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Our Beach Rules

Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sand Dunes

The beaches of Northwest Florida do rule. People come from all over all year to vacation in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. But there are things that set us apart from other beaches. Aside from natural beauty, there are many things we can do ourselves that contribute to keeping this area beautiful. A new rule this year regarding tents on the beach have us wondering what exactly is allowed at the beach? The last thing you want to do on your vacation is spend money on fines. Now is a good time to go over some reminders of Walton County beach RULES.

As of April 1st of this year, tents over 6x6 ft. are no longer allowed on the beach. You might be thinking that you have seen tents or canopies bigger than this on the beach lately. We have too. Being a new rule, it might not be enforced every time but these tents are prohibited. Besides blocking the Gulf views of other beachgoers, they can be dangerous. Strong winds have pulled them out of the sand and down the beach which is a hazard to everyone. When they break, some have left them right on the beach instead of discarding them in proper trash bins. Large tents ARE allowed on any private beach properties, just not public beaches. 

Planning a bonfire on the beach? You’ve seen them. But how did they get permission? Fire permits are required and applications can be submitted to South Walton Fire District for approval. You must provide your own container and materials and be sure to clean up the area of trash and debris afterwards. One night permits are $50 and can be applied for here.  

Sleeping on the beach overnight is prohibited. If you’re interested in sleeping out under the stars, there are plenty of places for camping like Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. If you want to enjoy your beach vacation in luxury accommodations, 30A vacation rentals are available on and near the beach.  

The sand dunes along the beach are a beautiful sight and often make a perfect backdrop for your family photos. Keyword being “backdrop”. Too often we see professional photos being taken with kids or whole families too close or right on the dunes. While signs are posted to keep off the dunes, it still happens. Why does it matter? These protect the coastline from storm winds and waves that can do major damage. Sea oats cover the dunes to protect them from erosion and walking along the dunes can strip away the sea oats. So this picture perfect natural process needs to be preserved and it is actually illegal to walk on the dunes.  

Many have inquired about having dogs on the beach and the official rule is: you have to have a permit. A dog permit must be purchased ($40) and you have to show proof of Walton County residency or property ownership. Even with a permit, there are specific times you can bring your pup down. During spring and summer, dogs are allowed on a leash between 4pm and 8am. The fall and winter hours are 3pm-9am.  

There you have it! Hopefully, this answered questions you might have had for your upcoming vacation. Remember, keeping these rules help maintain our area as one of the top vacation destinations. We look forward to seeing you at the beach!