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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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46 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?

          1. Not a whole lot left to say other than I thought I had seen the epitome of stupid government regulations. The key word of course, being “government”. Be careful NOT to touch the ocean either. Finger and palm prints could damage the water….

          2. Kay Smith

            I live in Houston but I was born and raised in Southern California. I never knew about this beach and just stumbled across a photo of it on Pintrest. I plan to come and visit and although I’d love to have a momento of the beach (my home state), I 100% understand why the ordinance was put in place. Eventually there would be no tourist-thus less economy for that area. Think about all the people who go to Hollywood to see the famous sidewalk stars… If visitors could take the stars home eventually there wouldn’t be much of an attraction… Ha haaaa maybe I was reaching on that but I do respect and can appreciate the new rule. Can’t wait to come back home and visit the beach

          3. Rebecca Lorenzen

            Well all these people are right. I just got my Coastal Living magazine and saw a spot in there about Glass Beach. I thought awesome since I will be out there in a few weeks I can get a scoop for my beach sand collection. If I can’t do that I guess I will bypass it. I’m sure it’s beautiful. Leave it to California.

    2. connie o

      OMG! All you greedy people need to realize that a beautiful thing is rare & should be treated as such. I’ll bet you pick state flowers and take a sling shot to state birds for the FUN of it. Go somewhere else for your vacations or weekend jaunts where you can desecrate the loveliness Mother Nature has given us…even if it was, as you say, garbage. Heck, you can’t even go rifling through the city dumps anymore! Try your own backyard, you cruddy piece of trash. Don’t go to our national forests where you think you can destroy them with graffiti or feed the Bears (though, I might encourage you to approach the hungry ones). Gee whiz! Morons!

      1. Da Man

        Uh, you may want to defer to the rulings ushered into law by the California Coastal Commission, whereas the beach is owned by the PUBLIC, not by some city trying to drive tourism to their town. This is not some natural treasure like stalagmites from Carlsbad Caverns. It’s broken glass garbage that has been in a giant sea tumbler for decades. This is not a natural state for these beaches to be in. That’s like whining about people cleaning up the horse crap off the streets of Loredo, because some day people will come to see the “beautiful” textures of historical horse puckies as an attraction. You should be happy the tourists are willing to clean your beaches for free. Once they get there and find out they can’t pack that trash, they’re never coming back and telling their friends how douche baggy the people at Glass Beach are. Get it? Bye bye tourist bucks. All things are temporary.

      2. Mamaofthreeloves

        Connie O you should get that stick up your ass professionally looked at.

    3. Daddy's little one

      When I was a child in the 50s we went once a year to the beach and hunted for agates. I’ve watched over my lifetime the agates get smaller and smaller. My dad had said that this would happen as the shelf of agate rock eroded over time. Agate hunters, like our family, may have added to the disappearance or like archeologists saved them for future generations. Some are in my garden now. Wonderful reminders of our camping trips to Neptune beach, on the Oregon coast. I sometimes found sea glass and asked Daddy if it was an agate. I thought it was so pretty. Daddy would say “that’s a leaverite” which meant, not an agate. So I say, if you want to visit the sea glass beach, look, photograph it, but “leave it rite” there. You can’t take petrified rock from the Petrified Forest so leave this new sign of nature’s magic there for all to enjoy until nature takes it away. Some wise person should open a glass recycling plant and make man- made copies to sell to tourists.{ Oh by the way, I’m not going to vote for The Dumpster.}

    4. Crystal

      I don’t have a problem following a law and I’m hoping it’s still worth going.The glass will be gone eventually anyway. It’s only a matter of time…..

  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.

    1. umeko

      i agree with you heather but i think it is fair to not take the treasures you find because there gonna lose the treasure and there might be none left am i right

  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!

    1. Cynthia

      I just watched a segment on this beach. I love sea glass. I can see both points of this. I will add that the meteorologist states that the sea glass will continue to erode and eventually be tiny particles as it started and they ended the segment with reference of the ocean recycling….why not regulate…let someone purchase a small (very small) jar with a lid to put some pieces in and that way they can enjoy it and people won’t be putting handfuls in their pockets.

  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

  12. Robert

    I recently visited Glass Beach for the first time in many years, and I was shocked to see that most of the glass is gone. I am sickened by the comments from selfish people who think only about taking, and don’t care what they have destroyed.

  13. Well I was all excited, until I seen u can not collect, what once was trash and as far as further generation, well what part of it will return it’s self to sand. so how do u figure that generations will be able to see it, when it its self will make sure that won’t happen. O i belive that’s what photo are for, so all can have memories. No one should have the right to fine you 500 dollars for picking up trash, plain crazy. Well good luck, for me I’ll plan my trip at another beach!!!
    Sheri

  14. Shirley

    Wow. I honestly wanted to go there until I learned what it is. Garbage. Really. I can not go visit and condone the littering that created it. No matter how beautiful it appears. So sad. Yet Mother Nature still finds a way to cleanse herself of humans disgusting treatment of her.

  15. Freddie Flintoff

    Pickup trash from the road if u want. Picking up glass from the beach by saying its trash is stupid and selfish.

    1. Remy Limos Zacarias

      Oh yeas, how can one keep on saying it’s trash and STILL want it? There’s something in between. Could it be greed? Oh well…

  16. Entitlementioned Thinking…. Me! Me!! Me!!!
    Bet your going to vote for Donald Duck….
    Oops I meant Trump..
    Leave the world a better place than you found it.. Ask not what my country can do for me…
    Ask what I can do to make my country great.
    These are the Quotes that make USA GREAT.

