If you are planning your first visit to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA, check out this first timers guide so you can have a great time exploring this beautiful and unique area.
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When you don’t live near the beach, every opportunity to visit the beach is an adventure. During our overnight stop in Fort Bragg, California, we made a point to go to the world famous Glass Beach. We explored the tide pools, climbed over rocks and enjoyed seeing all the beautiful colors of sea glass. Glass Beach is part of MacKarricher State Park but the address below is how to access the area that has sea glass.
Basic Information about Glass Beach
Address: Elm St & Old Haul Rd, Fort Bragg, CA 95437
Wheelchair/stroller accessible: No. The parking lot is paved and there is a sidewalk around it, but there is not a paved path down to the beach.
Distance to beach from parking lot: Depends on how direct of a path you take down to the beach, but less than 1/4 mile.
Bathrooms: Yes, by the parking lot.
How did Glass Beach get its name?
Between 1906-1967, trash was dumped onto the beaches in three different areas in Fort Bragg, including glass bottles. Over time, the rolling of the waves broke down the glass, turning it into small rounded pieces that cover the beach. Today, you can see all the colorful glass mixed in with small rocks and sand known today as Glass Beach. [source]
How to get to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, CA
In order to access Glass Beach, you need to park in the parking lot at the end of Elm St. and Old Haul Rd. Then follow the path that leads down to the ocean. The easiest way to get there is to put the location in your GPS.
What is the best time to visit Glass Beach?
If you are visiting Glass Beach, it’s probably because you want to be able to see the pieces of glass it gets its name from. This means you’ll need to visit at low tide. Each day, there are 2 high tides and 2 low tides. The best way to plan your visit around low tide is to look at the tide chart. It changes a little every day so plan for your specific visit, not just the time of year.
We visited after dinner at Sea Pal Cove (SO good) and even though it was the middle of summer, it wasn’t very busy and we were able to get a parking spot easily.
Are there tide pools at Glass Beach?
Yes. My kids had never been to a tide pool before this and they loved it! (Maybe even more than the glass on the beach.) There were a lot of little hermit crabs, anemones and other small tide pool creatures. As I mentioned above, check the tide chart before heading out to the beach to make sure you get as much time exploring the tide pools as possible.
What should I take with me to Glass Beach?
Shoes: I definitely recommend wearing shoes you don’t mind getting wet. A couple of my kids wore water/hiking shoes or tennis shoes and their feet were better protected from the rocks than those of us who (ahem) wore flip flops. There are tide pools you can explore and the rocks are jagged, plus it can get a little slippery.
Jacket/Sweatshirt: Weather on this part of the coast is cooler, even in the middle of the summer. (The average high in July is 71 degrees.) We brought sweatshirts with us and I’m glad we did because it meant we got to stay out a little longer to explore.
Towel: I recommend having a towel you can use to wipe feet off when you get back to your car.
I hope this first timers guide to Glass Beach is helpful to you as your plan your visit!
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Great tips, thanks! We’ve been wanting to go for awhile, I want to go in the winter and watch the whales migrating.