This roadtrip through the winding coastal roads of Mendocino county was a special treat. Peter and I were taking a spontaneous travel adventure three hours away from our Northern California home to see something first hand, something that I had only witnessed in pretty pictures on Pinterest, Instagram and such. I was on a mission to ogle it, touch it, walk on it and of course take my own dazzling photographs.
We were headed to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.
The famous Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is where a high concentration of colored sea glass shimmers along the shore. It is rumored that when a sailor is lost at sea, the mermaids cry brilliant sea glass tears that are washed ashore. In reality the sea glass is not the mermaids tears, but the aging effects from a local dump that was moved from the area in the mid 60s.
A former dumping ground, turned sea glass mecca.
It had been at least fifteen years since we had ventured North to Mendocino County and as we began the drive we couldn’t understand why it had been so long.
This coastal area of Northern California was beautiful.
We passed by the tiny town of Jenner, watching the boats and kayaks enjoying the day. Then we made a quick stop at Fort Ross, an old Russian settlement. We even stopped in the Redwoods, so I could “Hug a Redwood”, a goal that’s been on my bucket list for years.
At this rate we may never make it to either Fort Bragg or Glass Beach.
We finally pulled up to the famous Glass Beach in Fort Bragg and the parking lot was full, dozens of people were heading the same direction as us. There were no signs along the way, but we followed the crowd and walked down a concrete path towards the oceanfront. From up above we could see a half dozen folks combing the sand for sea glass and I started to get excited.
Would it look like the all the photographs on Pinterest?
As we walked down from the ledge towards the water we started to see a little glass mixed in with some rock. The glass sighting increased the closer to the sea we got, though even at it’s best it was about a 60-40 ratio with sea glass as the latter and rock in the lead. Update: They have recently opened a new coastal section to the South and down stairs, that has a higher concentration of glass. Make sure to head South!!!
It was a surprise that several people there were loading up little plastic bags of sea glass to take as a souvenir, leaving less for future visitors.
Please, don’t take the sea glass.
There were several colors of glass, but the green was the scarcest. I’m sure much of it is sitting in pretty clear vases on mantles all over the world. It was easy to spot brown glass from the broken beer bottles, as well as white, but you really had to look for the green.
I sat on the ground, picking out solely colored glass for one photograph sans the rocks. It was beautiful, but there was no area we saw along Glass Beach that you could see this naturally.
Even though Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach doesn’t look exactly like the saturated photos you see online it is definitely worth a visit. Not only for the pretty sea glass, but for the general beauty of the beach with it’s coastal plants, weathered driftwood and sandy landscape.
***Another one of our favorite roadtrips was driving Nova Scotia’s 185 mile Cabot Trail.
Glass Beach | MacKerricher State Park | Elm Street and Glass Beach Drive, Fort Bragg, California | Map
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