California is truly a remarkable state with much to see and do. It is a state of contrasts with everything from the magnificent Redwoods to the sun-backed Death Valley (see here for why Death Valley is actually worth visiting if you can handle the heat). There are seemingly endless gems to discover and tour in California. Fort Bragg is nestled on the northern coast of California and is one of the state's best-kept secrets.
Fort Bragg is not to be confused with America's largest military base in North Carolina. It is a stunning coastal town in one of California's most secluded and stunning settings. It is certainly worth staying for a day or two as one explores one of America's most stunning regions.
Glass Beach, Fort Bragg
One of Fort Bragg's oddest attractions is Glass Beach. This is located right on the town's waterfront. It is a beautiful beach filled with sea glass and is just perfect for beachcombing. It is part of the MacKerricher State Park.
- Access: Via The Coastal Trail, Parking At The Glass Beach Trailhead Parking
This is one of the few places in the world where garbage is the main attraction - and one of the very few places where the garbage is actually protected! The sea glass that lines the beach has been formed from years of people dumping their garbage into the sea in the northern part of the town.
- Prohibited: It Is Illegal To Collect Glass That The Glass Beach (Glass Has Diminished As Many Folks Have Continued To Collect The Glass)
- Note: Most Of The Sea Glass is Now Found On Two Other Glass Beaches Outside of The State Park
If one is driving up the coast to the stunning Pacific Northwest, stop by and see the glass beach before the last of the glass disappears. It is disappearing from both people collecting it, and the natural wearing of the waves grinding down the glass). There have been discussions about replenishing the glass, but these suggestions seem to have been dismissed.
Ride-On The "Skunk Train"
With its less than flattering name, this train has had the reputation of having a particularly strong odor for nearly a hundred years. The nickname "Skunk" originated in 1925 when the motorcars (otherwise known as railbuses or railcruisers) were introduced.
They were self-propelled motorcars with gasoline-powered engines for locomotive power and a pot-belly stove that burned crude oil to keep the passengers warm. The fumes they produced were notoriously pungent with old-timers remarking "You could smell them before you could see them".
- Reservations: Reservations Are Encouraged As They Can Sell Out
Today one can enjoy stunning heritage tours on these old railroad cars. Now they run on diesel and no one needs to worry about feeling nauseous with the stench while on a scenic trip! Riding on these heritage trains is a ride back in time going through the redwoods (little has changed in a hundred years). Sit back and enjoy the journey through old-growth redwoods, over scenic trestle bridges, through tunnels, and right through the Noyo River canyon.
One tour on offer is the Puddling Creek Express. Departing from Fort Bragg, this is a scenic 7 mile round trip through the Pudding Creek Estuary on the first track laid down by the California Western Railroad. For those wanting to go on an epic scenic railroad trip, consider going on the Rocky Mountaineer - one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world.
- Duration: One Hour Round Trip
- Option: Jump Off At Glen Blair Junction, Wonder The Redwoods, And Catch The Next Train (around 2 Hours Later)
- Adult: $41.95
- Child: (Ages 2 to 12) - $25.95
- Infant: (Ages 2 and under) - $10.95
- Dogs: $10.95
Another option of discovering this stunning part of California is with a railbike. These run along the Redwood Route in unique two-person electric-assist railbikes. Enjoy the serenity of nature on this 25-mile tour (roundtrip) along the Noyo River and cutting deep into the famed redwood groves.
- Note: This Is A Strenuous And Lengthy Trip, One Need To Have Good Mobility And Be Able To Ascend 15 Stories To Get To Railbikes
- Restrictions: One Must Be At Least 6 Years Old And Weigh No More Than 250 Pounds
- Clothing: Close-Toed Shoes Are Required
- Price: $495.00
For more information on Skunk train tours and railbike tours, schedules and bookings, see their website.
These are just a couple of Fort Bragg's most famous attractions. There are plenty more things to see and do in this stunning coastal town. Enjoy bicycling, camping, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, beachcombing, fresh seafood, and much more. To plan one's trip here, check out the town's tourism website.