Travel Snapshots – Glass Beach – Ft. Bragg, California


Northern Californian beaches are unlike the sunny and warm beaches of Southern California. Northern Californian beaches are rocky, wild, and rough, a bit like Northern California itself. Compared to the sunny warmth of Southern California, Northern California is like a different world. For one, it’s colder, rainier, and prone to bouts of moody fog. It has a beauty that is different and a bit more mysterious and secluded than that of its warmer and sunnier southern counterpart.


Glass Beach is located in the small coastal town of Ft. Bragg, about three hours outside of San Francisco. Glass Beach is also known for its sea glass, which is sprinkled throughout the beach. Interestingly, sea glass is just glass, whether from bottles or windows, that has been weathered by the sea. Glass Beach has so much sea glass because back in the 40’s the residents of Ft. Bragg used Glass Beach as their garbage dump. Yep, when the residents of Ft. Bragg wanted to throw their trash away, they just threw it into the ocean.

Over time, the trash became treasure as broken bottles, windows, and even the glass from car headlights (yes they even threw their cars into the ocean) became sea glass. Today, you can see for yourself how nature has turned old trash into new treasure. The most common types of sea glass are those of the brown and green variety which come from old soda and beer bottles. The rarer types of sea glass are cobalt blue (from old glass prescription bottles) and ruby red (from old car headlights). There is a warning sign posting advising beach-goers not to take any sea glass home with them, however that doesn’t stop many from scouring the beach for sea glass to take with them.

While I definitely prefer my beaches sunny, warm, and on the smoother side, Glass Beach was a nice change with its rough terrain, interesting history, and beautiful bits of sea glass dotting the sand like jewels.

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