TALLAHASSEE, FL — With Memorial Day weekend upon us, most — but not all — Florida beaches are once again open to the public while others offer limited beach access with no sitting in chairs, sunbathing or being among large groups of friends.
Most of the state's 35 coastal counties have given the OK for beach access as long as social distancing requirements are followed.
Florida International University's Stephen P. Leatherman, who is better known as Dr. Beach, earlier this week released his 30th annual top 10 beach list.
This year's top pick was Grayton Beach State Park for its "super-white, fine sand and clean, clear turquoise water."
Leatherman described the water as shallow, warm and good for swimming in the Florida Panhandle.
"Waves are generally measured in inches so the water is safe unless an onshore wind has kicked up the surf in which case it is best to stay out of the water and explore the rest of this nearly 2,000-acre nature park," Leatherman penned. "The mile of sugar sand is also great for surf fishing and beachcombing."
Patch has put together the following county-by-county guide of where the surf's up and where it's not based on information compiled by Visit Florida as well as from information provided directly by the state's 35 coastal counties, most of which have public beaches.
Here is the most recent beach data as of May 23:
|County ||Beaches Open Without Restrictions||Beaches Open With Restrictions||Beaches Closed |
|1. Bay County||Panama Beach and unincorporated Bay County beaches open all day.|
|2. Brevard County||Yes. Beaches are open with CDC |
social distancing restrictions of
at least 6 feet between people
and no groups larger than 10 people.
|3. Broward County||Beaches are closed but County Mayor Dale Holness promised to coordinate the reopening with Miami-Dade County, which has discussed reopening on June 1.|
|4. Charlotte County||Charlotte County beaches, including |
Englewood Beach and Port Charlotte Beach, are open with CDCsocial distancing restrictions ofat least 6 feet between people and no groups larger than 10 people.
|5. Citrus County||Beaches are open.|
|6. Collier County||City of Naples, Collier County beaches, Marco Island beaches are open with restrictions. Marco parking lots are limited to vehicles that have a Collier County beach parking pass. |
|7. Dixie County||While there are no public beaches |
in this coastal county, Dixie's
parks on the Gulf of Mexico are closed.
Some boat ramps are open.
|8. Duval County||The beaches are open with |
restrictions from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.;
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. No sunbathing,
towels, blankets, chairs, coolers, grills.
Permitted activities include walking, biking,
hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking
care of pets and surfing in
accordance with social distancing guidelines.
|9. Escambia County||C in Pensacola are open regular hours including the sound side, Gulf side and Pensacola Beach. Perdido Key beaches open 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes after sunset, daily. |
|10. Flagler County||Beaches are open.|
|11. Franklin County||Beaches are open from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. each morning and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening. They are closed at all other times. |
|12. Gulf County||Gulf County beaches are open with CDC social distancing restrictions of at least 6 feet between people and no groups larger than 10 people. |
|13. Hernando||All county park and beach locations are open, including Alfred McKethan/Pine Island Park and Rogers Park beach area. Visitors are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing. No organized sports, events or large gatherings permitted. |
|14. Hillsborough County||All beaches are open. All dog beaches are open|
|15. Indian River County||Beach access points at Indian River County public guarded beaches are open to the public during normal hours for essential activities as are Vero Beach and Indian River Shores.|
|16. Jefferson County||There are no beaches in this |
|17. Lee County||County-operated beach sites are open but visitors are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines for social distancing. Check with Sanibel Island, Fort Myers and Florida parks for additional beach information. Beaches controlled by Fort Myers Beach (from Crescent Beach Parksouth to Big Carlos Pass Bridge) are open from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. for exercise only by residents. ||City of Sanibel paid beach parking lots re-open on June 1. Beach parking Beach access parking controlled by Fort Myers remain closed.|
|18. Levy County||Beaches are open.|
|19. Manatee County||Public beaches are open with with social distancing restrictions from sunrise until 10 p.m. The county's Bayfront Park inside the city of Anna Maria, is also open.|
|20. Martin County||All Martin County-owned and operated public beach access points (including Hobe Sound Beach) are open. Beachgoers are encouraged to follow social distancing and CDC guidelines. Patrons are required to park in marked areas restrictions.||Bathtub Beach remains closed due to erosion issues. |
|21. Miami-Dade||Beaches are closed, but officials have discussed reopening them on June 1.|
|22. Monroe County||While the Florida Keys remain closed to visitors |
with enforcement at physical checkpoints, Key West beaches are open. Key West requires beach visitors to remain at least 6 feet apart except immediate family members who live in the same home. Groups larger than 10 people are not permitted.
