How to Find Sea Glass at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California

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During the middle of August 2014, the path to Glass Beach off Elm Street has No Trespassing signs Also, the chain-link fence along the main path has been removed. The city of Fort Bragg is renovating the area on the cliffs above Glass Beach. 

The grand opening of Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach is scheduled for August 2015. 

I spoke with several locals in Fort Bragg during my last visit in August, and many said that the city is restoring the natural plants and building safer paths, which may include stairs, to all three Sea Glass Beach sites. 

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Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is one of the most famous beaches for finding sea glass in the United States. The beach is located in Northern California a few hours north of San Francisco along the rocky shoreline, and it’s literally full of sea glass.

As with most sea glass finding odds, the most common colors of sea glass you’ll find on Fort Bragg’s sea glass beaches are clear, brown and green, but a few rarer colors still lie on the shore and in the water. You  just need to have a little sea glass luck. If you visit Glass Beach after a storm, you’ll have a better chance of finding rare sea glass as the bigger waves tend to wash up more sea glass.

Rare Sea Glass Colors

There are three main glass beaches in Fort Bragg. Two are accessible by foot, and the third is accessible through the water by boat or kayak.

Here’s how to find the most popular Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, California.

Find Sea Glass at Glass Beach


Directions to Glass Beach

Follow Highway 1 in California to Fort Bragg, and head west on Elm Street.

At the end of Elm Street, you’ll see a sandy path. Follow the path straight towards the ocean. Don’t go to the right at the fork in the path. Keep heading straight.

There’s a fence on the left side of the path, and towards the end of the path is a “No Trespassing” sign hanging on the fence. The “No Trespassing” sign is for the area above the beach behind the fence.

Go to the left around the fence, and walk until you can look down and see a large cove.  There will probably be a few people down on the beach collecting sea glass. Climb down the cliff carefully.

Looking down on Glass Beach

Looking Down on Glass Beach from Cliffs



Glass Beach Fort Bragg

There is plenty of sea glass on Glass Beach. It’s not necessary to find sea glass at low tide. You should, however, be aware that there is a warning to be careful of dangerous surf.

Directions to Sea Glass Beach

Warning signs at the beginning of the path to Glass Beach


How to get to sea glass beach

Path to Glass Beach

Sea Glass Beach

“No Trespassing” Warning Sign – You can walk around the outside of the fence above the water.

Sea Glass Beach in Fort Bragg

Small Section of Glass Beach


There is not as much sea glass on this cove compared to the larger cove.

Glass Beach in Fort Bragg

Larger Section of Glass Beach

 Detailed Directions with Map to Glass Beach

History of Fort Bragg Sea Glass

After the big San Francisco earthquake in 1906 and up until 1967, the beaches surrounding Fort Bragg were used as dump sites for the city’s trash. The big earthquake caused a lot of damage to Fort Bragg, so much of the refuse and debris from the quake was dumped into the ocean around the beach near Pine Street.

Over the years the glass was recycled by ocean and made its way back to the shore in a beautiful changed form of sea glass or mermaids’ tears.

Eventually, the city hauled trash to two more sites on the beach, and Glass Beach became a popular place for sea glass lovers to visit. On most other beaches, sea glass is hard to find, but on Glass Beach much of the shoreline is covered in sea glass.

Glass Beach Fort Bragg

Glass Beach

Sea Glass on Glass Beach

Sea Glass Museum in Fort Bragg

If you’re planning a trip to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, be sure to check out The International Sea Glass Museum. The address is 17801 North Highway 1, Fort Bragg, California. The museum has a lot of information about Fort Bragg sea glass and maps to help you find sea glass in the area. You’ll also see plenty of sea glass on display at the museum.

Sea Glass Museum Fort Bragg

Sea Glass Museum

A Visit to the International Sea Glass Museum