate is hot year-round, dropping a bit in the winter yet still staying relatively warm. Many have described the beach as walking on a fine piece of jewellery, rather than something more akin to the environment of a regular beach.

A Popular Tourist Destination

The polished glass pebbles offer a pretty sight to tourists visiting the Glass Beach.

The beach is an popular tourist destination due to its unique surface. It serves as a great walk or hike, though it is certainly not the same experience as more traditional beaches. Much of the glass has been eroded and weathered over time which has created some shiny and beautiful pieces. Glass beach is an artist’s and glass blower’s dream, although it is also a breathtaking attraction for anyone to enjoy. It is also a great place to go on a stroll with a loved one.

It is certainly not every day that you get to see a glass beach, and although there are hundreds of similar areas to be found around the world, none are as vast and unique as Glass Beach in California. The sheer immensity of this landmark combined with the nearby Californian amenities, such as lunch or dinner near the beach at a five star restaurants, creates a particular experience here.

Potential Threats

Wave action on the glass pebbles of the Glass Beach.

Glass beach is a very safe place to visit as far danger goes. Your only threat is the glass itself which is placed all over the beach. Though much of the glass has been smoothed over time by the ocean, some pieces remain sharp. Without proper footwear you feet will receive cuts which can potentially pick up disease. This also means the beach isn’t ideal for tanning or playing in the sand. Glass beach is an attraction due to it’s beauty, not it’s practicality. The beach itself is also in danger, as a result of some tourists taking glass from the beach as souvenirs. Oceanic activity has also removed some of the glass from the beach over time, creating a long-term danger of a Glass Beach without the very thing that gives it its name.


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