What to Know About California’s Glass Beach Before You Go

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Close up view of glass beach california

California’s Glass Beach may not sound like a great place to walk barefoot, but it’s a unique beach you can’t experience anywhere else.

However, you should know a few things if you want to make the most of your trip to this incredible coastline. If not, you could potentially find yourself in some legal trouble. Let’s dive in.

Where Is Glass Beach?

Glass Beach sits along the northern California coastline. The nearest city is Fort Bragg, Calif.

The beach lies adjacent to MacKerricher State Park. However, in 2002, the beach was incorporated into the park. It’s one of the most famous glass beaches in the entire world.

Close up view of glass beach california

About MacKerricher State Park

MacKerricher State Park has 2,299 acres and was formerly a part of the Mendocino Indian Reservation and the site of a logging and shipping operation.

The state opened the park in 1952 and continued to add land along the Ten Mile beach until 1977. 

You’ll find a variety of habitats in the park, including beaches, dunes, headlands, coves, wetlands, tide pools, forests, and even a freshwater lake.

The park is a popular spot for hiking and whale-watching trips. You can find a campground and fishing facilities on Lake Cleone. You can easily enjoy the great outdoors on the plentiful walking, cycling, and horseback riding trails.

Read On: Glass Beach is top of the list, but there are many other Surprisingly Unique Things to do in Fort Bragg!

How Was Glass Beach in California Formed?

Glass Beach in California gets its glassy shores from years of dumping garbage into the coastline.

Residents would toss their household garbage over the cliffs and into the ocean. This included glass, appliances, and even vehicles. 

During the early 20th century, most people weren’t fully aware of the negative impact this would have on the environment.

The crashing waves would crush the glass, and it began to wash up onto the shore. However, the California State Water Resources Control Board finally closed down the dump site in 1967.

What to Know Before You Go 

If you’re planning a trip to Glass Beach, there are some important things you need to know.

These things can help ensure you have a smooth trip and stay out of trouble while enjoying the beach.

Does It Cost Anything to Visit Glass Beach?

There is no cost to visit Glass Beach in California. However, the parking lot constructed for the park in 2017 is very small.

It only has two dozen or so parking spots for guests to park at this popular tourist destination. So not only is this a fantastic place to visit, it’s very budget-friendly as well.

When Is the Best Time to Look for Sea Glass?

If you want the best chance of spotting sea glass, you’ll want to go an hour or so before or after low tide.

Additionally, you’ll have the best chance of spotting sea glass after a storm when the waves and waters have had the chance to do excessive churning. And face away from the sun to catch the reflections of the light off the glass.

Can I Take Home Glass From Glass Beach in California?

Unfortunately, since Glass Beach is within the state park, it is illegal to take home any glass. Over the years, thousands of visitors have walked the beaches and grabbed as much sea glass as possible. 

As a result, the amount of sea glass on the beach has decreased significantly. Visitors are encouraged to take pictures but should not remove any glass stones from the beach.

Are Dogs Allowed on Glass Beach?

Glass Beach is one of the most popular dog beaches in Fort Bragg.

However, dogs must remain on a leash. In addition, if you keep your dog on a leash, you can take them on the trails surrounding the area.

Pro Tip: New to camping with your furry friends? Then you need to see our Insider Tips for Successfully Camping with Dogs!

View of glass beach california

RV Parks Near Glass Beach in California 

Bringing your RV with you and looking for a place to stay near Glass Beach in California?

We have a few great suggestions that you’re sure to love! Let’s take a look!

Harbor RV Park

Address: 1021 S Main St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Rating: 4.3/5
Nightly Rate: Starting at $37 to $42
Distance from Glass Beach: 2.3 Miles 

This year-round RV park was started in 1960 and has grown over the years and went through several major renovations. The park offers 19 full hook-up sites and 11 with water and electricity. 

While not all 30 sites have full hookups, you can enjoy a beautiful ocean view from any of the sites. Fishermen can enjoy the on-site fish cleaning station and the boat trailer parking. 

All guests will enjoy free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and outgoing mail service. Additionally, you’ll be close to some of the best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment Fort Bragg offers.

Sportsman RV Park 

Address: 32094 N Harbor Dr, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Rating: 4.5/5
Nightly Rate: Starting at $65
Distance from Glass Beach: 2.7 Miles 

Sportsman RV Park sits along the Noyo River in Fort Bragg, only 2.7 miles from Glass Beach in California.

Its location makes it easy to enjoy the sights and sounds of the harbor in a charming and intimate setting. The site provides quick and easy access to fishing, crabbing, and walking along the beach. 

If you enjoy fine dining, it’s a short stroll to some of the finest restaurants in the city. Some of the guests’ favorite amenities include the hot showers in the bathhouse and free Wi-Fi throughout the park. And the park and nearby beach are pet-friendly.

Sportsman RV Park near glass beach california

Dolphin Isle Marina and RV Park

Address: 32399 Basin St, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Rating: 4.3/5
Nightly Rate: Starting at $45-$50
Distance from Glass Beach: 4 Miles 

Dolphin Isle Marina and RV Park has 25 year-round RV spaces and more than 50 seasonal ones. Seasonal sites are available from March 1 to Nov. 1. All of their sites have full hookups with water, sewer, and power. 

Additionally, the park provides basic cable TV and free Wi-Fi. And you can use the on-site laundry facility, restrooms, and coin-operated showers. Stay here for a short drive to Glass Beach.

Keep in Mind: While you’re in California, you might be planning to visit a few national parks. But Are the National Parks in California Worth Visiting?

View of glass beach california

Stop at the Unique Glass Beach in California 

If you’re passing through Northern California, a stop at this unique beach can make a great day trip. Though you can’t take home any of the glass, you can take plenty of pictures to cherish and show off to your friends and family. 

Glass Beach formed due to humans having a tremendous impact on the ecosystem. But we’re glad that officials are doing everything possible to limit further environmental damage. 

Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy this breathtakingly beautiful beach!

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