Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (2022)

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (1)

Sea glass hunters always think of Fort Bragg, California when you mention "Glass Beach". However, this may be the better of the two!

There's not as much sea glass at Washington's Glass Beach, but still a lot more than most beaches and definitely better colors.

It's quite a long hike to get to the beach and you're racing against the changing tide, but the scenery is fantastic. I wouldn't want to go in wet weather though!

If you're planning a visit in the near future - or you just want to look at pretty pictures and daydream - here's my complete guide to Glass Beach at Port Townsend.

Quick navigation

Why is there so much sea glass here?

My Glass Beach Adventure!

My Tips for the perfect Glass Beach visit

My Glass Beach treasure!

(Video) Glass Beach, Port Townsend, WA -Sea Glass Hunting, finding rare colors and marbles

Directions to Glass Beach, Port Townsend

While You're in Port Townsend...

Why is there so much sea glass here?

Before humans started to care more about the environment, the ocean was a handy place to get rid of trash quickly and cheaply. Much of the sea glass we collect these days comes from trash dumps, such as Glass Beach at Fort Bragg.

Until the late 1960s, trucks backed up to the edge of the bluff at McCurdy Point and dumped Port Townsend's refuse onto the rocky shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The city then decided to clean up its beaches, discontinuing the practice of dumping and bulldozing debris over the bluff.

My Glass Beach Adventure!

North Beach is Port Townsend's main beach. It faces north out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca, with beautiful Whidbey Island to the Northeast and the San Juan Islands.

My husband and I parked up about two hours before low tide, turned left and started hiking. It was mid November and, as you can see from the short video below, it was the perfect weather for a long walk.

As we started the 3 mile hike from North Beach Park, we were surprised as we seemed to have the beach completely to ourselves. I had expected to meet a number of other beachcombers (and did later on) but it was exciting to think that we may have had it to ourselves!

It was important to keep a somewhat fast pace so that we wouldn't get caught by the high tide on the way back. The beach is narrow to begin with and parts do get cut off as the tide rises, so plan ahead and check the tide charts.

Also, let somebody know where you're going and when you plan to be back, just in case. If you do get your timings wrong, you'll definitely want to know that help is on the way.

With this in mind, I was forced to keep my head up and keep walking. I even resisted looking for sea glass during the hike (well, I tried!).

The walk was pretty easy going for the most part. The beach is mostly sandy with large patches of golf ball and softball sized rocks. As you get further down the beach there are some firm mud patches, lots of mushy seaweed and tons of driftwood.

We walked for around 30 minutes before finding our first piece of sea glass.

Finally, after walking for about 45 minutes, we noticed the beds of rocks now consisted of smaller pebbles. We also started finding a piece of sea glass every few steps.

It was clear that we were getting close to the old dump site known as "Glass Beach" which actually begins at McCurdy Point and continues south along the shore.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (2)

(Video) Sea glass hunting on Glass Beach, Port Townsend, WA

Once you spot this, you're almost at the start of Glass Beach!

As we came around the bluff, we noticed the two old car axles which mark the beginning of Glass Beach. It took about 90 minutes to arrive at this location so be aware that it is quite a hike!

Immediately, we started to find lots of well rounded, mostly clear, perfectly frosted pieces of sea glass nestled between stones. As usual, I picked up more pieces but the Mr. is more discerning and found fewer in total, but more of a higher quality.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (3)

All of this beach treasure was just laying around!

We found several beautiful pieces of sea glass in blue, red, grey, green, brown and, of course, clear. We also found a few pieces of pottery, a couple of nice oyster shells, several pieces of driftwood and a beautiful agate.

We continued to search for sea glass treasures for almost an hour before noticing that the tide was on its way back in. We also noticed that the handful of other sea glass hunters were starting to make their way back towards North Beach - that was a clue to get moving!

Don't be tempted to stay out longer than is sensible; that tide is not going to wait! When it's time to start hiking back to the parking lot, get hiking! The walk back can be a little tougher, especially when your backpack and pockets are loaded with sea glass, rocks, shells and driftwood.

Because of the rapidly rising tide there were a few spots where we needed to get closer to the rocks at the base of the bluffs. This made walking a little more difficult and time consuming.

