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It is hard to imagine this happening today, but back in 1906 when Fort Bragg’s streets were filled with rubble from devastation caused by the San Francisco Earthquake, using the ocean as a dump made perfect sense. Seaside towns around the world have done it for centuries. However, it was finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized the mistake, the impact on water quality and plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean.

If the sea glass is actually trash — from broken bottles and car tail lights, isn’t it free for the taking? Yes and no. Outside the state park, yes. Inside, no.

Frequently Asked Questions

A Handful of Glass at Glass Beach1. May I take the sea glass from Glass Beach? As we mention above, Glass Beach is now part of MacKerricher State Park. Tim Quandt, supervising ranger for MacKerricher and other Mendocino Area State Parks, told us this when we asked about taking glass: “The truth of the matter is that it is a misdemeanor to remove any artifacts from State Park property.  Park rangers have not begun citing offenders…yet, but that day will eventually arrive.

“Rangers are currently working to educate and inform the public and we confiscate and return collected sea glass to the beach whenever possible. Signage has now been placed on the property to inform visitors of the protected status of the resource and educational and interpretive panels/displays will eventually be placed as well.

Handful of glass at Glass Beach“The reason that Glass Beach has become the least desirable sea glass collecting location is because it has been commercially over-harvested over the years and now the resource has been depleted.

“This is unfortunate, but this is why State Parks has a mission to protect natural, cultural and historical resources…so that they can continue to be present for future generations to enjoy.”

2. Is there any glass left? Yes, plenty. The churning ocean is constantly depositing sea glass on Glass Beach. It a fun place to explore, pick up the glass, look for different colors and just enjoy the area without taking it home.

3. Where can I find samples of the many kinds of glass found over the years at the many glass beaches along Fort Bragg’s coast? The Sea Glass Museum, which is free admission, has beautiful display cases of every color and size of glass to be found on our glass beaches. The museum is located on Highway, just south of Fort Bragg.


Glass Beach
End of West Elm Street at Old Haul Road; Park at end of Elm and walk to beach.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437
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  1. Azure

    I can remember when Glass Beach was basicaly still a dump/ The tide would come in and wash away sand to reveal a stove. We have pictures of old car parts, stoves, rusted jusk. It was not always very safe to walk along. Now Fort Bragg has decided that it is a city treasure and you are no longer able to take home a piece of glass.

    Well this new law came a little late for me. I have several small bags of glass from the Beach. It was never a park, it was a dump. I get that they want to preserve the beach now, however, one has to wonder how far out in the ocean the regulation applies. Like if I wade out, thee is lots of glass, and other dangerous items, pretty far out into the ocean. Maybe I can snorkel or scuba to Bypass the law? Fort Bragg is where my family is from.G;ass Beach has always been a stop for us when we visit. Now they have made it into Disney;and where i have to pay for admission.

  2. Michelle

    I hope they work on citing people for taking it soon. Had a beautiful time enjoying a walk along the ocean until I came back and saw about 8 adults picking the sand for sea glass. Ugh

  3. Debbie

    You can make your very own beach glass, never taking any from beaches. Buy, borrow or some way obtain, a rock tumbler; they usually come with several grades of sand. If not, you can buy sand. Take whatever color of glass you want, safely break it ( perhaps holding glass in a thick paper bag) and use hammer or brick to break glass into the size pieces you want. Tumble in rock polisher using coarse grain sand, and following directions from the tumbler manufacturer as to need for water and if so how much. It might take a few weeks, but you won’t have to risk destroying or disturbing natural beauty of real beaches.
    I’ve know people to make their own beach glass for projects: one person made beach glass Rune stones; one person used lots of beach glass to make tabletop water fountains. You just have to be patient like Mother Nature!

  4. Jackie Rose

    I read that I am not allowed to take glass from the beach but I am allowed to take glass elsewhere. I am hoping this is correct because I don’t want to be fined. I collect sand from every beach I have gone to in my life and write a memo on the small bottle. I have a collection from South Korea, The Dominican Republic, and half of the USA.

    1. Hi Jackie, there are three different sites to Glass Beach and it is prohibited to take glass from any of them. Site 3 is part of MacKerricher State Park, and the other 2 sites are under a city ordinance of no glass removal. Sorry for any inconvenience.

  5. TB

    Can anyone comment if dogs are allowed if on leash? Taking a road trip with the pup.

    1. Dogs are allowed on-leash 🙂

  6. KSKRY

    It is great to learn about the effect we have and how lasting it is. Of course it is beautiful. Remember that it was dumped garbage. being an old dumping spot one would think you would want to help mother nature out and clean the beach. It seems like this is a let’s be unique and not take care of the beach. there still are chemicals and not all glass is round. still have jagged edges.

  7. Dolores Kopacz

    are there other beaches in the area that have beach glass that you can collect?

    1. Dolores,

      No there is not, the only beach with sea glass is Glass Beach off Elm Street which has the restriction to not remove glass off the beach.

    2. jaeanne

      Dolores, yes, here are other beaches that have sea glass. All along the coast of CA you can find glass. Parts of Europe as well! I found a ton in Italy. Good luck!

  8. Anna

    Ridiculous. IT’S GARBAGE. CLEAN OUR OCEAN and stop trying to make a buck off ANY resources you happen across. Since the town of Ft. Bragg couldn’t find a legal way of making revenue from the sea glass, they turned it into a state park in order to FINE their way to better revenue, off of their own garbage, no less. Greed, plain and simple and Capt. Cass is right there with the lot of them. He sells fake sea glass for you to seed the beach with. RIGHT. Go on and continue polluting the ocean so that this clown can make a few bucks, as well as all the money made from ticketing people for picking up trash, Talk about delusional reality. I will never visit Ft. Bragg again. The greed there is too raw.

    1. Marilyn Kirk

      I totally agree with you on this issue. If you visit Moonstone beach,and find a stone you are allowed to keep it. Moonstone is an actual gem. I personally think that the glass should be free for the taking so that it could be cleaned up

    2. Marilyn Kirk

      I agree with you

  9. Anthony Bolognese

    Does any place there sale the sea glass at all

  10. Those selfish folks who want to remove the sea glass from Glass Beach, have the same mentality as those who would destroy elephants just for for their love of ivory.

    1. Kristin Suratt

      It’s a matter of educating people so they learn to leave the glass for future generations to enjoy. Plus, there’s now an ordinance and a $500 fine if caught removing the glass. “Take nothing but a photo” is a good mantra in this case. Having some glass sitting in a jar on a shelf is not nearly as magnificent as enjoying Glass Beach. I hope the “unconscious” people realize this before more of the beach is destroyed by what is now considered theft.

    2. Mash

      I think that’s a major stretch. I don’t think most people would kill elephants to take their tusks while more than likely someone might go to the beach and pick up and take a rock, or pretty glass, or a sea shell. I don’t think they are in the same category at all! People who exaggerate in this way turn off those who might be convinced to change their views on picking up abd taking hings from the beach. I don’t think they are trying to harm anyone. If you put a child on the beach with pretty rocks, shells and polished glass I think you would find their pockets would end up full of shells, glass and rocks. If you put them near elephants with tusks they would probably want to pet Themis ride them. I don’t think we would have them arrested for having sea shells, rocks or glass in their pockets. LOL!

      1. Kristin

        Mash, I am glad someone has some semblance of common sense left. Some people always have to elevate it to a radical scenario and create hysteria. OH-B-ROTHER

    3. Cassie

      that is not true. a pretty piece of glass cannot be compared to killing an elephant. ignorant statement