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 September 4, 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, biking and fishing. Still prohibited are beach volleyball, gatherings of any size between multiple households, group sports and other events. Bonfires on the beach are illegal.

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.

You can do normal beach things! You’re free to play in the sand, swim, take up shore fishing, bike the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, surf, sunbathe, set up a canopy, relax in a beach chair, bring a cooler and have a picnic, visit most piers, and more. What you’re not allowed to do: host a big party, play beach volleyball or other group sports, or have a bonfire.

Household groups of up to 10 people are permitted to gather; however, gatherings of any size between members of different 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.

Don’t forget, you’re required to wear a face covering at all times, unless you are in the water, or eating or drinking. And, remember to keep at least 6 feet of physical distance when you’re around people who aren’t in your household.

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.

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.

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

Check beach parking lot status:

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.

If you plan to park on the street, 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 rules for street parking. If you find street parking, remember to follow any posted parking restrictions.

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 a few restrooms being taken offline because of staffing and service constraints. Nevertheless, there are open restrooms or portable toilets available at nearly every beach managed by the Department of Beaches and Harbors. Please note that open restrooms may be temporarily unavailable while crews are cleaning them.

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!

Everyone over the age of 2 must wear a face covering. The only exceptions are while you are in the water, or while you’re eating or drinking. Please note that some cities may have stricter requirements on face coverings.

Like everyone else, surfers don’t have to wear face coverings when they’re in the ocean. They do have to wear them on the sand.

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.

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.

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 necessary.

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

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 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, 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.

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, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority or California State Parks. Questions about those accessways should be addressed to their respective entity.

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.

The first weekend of the Health Officer’s 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 Health Officer’s 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.

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.

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