There are also a few fallen trees that were easy to walk around when the tide was low, but that all changes as the tide rises. You either need to climb over them or walk a little way into the water.

On the way back towards the parking lot we had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with a couple of local sea glass collectors, Cheryl and Teresa. These lovely ladies were happy to show us their finds of the morning.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (4)

Teresa found these agates right in front of the parking lot at North Beach!

My Tips for the perfect Glass Beach visit

  • Wear good walking shoes or hiking boots. I love my wellies!
  • Bring water (especially in summer) as it's about a 6 mile round trip hike.
  • Bring a small hand rake for digging in the gravel beds.
  • Wear a back pack to carry your beach treasures back.
  • It's always a good idea to take a bag for picking up trash.
  • I like to wear a good hat (I don't wear sun glasses when I'm sea glassing).
  • As always, take a chap stick and sunscreen.

(Video) Glass Beach Port Townsend, Wa Beachcombing for Sea Glass, Pottery & Agates

My Glass Beach treasure!

Here are some of the treasures we found on Glass Beach.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (5)

Lime green sea glass which turned out to be uranium glass!

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (6)

We found all of this in less than an hour!

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (7)

Some of my favorites... can you spot the little pink heart?

Directions to Glass Beach, Port Townsend

Drive to North Beach parking lot: 5887 Kuhn Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

Hike west from the parking lot for around 3 miles. Google Maps measures the distance as 2.6 miles in a straight line, but you can see a curve in the beach so allow for the extra distance.

Once you round the bluff, you're on Glass Beach.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (8)

Here are a number of landmarks along the route so you know you're heading in the right direction!

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (10)

There are a few fallen trees to clamber over!

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (11)

When you pass the tree stump wall, you're about a quarter of the way there.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (12)

This wall is about halfway, so keep on hiking!

(Video) GLASS BEACH || Port Townsend, WA

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (13)

Once you spot the rusted car parts, you're about to hit Glass Beach!

I highly recommend visiting Glass Beach, in fact it's my favorite sea glass beach in the United States (so far!).

While You're in Port Townsend...

Port Townsend itself is a wonderful, historic town. Originally planned as a busy sea port, the railway only made it as far as Tacoma and left Port Townsend in a bit of a mess. These days, it's a bohemian paradise full of historic buildings.

If you enjoy history, here's the full story.

When you visit, make sure to enjoy an evening at the Rose Theatre. The Rose opened as a vaudeville house in 1907 and has experienced the transition from live theatre to silent film, to talkies, to Technicolor and now to digital projection across three unique screens. Every show is personally introduced by a host which sets the movie up perfectly.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (14)

First National Bank building, Port Townsend

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (15)

Downtown Port Townsend has amazing architecture!

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (16)

Plenty of repurposed warehouses and offices.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (17)

Port Townsend has a thriving arts community and a bohemian feel.

Glass Beach, Port Townsend: Amazing Sea Glass Hunting Spot! (18)

You can never go wrong with a mermaid, right?!

Have you been sea glass hunting in Port Townsend?

Tell me all about it in the comments below!

(Video) January Sea Glass Hunt at Port Townsend, WA on Glass Beach

FAQs

Is Glass Beach still full of glass? ›

Yes, there's still lots of glass at Glass Beach! The beach – actually three of them – was created over decades as the pounding surf and passage of time turned broken head- and tail-lights, apothecary and soda bottles, and discarded household trash into today's treasure.

Where is the most glass at Glass Beach? ›

Finding Glass Beach

Glass is found in the sandy deposits of the southern coves in and around MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg.

Can you pick up glass on Glass Beach? ›

No you are not supposed to pick up any glass. over a year ago. it's just ****ng glass.. all in all it's TRASH! there is no reason you cannot take or pick up trash and that includes beach/sea glass.. they are NOT natural formations to any park or otherwise..

How long of a walk is it to Glass Beach Port Townsend? ›

Glass Beach, Port Townsend

The hike to Glass Beach is approx. three miles (5.9 miles round trip). And before heading out on your adventure make sure to check the tides, bring a container to bring back your treasure, and pack snacks & water!

