Special Sea Glass Beach Report

McCURDY POINT GLASS BEACH Washington, USA

Also known as Washington State's Glass Beach, McGurdy Point, west of North Beach, Port Townsend, Washington, is one of the prime sea glass spots on the West Coast of the United States.





Port Townsend itself is a tourist travel and destination attraction and offers music, food, and lodging to your heart's content.

Here's a map indicating North Beach in Port Townsend where you will park your vehicle before starting your sea glass treasure hunt.

Right click on the words "See Larger Map" above and choose "Open in New Window" to keep the map open in another window while reading this page. We will be referring to it later.


Saturday, April 18th, dawned bright and clear, a nice day for NW Washington.

Having packed a few things to camp overnight in our van, Lin and I left home in the hilly woods of Bow, dropping down across the flats of Western Washington, headed for the beach near Port Townsend, a trip of about 2 hours.


Crossing over to Fidalgo Island about 15 minutes from home and down Whidbey Island on Highway 20, we then boarded the Keystone ferry to cross over to the Olympic Peninsula and Port Townsend.







About Port Townsend

Port Townsend, Washington, WaterfrontPort Townsend, Washington, Waterfront

Port Townsend is a town in Jefferson County, Washington, United States, approximately 40 miles north-northwest of Seattle.

In addition to its natural scenery at the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, the city is also known for the many Victorian buildings remaining from its late 19th-century heyday, numerous annual cultural events, and as a maritime center for independent boat builders and related industries and crafts.

The Port Townsend Historic District is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District.

Port Townsend from the FerryPort Townsend from the Ferry

Port Townsend was officially settled in 1851.

However, American Indian tribes, including the Chimacum, Hoh, Klallam, Quinault and Twana, had inhabited the region continuously for many years.

Port Townsend has been called the "City of Dreams" because of the early speculation that the city would be the largest harbor on the west coast of the United States.


By the late 1800s, Port Townsend was a well-known seaport, very active and banking on the future.

Many homes and buildings were built during that time, with most of the architecture ornate Victorian.

Railroads were built to reach more areas in the 1870-1890s and Port Townsend was to be the northwest extension of the rail lines.

Its port was large and frequented by overseas vessels, so shipping of goods and timber from the area was a major part of the economy.

Many of the buildings were built on the speculation that Port Townsend would become a booming shipping port and major city.

When the depression hit, those plans lost the capital to continue and rail lines ended on the east side of Puget Sound. 


Over the decades that followed, Port Townsend maintained its economic stability in a variety of ways, including the development of artillery fortifications at Fort Worden.

The Port Townsend Historic District was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977.

As part of the workshop, famous jazz musicians play all week in the Port Townsend clubs and bars, drawing many tourists to the area.

On the point and to the west side of the point at Port Townsend lies Fort Worden State Park.

Fort Worden was an active US Army base from 1902 to 1953.

North Beach Park lies on the very western edge of Fort Worden on the south side of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, the grand entrance from the Pacific Ocean to the Puget Sound area.




The Trek to McGurdy Point Glass Beach


Saturday, April 18 - Leaving the ferry dock in Port Townsend, we turned left and headed for Safeway to pick up some Starbucks coffee and sandwiches for lunch.

Then we drove to North Beach County Park.

We had been to this beach a couple of times before and found lots of sea glass, but this time we were determined to head for the point to the west where we had heard from several different people there was a lot more beach glass.

In fact, they called it "Glass Beach."


Following the Google map above takes you in front of the fairgrounds, where the right turn onto Kuhn Road is not too obvious, so keep your eyes out.

There is a small sign after you turn the corner.

A few blocks brings you to North Beach Park (with a larger sign), which is a popular place to walk dogs and launch kayaks and other small craft.


We arrived at the beach at about 10:15 a.m.

Upon turning left from the boat ramp, we immediately began picking up sea glass.

In fact, it was almost impossible to concentrate on reaching our goal – McCurdy Point Glass Beach – because our eyes were continually drawn to the amount of sea glass scattered about.



We soon realized that this was not a trek for the fainthearted.

The beach stretched out for approximately 4 miles or a total hike of nearly 8 miles.

It was definitely worth it, though, each step of the 4 miles revealing yet more sea glass.


