BEACHES

BEACH RULES

BEACH REOPENINGS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new beach restrictions. We encourage everyone to follow the rules so we can keep the beaches open!

This page was last updated July 10, 2020.

Yes! Beaches are open during their normal operating hours. As long as you stay with members of the same household, almost every activity is permitted, including sunbathing. Still prohibited are beach volleyball, gatherings of any size between multiple households, group sports and other events.

We do ask that you plan to limit your time at the beach so others can enjoy the beach without creating crowds. Please avoid crowded areas or crowding around others at the beach. Beaches that become too crowded may be forced to close.

We don’t know. While the Department of Beaches and Harbors and cities can often offer operational input into public health issues affecting the beaches, any restrictions or changes in status are, in most cases, ultimately up to the Department of Public Health.

Yes! Lifeguards are on the beach and in the towers. Please note that all towers may not be staffed at all times. Staffing decisions are up to the Los Angeles County lifeguards, who are part of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and can be affected by the season, day of the week and even the weather.

Remember, always surf or swim near an open lifeguard tower!

The Department of Beaches and Harbors does not have the authority to enforce the Health Officer’s order; it can only educate beachgoers on current rules and restrictions. We rely on our partners in local law enforcement to issue citations, if absolutely necessary.

Lifeguards’ primary duty is to ensure the safety of people in the water. They are not there to police the beach.

Yes! As of June 12, 2020, you can bring your coolers, beach chairs, canopies and other shade apparatus. Personal grills are not permitted on Los Angeles County beaches or in beach parking lots.

Yes! You’re free to play in the sand, go for a swim, sunbathe and more as long as the beach day includes only people within your household. Gatherings of any size between members of different households and beach volleyball are still prohibited under the Health Order.

We do ask that you plan to limit your time at the beach so others can enjoy the beach without creating crowds. Please avoid crowded areas or crowding around others at the beach. Beaches that become too crowded may be forced to close.

As part of the County’s actions to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Department removed all volleyball nets from the beaches it manages in March. While volleyball is considered active recreation, it is also a group sport. Both the Los Angeles County Health Officer’s Order and the State of California Health Order prohibit group sports at this time. Rest assured, when the restrictions are lifted, the Department of Beaches and Harbors will put the nets back.

Because beach volleyball as a sport is currently banned, using private nets or setting up your own court on a public beach are violations of the Health Officer’s Order.

No. While the newest health orders permit professional sports teams to practice without spectators, most professional sports teams have a relatively private area where they practice, such as a stadium. The beach volleyball courts, on the other hand, are on public beaches, and there is no mechanism in place to restrict public volleyball courts to only professional beach volleyball players.

Under the current Health Officer’s Order, gatherings of people from two or more households are not allowed. In practice, this means that you can go to the beach with anyone who lives in the same house as you, e.g. a roommate, spouse or child. You cannot go to the beach to hang out with anyone else, including your neighbor or friend visiting from abroad.

This rule applies to almost all of Los Angeles County—not just the beaches.

Yes! As of June 12, 2020, shore fishing is permitted on beaches managed by the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Bicycling is permitted on the beach bike path. On May 22, 2020, the Department of Public Health OK’d the reopening of beach bike paths that traverse the sand, including the Marvin Braude Bike Trail.

Not if you are running alone or with a member of your household and away from other people. But, it is recommended that you have a face covering around your neck or elsewhere on your person in case you find yourself near others (6 feet or less).

Face coverings are not required when you’re in the water; they are only required when you are on the sand and around others. If there are no other people around, you do not have to wear a face covering on the sand.

Face coverings are only required when you are not in the water and around other people. If you’re not in the water and the beach is empty, you do not have to wear a face covering. Please keep a face covering with you that you can put on in case you find yourself near others.

Beach restrooms are open, but due to COVID-19 precautions, the restrooms are required to be cleaned and sanitized much more frequently. This has resulted in some restrooms being taken offline because of staffing service constraints. Nevertheless, we have open restrooms or portable toilets available at every beach we manage. Please note that open restrooms may be temporarily unavailable while crews are cleaning them.

Also, please remember to maintain a minimum of 6 feet physical distance even in the restrooms.

Yes! As of June 12, 2020, piers are permitted to open. Check with your local municipality or pier operator for any restrictions.

Most beach camps, including surf camps, are permitted to open as long as they have the appropriate licenses and follow the reopening guidelines provided by the Department of Public Health. Other athletic camps, such as those for beach volleyball or beach soccer, may be operating in a different manner due to the current ban on group sports. For more information about a specific camp, please contact the camp operator.

Many beach parking lots are open. Almost all parking lots operated by the Department of Beaches and Harbors are open.

More resources:

If you are looking for information on a parking lot not included on the maps above, please contact the parking lot’s operator for assistance.

The Dockweiler State Beach Low Cost Parking Program, which allowed the first 300 visitors to pay a discounted parking rate, has been suspended. Unfortunately, due to the County’s current fiscal crisis, the Department of Beaches and Harbors can no longer afford to subsidize parking fees at Dockweiler State Beach, as revenue from the parking lots helps offset the costs of beach maintenance services.

We do not know when the program will return.

Please check with the local city or municipality that has jurisdiction over the specific beach you plan to visit, as each community may have different guidelines regarding their respective street parking. If you find street parking, remember to follow any posted parking restrictions.

No and no. The fire pits at Dockweiler State Beach were removed because gatherings of any size are prohibited under the beach reopening restrictions, and people tend to gather around the fire pits. We do not know when the fire pits will return to the beach. Personal fire pits or grills are never permitted on Los Angeles County beaches or in beach parking lots. Additionally, bonfires built directly on the sand are illegal and hazardous to other beachgoers.

All accessways maintained by the Department of Beaches and Harbors are open to the public. Please note that the Department of Beaches and Harbors does not maintain all beach accessways in Malibu. Some are maintained by the City of Malibu or the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. Questions about those accessways should be addressed to their respective operator.

Marina “Mother’s” Beach is open for recreation and leisure activities, including watercraft launches. The playground and picnic areas remain closed.

We don’t know. The length of the period will be determined by the County’s COVID-19 recovery status, as well as the behavior of beachgoers. Once this period is over, the recovery framework provides for at least one more periods before normal beach operations resume.

Large crowds and group gatherings are not permitted under the County’s Safer at Home order; however, we recognize that our beaches provide members of the public  an opportunity for active recreation that is still in compliance with the order. The restrictions in this period of beach reopenings—such as the closure of parking lots and prohibition on sunbathing—are in place to discourage too many people from going to the beach at once and staying for long periods of time. The beaches were closed due to crowds, but these restrictions allow people to still enjoy our beaches while minimizing the risk of COVID-19.

The first weekend of the Safer at Home order, tens of thousands of people flocked to L.A. County beaches. These crowds and group gatherings were in violation of the order. As a result, the Department of Public Health elected on March 27 to amend the order to close all the beaches in its jurisdiction. The beaches reopened with another amendment to the Safer at Home order on May 13.

The beaches were closed again over Fourth of July weekend (starting Friday, July 3, at 12:01 a.m.) due to concerns about excessive crowds. The beaches reopened that Monday at 5 a.m.

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