Hiking · Local Adventures

Local Adventures: Sea Glass Beach

I had heard of Sea Glass Beach for years, but hadn’t gotten out to it. One huge reason is it needs a car to get there, and for me, I must ride the ferry from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend, across the Salish Sea.

In theory, I had visited the start of the hike before (see North Beach trip report). We took the ferry as walk ons, walked from the dock to the local co-op grocery store, then caught the free transit bus to Fort Worden. We then walked all the way to North Beach County Park through Fort Worden State Park. That in itself was nearly a full day. The thought of then hiking 6+ miles roundtrip on top of all those logistics….I kept putting it off.

My friend Michelle was going and invited me along. Since she had a car reservation, well…..duh. Of course I was in.

Oh? Why is it called Sea Glass Beach? It was long ago Port Townsend’s dump. Yes. They backed it up, and right over the old bluff. So it could go away. Well…it didn’t. And now you have sea glass due to that. Not an exciting answer, and slightly funny that what is treasured now, was once someone’s garbage.

Waking up very early, we knew it would be hot. Possibly the hottest day of the year for us. But ferry reservations are hard to get, with the route being on a single ferry run since 2020. The weather at 7 am was clear and still. No wind at all and already in the mid 60’s.

The baby seagull that had been in the nest 3 weeks ago is now a lil’ puff ball of grey feathers. It’s in the upper center of the piling.

We got to North Beach County Park just after 8 am and got to hiking the beach quickly. The parking lot was already partially filled – but some were people parking there to dog walk in the state park next door, but for free.

North Beach, with Fort Worden in the distance.

The tide was pulling out as we started. In summer it isn’t as huge of an issue, but in the other seasons you must watch the tide charts carefully. This is 3 miles one way, and you must round multiple headlands that stick out. The final one is currently all rock, and even at a negative tide, was still pretty thin. You don’t want to get cliffed out here!

The views include Whidbey Island across the Salish. We could see Mt. Baker rising up, but it was obscured due to wild fire smoke for photos. In the photo below it’s in the left to the center, rising above Fort Worden State Park.

A sandy section with minor tide pools, looking across at Ebey’s Landing and Fort Ebey State Park on Whidbey Island.

This sandy section lures you in. It’s going to be easy! Hah.

Once you leave the parking lot, you quickly round the first projection, and wander under many homes, precariously on the edge of the bluffs, getting closer every storm.

After passing that we were on another section and noted a large Bald Eagle on the bluff.

A Bald Eagle hanging out on the bluff, far above me.

A closeup. Even when they are killers of chickens, I cannot hate them. We are blessed with having healthy populations of them in the PNW. When I was a child we rarely saw them in the wild, and they are so common now it often doesn’t register that we should be excited.

About halfway down, you can see McCurdy Point, the final headland to round. So far away.

Getting closer, but not knowing how bad the next section would get.

These bluffs looked like a fortress far above.

Massive boulders dotted the beach at low tide.

We counted I think 20 tires or parts of vehicles.

The last section of beach was a painfully slow crossing of nothing but rocks. Covered in slimy seaweed and kelp. The sand fleas were so prominent it sounded like popcorn popping constantly here. Yuck. I really slowed down so I wouldn’t pop an ankle if I slid!

More car parts.

I am sure that is totally safe to climb up!

Having made the curve at the end, looking back.

The first view as you round the point to the Sea Glass Beach. The Olympic Mountains and Protection Island are just gorgeous here.

In low tide here there are so many tide pools. The beach is wide here, and easy hard packed sand.

I’d actually say I would come back for the tidepools. It’s so hard to find good ones!

Being so early we got shade on the beach. It was appreciated.

Not long for this tree.

Sea glass.

Green sea glass.

One last look back before we turned around. I walked part way down the beach and would have kept going had it not been SO hot. The shade was disappearing quickly.

And head down, I got to recross the all rock beach. I was so glad to be off that section!

It was a fun day, even with the heat involved. We finally got some wind in the last section.

So did I find sea glass?

I sure did. And I barely looked! Once I stopped walking and just looked it would pop out. I was not even trying. No digging through rock piles. I found a large agate and pottery as well.


Take off sunglasses once out on the beach. I couldn’t see the glass with mine on.

Carry a container for your glass finds. I kept sticking it in my pocket, then dumping it out later into a bag. Now my pocket is full of sand. Oops.

The other is, some people carry small hand rakes (like for gardening) to sift through the piles of rocks on the beach. They sit down in the gravel and gently go through it.

Bring a lot of water. Especially in summer. I drank 3 containers and still chugged water after our hike, and a milkshake!

But most of all? Know your tides! You don’t want to get stuck out there.


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