1. Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, CA
Matthew High, flickr
Sometimes pollution can have a stunning effect on the environment. Need proof? Pay a visit to Glass Beach, a stretch of coast littered with smooth sea glass that’s located in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, CA. Turns out years of dumping trash, including oodles of glass bottles and containers, over a set of cliffs in the north of town, had an unexpected payoff. After town officials closed the dumping grounds in 1967, and clean-up efforts ensued, the ocean waves got to work, smoothing the remnants into the rounded, colored glass treasures they are today. Now, the stretch of beach looks like a glittering jewel box filled with green, blue, red and clear trinkets. Tourists — most of them sea glass collectors — can visit the beach, and while they are technically not allowed to take any of the glass with them, a number do grab some polished souvenirs.