A place to go sea glass hunting

A beach to go sea glass hunting.

We know that waves wash ashore shells and weeds and a whole lot of odds and ends it may find in the middle of the sea. There’s a beach in northern California where the tides bring in what look like glass pebbles. This sea glass beach in Fort Bragg in Mendocino County is called Glass Beach.

Sometime back we were in Mendocino for a day and while I was leafing through a booklet at the inn we were staying in, I happened to read about  this sea glass beach. I took out my smartphone and did a small ‘search’ and what I saw was really amazing. (See it for yourself here.)

Now that is something not to be missed if we were that close to this unique beach. So we drove to Fort Bragg, turned into Elm Street just as our navigation system asked us to do. We parked on Glass Beach Drive and walked down to the beach. As I got close to it, I expected to see a beach blanketed in glass-like stones and got all disappointed. This place was nothing like what I saw in the pictures.

sea glass

I did find a few of those glassy things but I had to look for them really hard. I’m guessing you are wondering how this beach became a ‘Glass Beach’. It’s no miracle, really. The history of this place says that all the trash that was Fort Bragg’s was dumped here for several years together.  And a lot of glass bottles and shards that lay in the dump was washed away and after some attrition and natural Pacific-Ocean-treatment the waters returned the pieces to the beach in this form.  That really is an amazing natural phenomenon that transformed waste into beautiful objects. But all I got to see was just about five little pebbles of sea glass.

According to Fort Bragg’s official site, there are three glass beaches here and the one inside MacKerricher State Park is said to be true(r) to its name. (If only I’d done some proper homework! Should I happen to go that side again, I am definitely going to see the state-park-beach.)

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  1. Hey. Your blog is so informative. You have extensively covered California region. I am moving to San Jose soon and am going to treat your blog as my guide 🙂

    PS: Wanted to interact with you since long but could not because of my workplace's IT restrictions..

    • You are? So cool! Welcome to the Bay Area.
      San Jose is a really nice place and you're gonna love it. There's so much to do in the SF Bay area. You are going to have fun.
      I'm looking forward to your Bay-area-travel-stories on Travelrage.
      Do keep in touch, Neha.
      Happy moving!! 🙂

  2. Wow…never heard or read about this unique glass beach. What a dazzling experience it must have been..Amazing!
    Thanks Divya, for sharing…

    • I hadn't too, until I chanced upon a little info about this place. I was very curious and after having those pictures on search, I was upset that it wasn't the dazzling experience I had expected. But I am glad I got to see 'some' of that sea glass.

      If there is a next time. I just have to visit that beach that is covered in these transparent stones.

  3. Wow!! Probably glass pieces get washed ashore only during certain times of the year. Interesting beach. Thanks for sharing this.


    • Apparently I was not on the glass beach that is protected as a State Beach. I didn't know there were 3 glass beaches here. 🙁
      We just followed the road signs and got to this one that wasn't the best of these glass beaches. I bet a lot of other people didn't know that, there were a lot of people here at this beach, trying to look for some of those glass pebbles.

  4. Unusual things but yes, natures gives back whatever does not belong to it especially the sea, Divya:) Look forward to read more !

    • That's a beautiful line, Mr. Bhatia. True, the sea does quite give back what does not belong to it.
      The best part is that here the sea takes waste glass and returns them as little pieces of treasure. :)How amazing.

      I hope someday, I'll get to step on to the beach I didn't know about and be able to see more of this magical natural phenomenon. If that happens, I'll surely bring back pictures for all of you to see.

  5. interesting and informative post…

    thanks for sharing

  6. oooh i would love to go and collect some of that glass.. but is that Real glass or something that looks like glass ..

    so thats how it got to be knows as Glass beach hmmm 🙂


    • It is real glass, Bikram. Bits and pieces of beer bottles and glasses of cars and all. But the ones that are washed ashore are nice and round and really look like stones (now that they have such smooth edges).
      I hear that picking them is not allowed at the State Beachm I guess that's why they have them in plenty, there. At the beach that we had been too, people were looking for them and collecting and all that. I think a good part of it was picked and taken to the Glass Museum nearby.

    • ah ha .. I guess if they allow it to be picked then they wont have much left 🙂 and how will the museum get it all ..


    • I guess that's the reason they have the other beach all protected. Wait, there's more. There's a place that supposedly sells sea glass jewellery. 🙂

  7. Interesting find… though I have noticed glass pebbles on various beaches including auroville beach in Pondicherry,Phuket, this place seems to be exceptionally rich in discarded glass. I will not be too worried about pollution as glass is made from silica… though the purist may disagree…

    • I'm sure. Even I think it's ok.
      I'm amazed that some place could have that many of them and that's the reason I wanted to see this beach. Alas! 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by, Desi Traveler.

  8. Time to use these to make some cool accessories! Now I am givign you ideas. Better even, make a terranium! Divya, I am subscribed to your blog and not getting email updates, can you please chk if theres something wrong? Do check if I show up in your subscribers list!

    • Great idea, only that you don't get to pick that many here. May not be proper sea glass but I know I can find pebbly glass pieces at art stores and even the dollar stores. 🙂

  9. I re subscribed to your blog, and it went through! Hmm weird

  10. wow……nature doe have its way of turning trash into beauty..and thats also a lesson for us….we should not dump trash into the sea…coz every time it may not happen!!


  11. Wow! You do have a knack of showing the unusual… Beautifully! 🙂 Wonderful phenomena, and it must be amazing to feel those pebbles in hand. They also make for such pretty souvenirs! 🙂

  12. This one is a mysterious post indeed! Guess what, the quest for sea-glass may lead you to mermaids someday!

  13. I had never heard about glass beach. From the title I thought perhaps it has some minerals. I hope one can walk bare foot in the sands?

    • It's regular glass once dumped there, now turned into colourful and lovel-looking pebbles. It's not advisable to walk barefoot there. I did see a few pieces of glass a little away from the water, that was not exactly smooth to the finish. I don't know how it is on the 'richer' glass beaches.

  14. Send me one , please 🙂

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