Can I leave items on the Beaches of South Walton and 30A overnight?
No, but by removing all personal articles from the beach each night you can help keep the beautiful Beaches of South Walton pristine. The details of the “REMOVE IT OR LOSE IT!” program are listed below. You can also view a flyer on the program.
Why can’t beachgoers leave items on the beach?
Due to environmental and public safety concerns, it is unlawful to leave any items overnight on the beach. County Ordinance 2003-07g states that it is unlawful for beach chairs, umbrellas, tents and other such personal articles to be on the beach in such a manner that they interfere with beach maintenance, nesting turtles or emergency vehicles.
What will the county do with items that are left on the beach overnight?
Items left on the beach will be tagged and owners will have 24 hours to remove abandoned items. After 24 hours, any belongings, e.g. beach chairs, umbrellas, tents, etc., will be discarded.
Does the ordinance apply to private beaches?
Yes, if personal items are left in the middle of the beach they will be removed. The ordinance as written applies to all areas falling within the definition of “beach,” regardless of whether such areas are located on public or private property. Articles that are stored adjacent to or underneath personal walkovers will not be removed unless there is TDC maintained trash receptacle at that location. If private properties have public trash receptacles then personal items may be left at the toe of the dune at least 10 feet away from the trash receptacle. Any item left within 10 feet of a public trash receptacle will be removed.
Will items left at public walkovers be removed?
Any personal items left near county walkovers or adjacent to any of the 400 trash receptacles maintained by the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council (TDC) will be removed without being tagged.
Are items belonging to beach vendors with permits exempt from the ordinance?
No. Vendors will also be required to remove beach chairs and umbrellas from the beach each night. Items placed in approved beach storage boxes near the toe of the dunes are permitted.
Are beach chairs and tents really a problem?
Yes. Items left on the beach overnight during sea turtle nesting season have resulted in significant numbers of abandoned nesting attempts. These items can also be fatal for tiny hatchlings that cannot overcome the obstacles. In addition, personal belongings left on the beach hinder beach maintenance crews from adequately cleaning the beach and interfere with emergency vehicle access. They are also a hazard for beachgoers walking the beach after dark.
If I leave my chair to go for a walk or swim in the gulf, will items be tagged?
No. Only items left on the beach overnight will be tagged.
What constitutes overnight?
“Sunset to sunrise” daily.
What agencies are coordinating this effort?
The Walton County Sheriffs Department, Walton County Code Enforcement, Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council, and the Walton County beach activities coordinator will all aid in the implementation of this initiative.