Can you take rocks from Glass Beach? ›

The world-famous Glass Beach in Fort Bragg is located in the boundary of MacKerricher State Park, which means all of the sea glass and resources are protected by law and you may not collect or take any from the site.

Why is glass from glass beaches illegal? ›

Glass Beach is a beach adjacent to MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California, named from a time when it was abundant with sea glass created from years of dumping garbage into an area of coastline near the northern part of the town. It is illegal to collect glass at this state park.

Where can I find sea glass marbles? ›

Beaches near where trash dumps were located are ideal for finding marbles. Marbles don't like to wash up on sand, they prefer rolling around in rocky areas. They don't roll uphill obviously, so they will often be found just below the tide line and therefore can more often be found in a negative low tide.

Can you swim at Glass Beach? ›

4) Can you go swimming at Glass Beach? No, but there's areas nearby where you can.

Are there bathrooms at Glass Beach? ›

The park offers visitors and locals parking, toilets, and paved walkways to enjoy Fort Bragg's Glass Beach and Coastline.

Is Seaglass worth money? ›

Make no mistake, sea glass is a commodity. It has real value, with some individual pieces selling for up to $1,000 and more.

What is the difference between sea glass and beach glass? ›

Although beach glass and sea glass are often used interchangeably, they can refer to two separate things, as well. While sea glass is always created and found near oceans, beach glass can be used to refer to glass that is found on freshwater shores, around lakes or rivers.

Is Glass Beach man made? ›

Glass Beach has a very interesting history, for it is not a natural phenomenon, but it was actually man-made.

Where is the glass Beach in Port Townsend? ›

The glass is from McCurdy Point, a 100-foot high bluff from which the town dumped its trash onto the beach below. You can find sea glass all along the 90-minute walk (if you don't stop to beachcomb!) from the parking lot at North Beach to McCurdy Point.

What time is low tide glass Beach Port Townsend? ›

The predicted tide times today on Friday 30 September 2022 for Port Townsend are: first high tide at 9:12am, first low tide at 1:30pm, second high tide at 7:06pm.
...
Today's tide times for Port Townsend: Friday 30 September 2022.
TideTime (PDT)& DateHeight
Low Tide1:30 PM(Fri 30 September)5.66 ft (1.73 m)
2 more rows

How long is the ferry ride from Seattle to Port Townsend? ›

Many couples are traveling from Seattle and one of the most quintessential PNW ways to travel to Port Townsend is via the Washington State Ferries. It is approximately a two hour journey each way whether you take the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston or Seattle to Bainbridge Island.

Can you walk on Glass Beach barefoot? ›

This is not a place to walk barefoot on the beach. To the north, there are other small beaches, coves, and coastal rocks to explore while walking along trails in the grassy bluffs leading toward Pudding Creek.

How long does it take a piece of glass to become Seaglass? ›

It can take 7-10 years in a constant surf environment for sea glass to "become" sea glass. A quality piece of sea glass has no shiny spots, is well frosted (see Frost In Sea Glass Glossary) and has smooth tactile edges.

Is sea glass toxic? ›

Sea Glass - Nail Polish; Non-Toxic, Vegan, and Cruelty-Free (#392) – Karma Organic Spa.

Can I take sea glass on a plane? ›

You can bring glass on a plane in your carry on so long as it's not sharp or very heavy. You can't bring a glass knife for example or anything that could be dangerous. And you can't bring any extremely heavy glass objects that could cause a concussion if you start whacking people on the head with it.

Can you clean sea glass? ›

It's super quick & easy: Use regular ol' glass cleaner & a soft cloth to remove surface dirt or grime to brighten glass right up. For dull or gritty looking glass, use a very tiny amount of coconut oil on the surface with your fingertips & rub onto your glass (just a dab of oil with the tip of a cotton swab should do).

How old are sea glass marbles? ›

Excavations in Pakistan and Egypt have found marbles of clay and glass that date back 5,000 years ago. In more modern times they have been everything from a toy, to a cushion for railroad tracks, to a form of ship ballast – which may be why some end up on our beaches.

