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A note from California State Parks regarding Glass Beach at MacKerricher State Park:  “All park cultural features are protected by law and may not be removed or disturbed, including glass found at Glass Beach.”

Glass Beach Treasure, Fort Bragg, California

Why Go: To hunt (but not take) sea glass treasure.

Hunting For Sea Glass Treasure
Hunting For Sea Glass Treasure

The Buzz:

There are actually three glass beaches  — all former city trash dump sites — that cough up beautiful sea glass.

What To Do: Search for rare ruby reds (from pre-1967 auto tail lights) or sapphire gems from apothecary bottles. Snap a photo, but leave the glass behind for others to discover.

Local Lore: From 1906 to 1967, everything from cars to batteries to bottles, cans and appliances were unceremoniously pushed over the cliffs into the ocean — a common practice of seaside cities for centuries. Mother Nature responded to this abuse with a nice surprise in the form of smooth, colored sea glass treasure in a rainbow of colors.

Best Picnic Spot: On the rocks and cliffs overlooking Glass Beach #3 (the most northern of the three beaches; located in MacKerricher State Park).

Getting There:

From Highway 1, turn west on Elm Street (Denny’s is on the corner) and drive a few blocks to Glass Beach Drive. Park at the intersection and walk down to the beach.

Coastal Trail Brochure Map

Learn More: Frequently asked questions.

 

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16 comments

  1. Mary Peterson

    I can’t believe the restriction on sea glass!!!!!! Fort Bragg has so much to lose!!!! We’ve been going there for 12 years & now we must stop???? Your town will surely suffer! The glass is garbage!! I’m getting everyone I know to get onboard rejecting this.

    1. Casey Davis

      Hi Mary,
      The city ordinance in which people were no longer allowed to take glass from the beach came into effect August 12, 2015. The reason for this is because it’s important to preserve the beauty of the beach. If this hadn’t come into effect, many people visiting our town would be left disappointed. We’d like to continue to preserve our beautiful beach for years to come.

      1. I don’t understand, Glass Beach is glass beach it was a trash dump sight. So now it’s illegal to take glass from the beach? What about the people I see who sell their glass beach jewlery from the Glass Beach itself. It was trash, now it’s beautiful trash…….why is it illegal? Seem strange to me also seems like you would loose a lot of tourists.

        1. I understand everyone’s concern and disappointment about not being able to take the glass, but we actually get a lot of tourists coming to our town just to see glass beach. I work at the visitor center here in town and people come from all over and tell me that they’ve come to see the world famous glass beach. Places all over the world have ordinances such as this to preserve the beauty for future generations and tourists to enjoy. We’ve enjoyed it for all of these years, and so wouldn’t it be unfair that these people reading about glass beach in articles online come to see it and find that there’s no glass to see?

  2. Heather

    I agree, I was really interested in going until I read you couldn’t take the treasures you find. If it’s trash then why not let people take it? So what if it becomes rare, that would only make it better. Trash would be cleaned out of the ocean and the glass would be even more sought after due to the rarity of it. But no I his keeping the ocean full of trash is better.
    …thanks, but no thanks. I’ll just find another place to explore.

  3. Hi Mary,

    I’m with YOU.. The glass IS garbage that has been ground down over the years – AND will be ground down and GONE in the years to come. It’s too bad the city “dog-in-the-manger condo Nazis have taken their share and now want to close the “treasure” too anyone else. I’d bet Casey has his share of the glass.

    No – not from California but we have similar “management teams’ operating in and around Fort Myers, Fl..

    I believe “the glass” will be longer remembered in collections like yours.

    If the only tourist enticement that city has is “ground garbage” they better re-think there tourist strategy.

    Fred

  4. Johnny

    Makes sense to me. If beach combers take the sea glass all away then there will be none for future generations to enjoy! Limitations help with preservation, a very obvious point. Don’t be so greedy Mary, no one said you had to stop visiting the beach after 12 years, just stop taking sea glass!

  5. Also, keep in mind folks, Glass Beach is part of Mackerricher State Park so it is a misdemeanor to take any artifacts away.

  6. Liz

    So is it closed now?

    1. Sharon Davis

      It is open and in fact our new coastal trail has enabled people to access areas that haven’t been open to the public in over 100 years!

  7. With all the trash in California alone, and the huge recycling efforts you would think there would be someone who could come up with a happy medium. Dumping (some how safely? bagged, netted?) bottles to be recycled in the waters off shore could potentially provide more glass and homes for sea animals, Win win, I’m thinking. But how? What about a glass island created by man and sculpted by Mother Nature? Instead of a “No!” when there is an obvious demand for it.
    This place in SF called Building REsources sells recycled tumbled glass. You could recycle and tumble your local glass off shore naturally and sell as souvenirs, for landscaping. I’m buying some for jewelry.
    http://www.buildingresources.org/tumbled_glass.html

    Think creatively. How nice would it be to have a fusion of humans and natures to make such beauty! Why do you think people want it?

    1. Angela StGermain

      Shelly Mack… that is brilliant! My vote is for Shelly’s idea.

  8. Nancy

    I guess some people will never understand nor be able to enjoy beauty without touching/taking it and ruining it for others/ future generations. I see this in my own (what use to be) Small Town, Auburn, California, also a tourist area in the Gold Country. Citits! What can I say!

  9. Dennis

    $500 fine for collecting glass, $500 fine if you go down to the best beaches. The only reason to go to these beaches is to collect a few beautiful treasures as the beaches are not the great. My advice is to boycott Fort Bragg until they allow you to legally collect glass. They could even limit you to 10 pieces if they want to feel better about preserving the glass. The ocean will gind it to nothing eventually anyhow.

  10. Kyla

    By not taking the glass, future generations will be able to enjoy this beach just as we all have. Why would we not want to preserve such a beautiful place? People need to start giving more than taking. This is a vicious cycle of greed. Shame on those of you who feel you’re entitled to take what is not rightfully yours regardless if it is “garbage” or not.

  11. amanda

    put a limit on glass
    everyone wins
    i wanted to take my mom here until i found out u could not remove the glass. if u cant take the glass then
    selling jewelry made of it should not be allowed

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