1. Beach access

Is it legal for homeowners to block access to the beach?

No. If you see a blocked path to the beach or signs saying things such as “private property” or “no trespassing,” these obstacles are illegal. The beach, up at least until the high tide, is public, and the public has the right to full access to it.1CA Const. Art X, Sec 4. See also Carstens v. California Coastal Comm. (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 277

For info on asserting your right to access, see our post here.


2. Beach activities

Are there any restrictions on activities at the beach?

Yes, sorry to be a bummer but there are several. But better to know than to get fined, right? Here are some of the most important rules.

All of the following is prohibited at L.A. County beaches (from Malibu through Long Beach).2all following citations are from LA County Municipal Code, Chapter 17.12 (See more prohibited activities here)

  • Throwing frisbees or balls in the summer without permission from a lifeguard.3This means you may throw frisbees or balls only in the “off season” or with a permit or permission from a lifeguard. Any ball-throwing that endangers nearby crowds could lead to a fine of $100. Sec. 17.12.430
  • Nudity.4Sec. 17.12.360Sorry, kids.
  • Digging a hole in the sand deeper than 18 inches.5Sec. 17.12.205 Trying to get to China?
  • Overnight camping,6Sec. 17.12.250 or even being at the beach at all from midnight to 6am7Sec. 17.12.350
  • Drinking alcohol8Sec. 17.12.320 or smoking9Sec. 17.12.365
  • Fires, except for pits installed by the Dept of Beaches and Harbors10Sec. 17.12.370
  • Cats and dogs,11Sec. 17.12.290 horses, mules, or “similar animals,”12Sec. 17.12.300
  • Fireworks, except with written approval from the Director of the Dept of Beaches and Harbors and the Fire Chief13Sec. 17.12.400
  • Selling or giving away any goods or merchandise, except with permission from the Board of Supervisors or the Director of the Dept of Beaches and Harbors14Sec. 17.12.340
  • Swimming or surfing in hazardous conditions,15Sec. 17.12.440 or past 200 yards from the shore16Sec. 17.12.450
  • Using any inflated equipment in the ocean, other than a “surfmat” (see Code for specifics)17Sec. 17.12.460
  • Boating within 300 yards of the shore, with some exceptions18see exceptions here: Sec. 17.12.470

See more about available activities, facilities, and yes, rules, HERE.

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