Are sea glass marbles real? ›

The truth is actually simpler than you might expect. Sea glass marbles are said to come from four main sources: ship ballast, Codd bottles, playing marbles, and railroad marbles. Of these, playing marbles make up the overwhelming majority, especially here on US shores.

Where is blue sea glass from? ›

If you located a piece of aqua-colored sea glass, it is most likely from a Coca-Cola bottle, which used silica. Cobalt blue colors are often from old medicine bottles or poisons. A piece of red sea glass, is an incredibly rare find.

Is purple sea glass rare? ›

True purple glass is much rarer. In our English Sea Glass collection, it averages one in 5000 pieces as true lavender glass was reserved for the Monarchy (showing Royalty) and for the Bishops in the church. Light Blue or Cornflower Blue (Pre 1900 Phillips MOM bottles, Bromo Seltzer, Vick's Vapor Rub, etc.)

What is sea glass made of? ›

This artificial variety is made from sheets of glass that are cut up and placed in an acid bath or a rock tumbler. People also make artificial sea glass from recycled glass bottles; enthusiastic collectors actually look for particularly old bottles to make artificial sea glass.

Can u camp at Glass Beach? ›

over a year ago. No Camping at Glass Beach. MacKerricher State Park is north on Highway 1 a few miles for great camping.

Is Fort Bragg worth visiting? ›

Not only is Fort Bragg a fabulous destination in its own right, it is also close to other must-visit places on the scenic Northern California Coast.

How was Glass Beach formed? ›

How was Glass Beach formed? In the early 20th century Fort Bragg residents, like most other coastal towns, threw their household garbage over cliffs and into the ocean. They casually discarded glass, appliances, and even whole cars without a second thought for the environment.

Can you take rocks from the beach in California? ›

Tyson Butzke, a state park ranger, cited the California Code of Regulations, which bans gathering of any items, even shells, from beaches. Removing a rock is even worse. It is considered “tampering with geological features.”

How can you tell if sea glass is real? ›

Genuine sea glass is mostly found to be triangular in shape, and not uniform at all (just ask a sea glass jeweler looking for matching earrings parts), though sometimes glass from deeper water, that was older (and likely thicker) and survived longer will have a rounded or bulbous shape.

Can you sell beach glass? ›

Many of my buyers make and sell sea glass jewelry and crafts, and I've also started making simple craft items to sell. Finding and selling sea glass has gotten more popular over the last few years, mostly because of how easy it is to sell online on social media or craft sites like Etsy.

How rare is pink beach glass? ›

Many sea glass charts will put pink glass at the “rare to very rare” end of the spectrum. It is less common than cobalt and sun purple, but not as rare as true black or orange glass—and pretty in pink all the same!

What is the best way to find sea glass? ›

6 Tips for Sea Glass Hunting - YouTube

Is sea glass a litter? ›

Sea glass is essentially pretty litter, broken bottles and jars abandoned on the beach or heaved overboard years or decades or even centuries ago, then smoothed by the ocean's movements.

How do you identify pirate glass? ›

Black glass, or “pirate glass,” is glass that looks black, but when held up to the light, its true color is revealed. For the Outer Banks, the pirate glass is usually dark olive green, often with an air bubble stuck inside which indicates that it was made by hand and thus very old.

Is Blue Seaglass rare? ›

Even though cobalt blue glass has been made throughout the generations, the color is still rare, especially when compared with clear or brown glass. It is thought that only about one in 250 or so pieces of real sea glass is found in a cobalt blue color, and double that for cornflower blue sea glass.

Is Glass Beach Dog Friendly? ›

over a year ago. No, I wouldn't bring a dog to Glass Beach. And I have two dogs we take to lots of beaches up and down the east coast. But this one has a very steep access, and you have to walk over fencing in you choose to visit the beaches to the left.

Is sea glass considered a crystal? ›

Is My Sea Glass Actually Crystal??? How To Tell The ... - YouTube

Can you take glass from Glass Beach Kauai? ›

The glass found at Glass Beach was mainly from broken bottles and auto glass dumped by Swiss Cheese Shoreline on the western end of Kauai. Glass Beach is best for beach combing only. Please don't take any of the glass, leave it for others like you to enjoy for many years.

