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The Glass Beach: a recycled beauty

Written by 5 November 2011 5 Comments

When I was a child, I would look forlornly at the uncomfortable stone and pebble beaches my mum would take me to in England. Trying to sit comfortably would be awkward and painful, and traipsing to the sea shore would require hobbling and limping over spikey rocks. I would amuse myself though by wandering the beach with a sand bucket, choosing pretty pebbles with a meticulous concentration. Then trick my mum into taking them home by hiding them in her beach bag. But I’m sure this beach would have had me ODing in excitement with all the beautiful gems and jewels that appear to litter the shore.

The Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California, suffered from residents disposing their garbage onto the coastline in the early 20th century. They were dumping all the damage from the big earthquake of 1906 that wrecked a lot of San Francisco. Obviously there was tons of glass, but appliances and cars were also dumped until finally responsibility was taken and mass clean-up jobs were begun in the 1960’s.

But by the power of Mother Nature, waves pounded and impacted the glass, smoothing them into glossy coloured stones that make the beach one hell of a colourful sight. Tourists frequent it often as the view is magnificent, but leave the glass there as too much is being taken as mementos of the area. Just take photographs and leave footprints.

But wow, the scenery is amazing with glass tidal pools full of sea life, such as, crabs and molluscs that have adapted to this unusual place and made homes. Visit at low tide to see the beach at its most majestic in the sun.
So one generation’s trash is literally another’s treasure. Thankfully, the area has recovered from the trashing and now is a jewel of a coast. This is it guys, the power of nature beautifying an ugly eye-sore caused by man which is definitely worth a visit.

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  • Kash Bhattacharya said:

    Nice article.

    Definitely on the list of places to see if I head to California next year.

    I love combing beaches in Scotland searching for semi-precious stones.

    There is one particular ‘hidden beach’ I know of which is a goldmine of colourful stones.

    If you or any of the Travelettes are coming up to Edinburgh…I might let you into my secret :)


  • Will - Gap Daemon said:

    Stunning photos as per. Bit worried about treading barefoot though!

  • Audrey said:

    It looks beautiful! The glass looks so smooth, but I think I would still be afraid of walking barefoot :)

  • Sophie said:

    haha yeah, i wouldnt be down at the shore making sandcastles. Maybe with gloves and goggles though

  • 92101 San Diego said:

    These looks great! Just don’t forget that San Diego beaches are also some of the best travel spots, especially those in Downtown San Diego.

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