Two years of drooling over Instagrams, researching on travel sites and daydreaming about a northern romantic getaway to Mendocino and it finally happened! The winding road to this section of the coast through tall redwoods from San Francisco is nothing short of amazing, so try not to have doubts when you enter the directions on your GPS and it tells you how long it will take. The sun may not shine much in Fort Bragg, but the colorful display of sea glass at Glass Beach, the quaint downtown shops and restaurants in addition to the pastel buildings dotted along Highway One make this seaside village shine bright.
Along the rugged coast and down a steep set of stairs lies a small cove littered in smooth, colorful sea glass. Once you make it down the steps and lay your eyes on the collection, you may find it hard to comprehend just how much sea glass is continually washed upon the shore of this tiny beach at MacKerricher State Park. You may be wondering how this happened and if you look back at history, you will find the answer. In 1949, the town began using this area to dispose of it’s trash and bottles. For a little less than 20 years, this was considered normal but was finally shutdown in 1967 by North Coast Water Quality Board once the people determined how detrimental it is to throw trash into the ocean. Since then, years and years of constant pounding ocean waves have smoothed over these tiny treasures and colors of green, white and brown glass cover the top layer of sand. Although using the ocean as a trash receptacle back then was a not the best thing for our environment, we’re left with a shore of colorful treasures.
TO FIND GLASS BEACH:
Once you drive past what appears to be the “downtown” of Fort Bragg and spot the Denny’s, take a left and park in the recently renovated parking lot. Walk straight to the coast and turn left. From there, follow the wooden sign and down the stairs to discover Glass Beach. The thick cloud layer is almost always present here, so dress in layers and perhaps skip the sandals and wear close toed shoes. It is technically illegal to remove any glass from the beach, but from what I’ve heard it’s not enforced (yet). If you are feeling hungry, there are some great places to check out in downtown Fort Bragg. Including Eggshead’s and North Coast Brewing.
Have you traveled up the coast as far as Fort Bragg or beyond? Curious of what other explorations I embarked on while on my trip to Mendocino? Then be sure to check out my Mendocino Guide!