Can you swim at Glass Beach? ›

4) Can you go swimming at Glass Beach? No, but there's areas nearby where you can.

What is the difference between glass and sea glass? ›

Sea glass is traditionally defined as glass that has been weathered and eroded by the salt water of the ocean. Truthfully, traditional sea glass is just that -- glass that has been smoothed down by the seas. True sea glass will have a frosted surface, as well as rounded edges, and can take up to 50 years to develop.

Can I take sea glass on a plane? ›

You can bring glass on a plane in your carry on so long as it's not sharp or very heavy. You can't bring a glass knife for example or anything that could be dangerous. And you can't bring any extremely heavy glass objects that could cause a concussion if you start whacking people on the head with it.

How long does it take to turn glass into sea glass? ›

It can take 7-10 years in a constant surf environment for sea glass to "become" sea glass. A quality piece of sea glass has no shiny spots, is well frosted (see Frost In Sea Glass Glossary) and has smooth tactile edges.

Is purple sea glass rare? ›

True purple glass is much rarer. In our English Sea Glass collection, it averages one in 5000 pieces as true lavender glass was reserved for the Monarchy (showing Royalty) and for the Bishops in the church. Light Blue or Cornflower Blue (Pre 1900 Phillips MOM bottles, Bromo Seltzer, Vick's Vapor Rub, etc.)

Is Glass Beach Dog Friendly? ›

Dogs that are on leash are allowed on the trails and beaches at Glass Beach.

Can u camp at Glass Beach? ›

over a year ago. No Camping at Glass Beach. MacKerricher State Park is north on Highway 1 a few miles for great camping.

Is Seaglass worth money? ›

Make no mistake, sea glass is a commodity. It has real value, with some individual pieces selling for up to $1,000 and more. Many factors must be present to sell sea glass for top dollar.

How can you tell real sea glass? ›

A genuine piece of sea glass will have little irregularities on the surface, look for small 'c' shapes indented into it from where it's been tossed and tumbled by the tide against the rocks and pebbles on the beach.

How do you make sea glass shiny? ›

For dull or gritty looking glass, use a very tiny amount of coconut oil on the surface with your fingertips & rub onto your glass (just a dab of oil with the tip of a cotton swab should do). Your sea glass will instantly glisten & glow again.

Is sea glass hard to find? ›

It takes about 30 years for the ocean to break down glass into sea treasure, and not all beaches are capable of creating it, which is why a good sea glass beach is hard to find.

Where can I find sea glass marbles? ›

Beaches near where trash dumps were located are ideal for finding marbles. Marbles don't like to wash up on sand, they prefer rolling around in rocky areas. They don't roll uphill obviously, so they will often be found just below the tide line and therefore can more often be found in a negative low tide.

Where can you find sand dollars at the beach? ›

To find a sand dollar's skeleton, walk along the beach at low tide, paying close attention to the area just below the high-tide line. Look for round patches or depressions in the sand; these may turn out to be sand dollars on closer inspection.

Videos

1. Late Winter 2019 Sea Glass Hunt- Glass Beach, Port Townsend, Washington State
(Tim Blair)
2. Best Seaglass Hunt Ever!
(Santa Cruz Sea Glass)
3. American Dream ep 20—Return to the Glass Beach
(American Dream)
4. How to Find the Best Sea Glass Beach - 4 Simple Tips
(Recycled Sea Treasures)
5. Sea Glass, Beach Glass Hunting on Lake Erie, Kingsville, Ontario, CA
(Marilyn’s Art & Adventures)
6. Glass Covers This Beach and People Like It That Way
(Mobile Instinct)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Last Updated: 12/19/2022

Views: 5858

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Francesca Jacobs Ret

Birthday: 1996-12-09

Address: Apt. 141 1406 Mitch Summit, New Teganshire, UT 82655-0699

Phone: +2296092334654

Job: Technology Architect

Hobby: Snowboarding, Scouting, Foreign language learning, Dowsing, Baton twirling, Sculpting, Cabaret

Introduction: My name is Francesca Jacobs Ret, I am a innocent, super, beautiful, charming, lucky, gentle, clever person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.