  17. Genevieve Saxton

    I know that here on Half Moon Bay it is illegal to collect rocks, fossils, plants etc but they do not restrict anyone from collecting and taking sea glass. The glass is not a natural occurance and removing it does not negatively impact the environment and it does not take away any unrealized enjoyment of future generations. What i notice, and believe is ridiculous oversight is the tourists trampling all over the rocks during low tide, peering in to tide pools and sometimes they are part of a tour led by Park Employees….with every step these clueless sheep are stepping on and crushing anenomes that cover every inch of the rocks! A person can not step on the rocks and NOT kill something.
    Sea glass gets smaller and smaller until its reduced to a tiny grain of sand. It will be gone either way by collecting or by ocean tumbling.
    As usual, the ones in charge want to profit from or restrict something that we all receive enjoyment from.
    Its a waste of time to think about and a waste of time to even address. Such a mind trap.

  18. Stephanie

    I am saddened to see the glass can not be collected with limitations. My family and I are leaving Florida Monday for our first 2 week vacation in California. Found out about the glass beach on Pintrest and booked a hotel for two days there until I saw this thread and I will be asking for a refund tomorrow morning and looking for somewhere else to take my children. I don’t understand the preserving it for future generations theory when it will eventually be naturally depleted anyway. It is not greedy to want to make memories with your children! One day when our children are older and we are gone what a precious memory it would be to have in a keepsake box a small piece of sea glass from our first family cross country vacation and them see the piece they personally picked out with us and squeeze it and smile…. Remembering the love and beauty once there. But instead, I will continue my research for a different idea with my kids. If anyone on here has an idea please feel free to email me stephanie5647@gmail.com. We are heading to northern California on Monday, June 12th and will be flying out of Sacramento Kings 28th, 2016

    1. Hi! While you’re in California, I hope you can get to the North Coast and visit HUMBOLDT County. Redwoods, pristine beaches, rivers, mountains, cool summers [hotter inland], etc.

      1. I can’t wait to visit in August. I do hope there are places that sell sea glass jewelry. Even if I could collect it, what would I do with it? I can see both sides, but I am excited to visit. There are so many naturally beautiful places to explore, the redwoods, sequoias, etc. I would love to just get a beautiful picture and have it framed. California, here I come!

        1. We’re glad you’re able to join us in Fort Bragg soon! For everyone who has commented here, from time to time, we’ll be updating the blog on this web site, “Talk of the Town,” with posts about Glass Beach and other attractions in Fort Bragg. Here is a link to the most recent post about Glass Beach: http://www.fortbragg.com/2016/06/visit-glass-beach-a-stunning-fort-bragg-attraction-take-photos-but-please-leave-the-glass-for-future-generations/

  19. Stacy Kings

    I completely understand this regulation. If you guys want sea glass, go to another beach that allows it. What makes this beach so special is that the glass used to seem abundant and that there used to be a lot until so many people and tourists came and picked it all up. People would show up to see the beauty of the beach but there would be no glass left to actually see. This beach is about appreciating nature for the amazing things it does to the mess we’ve created. Sea glass is beautiful and amazing and while it is fun to own some pieces, it’s just as fun to see them and leave them for others to enjoy. Besides, the hunt of finding sea glass is what makes the glass worth having. Coming to this beach for easy pickings is just selfish and greedy and you aren’t really there to actually enjoy or appreciate the scenery. And so what if the glass will just naturally erode? Glass will still appear on the beach as people will continue to pollute.

    1. Allie

      Well put Stacey Kings!

  20. dean

    I understand where everyone is coming from with there attitudes about not being able to take the glass trust me I collect sea glass myself and would just love to fill a bag full of glass but then I think about other people traveling from around the world to see this beach full of glass and they arrive here at the beach to find nothing but sand it would be pretty disappointing

  21. 2BADSOSAD

    Just a note to those who decided that MORE tourists would be visiting just to see and photograph the glass… you are simply NOT correct. I’ve been planning a trip there (to stay and spend money for a week or two) AND collect a few glass mementos… well that’s not going to happen now. TOO BAD for Ft. Bragg. I think you’re going to lose tourism money on this decision. It’s garbage that is going to erode anyways, you should’ve allowed the meager collection while you had the chance.

  22. Lelah Paull

    I just read a story of Pele in Hawaii. And it being said don’t take anything from the Islands like rocks shells or sad. Due to bad luck. If you don’t ask. I received a bag of glass rocks from friend there quite a few years ago. I thought they were beautiful. I’m going to visit soon and bring back the rocks given to me. They belong there not because I believe there’s bad luck with them. Just because they belong where they came from. Thank you for this article.

  23. J Sullivan

    Part of me agrees with the “leave it where it is” rule. The other part of me would like to have a memento of the beautiful Glass Beach. This destination has been on my “bucket list” for many years simply because it’s pretty and I’ve always loved rocks of any sort. I do have an issue with all the glass jewelry makers. Have had conversations with a few of them and many say they get their glass from other areas/countries. However, I find it hard to believe that none of them get their glass from Glass Beach. That’s just not the way of the world. Do they sneak in there and pilfer in secret……………….OR is there some sort of arrangement between the Glass Beach authorities and certain jewelry makers…………………..Just curious. Thanks for listening.

  24. People are complaining about not being able to take glass from this beach. I just discovered this online today and plan on being in CA next year. Sure glad it is being protected so I get a chance to see it. National Parks also have signs for their protection. It is necessary to preserve…..like an endangered species.

  25. Susan

    Rebecca Lorenzen, you are the reason an ordinance like this has to be passed. You want to go out there with a SCOOP for heavens sake.

    1. Susan

      Ad opposed to just picking up a piece or two.

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