Mixed Colors Sea Glass

We had been informed that it was crucial to get in and get out before the tide came in, as the beach narrowed in places where to the point that there was no beach between the water and the cliffs at high tide.

The bluffs seen farther on are shear and an estimated 100 feet high.

We had checked the tide tables and were there on one of the lowest tides of the year, though, and so had no trouble.

The sea glass was quite plentiful for the whole 4 miles.

In fact, if you weren't up to walking much, a very rewarding day could be spent within a half mile of the boat ramp.


Round Red Sea Glass

There were so many small pieces of cobalt blue that we stopped picking them up. There was quite a variety of other blues.

There were a few reds that got us stoked, though, that's for sure!



With gorgeous color photographs and step-by-step instructions, this book teaches the essential skills, like drilling glass, wire wrapping, and texturing metal, to turn your beach-found bounty into attractive accessories, including:






Sea Glass Report - McGurdy Point!

At last, we approached McCurdy Point. We settled back to try to ease our backs and eat some lunch. Then we walked over fallen trees and driftwood and arrived at the actual point.

Off the tip of the point is a buoy to warn boaters of shallow water.

The photo below is of McCurdy Point, the site of the old Port Townsend dump (dumped from the top of the cliff).

This is the "official" starting point of Sea Glass Beach. As you round the point, the beach faces west and opens to a long, long mostly-sandy beach.


Typical of the topography of many sea glass beaches, the shore is backed by high bluffs of approximately 100 feet.

Several disintegrating auto chassis could be seen at the point.

The rest of the trash, however, had long since deteriorated and all that is left, of course, is the glass.


Typical of the topography of many sea glass beaches, the shore is backed by high bluffs of approximately 100 feet.

Several disintegrating auto chassis could be seen at the point.

The rest of the trash, however, had long since deteriorated and all that is left, of course, is the glass.

From what we could gather, though, with the predominant wave action coming from the west in conjunction with the tide changes and prevailing winds, the old dump glass had made its way down the beach over the years.

Also, the high bluffs extending back toward Port Townsend had been inhabited for over a century, and were perfect for dumping garbage (too high to see the beach from above and absolutely no access to the beach from the top for miles).

The old dump contained a lot of sea glass of various shapes sizes and colors.

Now, the glass is not concentrated in a small area.

Due the passage of time and the elements, the sea glass is spread fairly evenly along both sides of the point.

The stretch beyond the point, Glass Beach itself, does seem to offer slightly more and bigger sea glass, but... not always.

As with most beaches, some days there is more sea glass than others, the tide carrying the sand, pebbles, and glass in and out with no logical pattern that we can figure out!

There is definitely ALWAYS plenty of glass here, though.

Many marbles, some bottle stoppers, a lot of pottery shards have been found on this stretch.

Coastal Crafts

Coastal Crafts

by Cynthia Shaffer

When life’s a beach . . . get crafty! Coastal Crafts carries you straight to the shore, with projects that incorporate seashells, ropes, sea glass, and a range of nautical materials and motifs. Learn how to weather surfaces, make driftwood, and cast sand. With everything from wood frames and hanging jars to decorative sailboats and a knotted necklace with shells and pearls, these beautiful items celebrate summer all year long. Read more...

The Return Trip from McGurdy Point Glass Beach - Ouch!

On this first trip, knowing we faced a 3-1/2 mile trip back (7 miles total) we felt too burnt out to explore the west side of the point.

(Since the time of this article, we have been to glass beach on many occasions)


In spite of aching backs (we figure about 1,000 pieces of sea glass is a lot of bending over), the walk back was very enjoyable, as we took time along the way to browse spots we had skimmed over on the hike in.

When we finally got back the parking area around 7 p.m., our bodies were telling us that they couldn't go another step.

Our muscles were crying out from not only the 8 miles but the constant stooping and bending.

Needless to say, bedtime at our campsite in Old Fort Townsend campground came early.

We slept soundly, well satisfied with what was a really beautiful day doing what we do best to relax...the sea glass hunt.

*Note: 1,000 pieces of glass included a lot of tiny colored pieces that we were picking up for a planned new project we are working on. Was it worth the bending over? That remains to be seen!

And... no getting waylaid by sea glass before we get ALL the way to McGurdy Point Glass Beach.

Yeah, right!

