Just north of Mendocino on the Northern California coast is Glass Beach, one of the most unique beaches in the world.

But it’s uniqueness is not from nature but from man. That’s because this beach was once the Fort Bragg City Dump.

Everything from spark plugs and engine blocks to china and glass was dumped here from 1949 until 1967 when it was finally decided that perhaps dumping garbage at the water’s edge wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Three decades on, nature has reclaimed the beach. The constantly pounding surf has transformed trash into treasure, resulting in the beach displaying shiny layers of polished broken glass in a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.

Yes, there still is the occasional rusty spark plug but mostly it’s the glass sparkling in the sun that catches everyone’s eye.

Now part of MacKerricher State Park, Glass Beach makes for an interesting living science lesson with not only it’s trashy beginnings but also because of it’s ever changing tide pools that are home to crabs, mollusks, and aquatic plants.

(photo by Shiny Things)

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.