Photo from digggs
Photo from Matthew High
Photo via Megan
Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. It is hard to imagine this happening today, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass.
By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean.
Now, over 30 years later, Mother Nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding wave action have deposited tons of polished glass onto the beach. You'll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you'll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun. (As part of MacKerricher State Park, collecting is no longer allowed).
Glass Beach also has a very interesting array of tide pools to explore. Crabs, mollusks, and many aquatic plants make their homes in these ever changing environments. It is very easy to spend your whole day poking around the tide pools and watching the busy little worlds that go on inside each one.