McCurdy Point Sea Glass Beach Photos

North Beach Green Sea GlassNorth Beach Green Sea Glass
Red_and_amber_sea_glass.jpgRed_and_amber_sea_glass.jpg
Detail of Colors from Glass BeachDetail of Colors from Glass Beach
Pottery ShardsPottery Shards
Glass Beach RedsGlass Beach Reds
Iridescent and Pink Sea GlassIridescent and Pink Sea Glass

Well, that's the end of your special report on Glass Beach, Port Townsend, Washington, also known as McGurdy Point Sea Glass Beach.

Later notes:
Since writing this article, Lin and I have been back many times to McGurdy Point and Sea Glass Beach.

Each time we have returned with an overabundance of sea glass, albeit mostly small.

It is definitely still one of the best beaches we know of in the USA for sea glass.

We hope you enjoyed this report and get your chance to visit this beautiful and rewarding beach.


More pages about North Beach - McGurdy Point - Glass Beach Port Townsend, Washington Sea Glass:

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Mother's Day Treasure

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Adie's Sea Glass Marbles

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
North Beach Sea Glass

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Big Red - Sea Glass

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Addie's Red Sea Glass

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
North Beach Port Townsend

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
First Time to North Beach
Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Glistening Grey Sea Glass from Glass Beach Washington

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
North Beach played out?

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Colorful Sea Glass Port Townsend

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Agate Rocks, Washington

Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
Catch!



Odyssey Funnel Links North Beach - McGurdy Point - Port Townsend - Washington Sea Glass
North & Glass Beaches, Washington




And beaches in the area:

puget sound beaches for sea glass

Afoot & Afloat North Puget Sound

This book is a must-have for sea glass lovers hunting for treasures in the beautiful Puget Sound area.

Lin and I own a copy and it has details of how to get to just about every accessible beach, cove, boat ramp, etc. Even better, it goes into the history of the particular beaches.

For example, the closest beach to our temporary quarters here in Sequim, WA, is a beach called Port Williams.


We wondered why in the world it is called a "port." All there is now is a boat ramp and a tiny county park surrounded by woods and fields.

In detail, this book tells us that it once was the stop along a steamer route and had a post office, dance hall, restaurant, and residences.

Now there isn't even a portapottie that we could find. But you can imagine the possibilities of old glass on the beaches described in this book - and other books of this series.

*Although it doesn't include a map to North Beach itself, it does talk about it and gives some historical color (Indians) to this beach.



Have you enjoyed reading this article? Here are comments from other OdysseySeaGlass fan-addicts about this report:

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"I live on the East Coast in Virginia - I've never seen this much sea glass in my life. 

"I find quite a bit in the winter and spring along our beaches, but your finds at McCurdy Point are incredible.

"Wish I could hop on a flight right now and come out to Washington to spend time at McCurdy Point...Fabulous finds"

~ Anonymous

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"Thank you for your story, it was so detailed.

"I loved reading about the local history too. What a collection! Amazing colours and shapes.

"When I come over would someone please let me join in their trip to this paradise! Thank you. I can't wait."    

~ Hula Rose - Australia

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"Wow!! I am so envious and got excited just looking at those lovely pictures. Unfortunately, I am on the other side of the USA!! Have fun!!"

 ~ Anonymous

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WOW  WOW  WOW

"I live along the shores of Lake Erie in NW Ohio.  These pictures are thrilling! 

"My husband and I are planning to hunt sea/beach glass this next year along the Mendocino Coast in CA.  Makes me wonder if we should change our plans! 

"Thanks so-o-o much for sharing."

~ Debbie - Oak Harbor, OH USA

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"Hello from Poulsbo, Wa!

I have recently "picked up" collecting sea glass again recently since my childhood and am SO EXCITED to be heading to Glass Beach this weekend!

I am only an hour's drive and am already feeling blessed to live so close to it. Thanks for sharing!!"

~ Jenny Perkins - Poulsbo, WA

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"Boy that is amazing.  Too far from New England, I wish we had something here like that."

~ Anonymous

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Browse Our List of Recommended Sea Glass and Beach Books

Note: Sea glass usually refers to naturally tumbled glass that's found on saltwater shores, while beachglass or beach glass can refer to the tumbled glass found on any body of water with enough wave action, such as large lakes.

Lake glass is a term not used very often but is accurate if used for beach glass found on the large lakes such as the Great Lakes of North America.    



Where to find sea glass


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