|Monroe County officials are planning to reopen the Florida Keys to visitors on June 1.|
|23. Nassau County||City of Fernandina Beach (roughly south of Fort Clinch until Peters Point) and Nassau County beaches (roughly south of Peters Point) are open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nassau County residents' vehicles may access designated areas (Peters Point and Lewis Street) from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.No commercial or group sports activities are permitted. No alcohol. No camping between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.All beachgoers are encouraged to comply with CDC social distancing measures.|
|24. Okaloosa County||Okaloosa County and Destin beaches and parks are open. Safe social distancing is recommended and groups should be limited to 10 people or fewer. This includes public and private beaches, beach accessways, trails, parking areas solely for accessing public and private beaches, beachfront city parks, and all Okaloosa County parks. Eglin Air Force off-base beaches are open with the exception of East Pass access point. Princess Beach, Matterhorn and White Point are open for normal operations from dawn to dusk.Eglin Beach Park will open at 10 a.m. Parking is $5 at the gate with credit card payments only. The beach park is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.Beach park pavilion reservations will not be accepted at this time. Rental equipment will also not be available at this time.Henderson Beach State Park’s beach access and parking are open. The park’s day use areas and camping site remain closed. The Okaloosa area of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is open.||Beach access 7 on Okaloosa Island is closed due to construction.|
|25. Palm Beach County||All public, municipal, and private beaches including all beach parks shall be open sunrise to sunset subject to CDC guidelines by limiting gatherings to no more than 10 persons and distancing themselves from other parties by 6 feet. Beach concessions may operate following CDC guidelines.|
|26. Pasco County||Most beaches open, with restrictions.|
|27. Pinellas County||Beaches are open.|
|28. Santa Rosa County||Beaches are open and following regular hours. Parking is available between sunrise and sundown at all public lots and spaces. Visitors may also walk and bike the multi-use path of the island of Navarre Beach. Parking lot opening and closing times differ. Check individual parking lot restrictions for opening and closing times.|
|29. Sarasota County||Sarasota County beaches |
are open with social distancing requirements in effect. Groups are limited to 10 or fewer people.
|Concessions, playgrounds, amenities and picnic shelters remain closed at certain locations. |
|30. St. Johns County||Beaches and the St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier are open from dawn to dusk for all uses and activities. Visitors must adhere to CDC social distancing guidelines of 6-foot spacing between parties. Gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people. Driving on beaches is prohibited. All swimming is done at your own risk.|
|31. St. Lucie County||St. Lucie County has lifted restrictions for its 21 miles of public beaches including allowing coolers, sunbathing and chairs. However, beachgoers are advised to continue practicing social distancing, limiting groups to less than 10 people and maintaining a 6-foot distance between others outside their immediate family.|
|32. Taylor County||Beaches are open.|
|33. Volusia County||Beaches are open with social distancing requirements in effect. Visitors should have a maximum of six people per group, with at least 10 feet between groups. Current annual pass-holders who purchased their pass prior to March 20 will have 57 days added to their pass to compensate for the days that the beach ramps were closed to vehicles due to the coronavirus outbreak. |
|34. Wakulla County||Shell Point and Mashes |
Sands Beaches are open. Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge is open but the lighthouse and gift shop are closed. There is no entry fee for the time being. The refuge will continue to sell annual passes. The binocular lending program has been suspended.
|35. Walton County||Walton County beaches are open with social distancing requirements in effect. Maintain 6 feet or greater separation when interacting with anyone outside your group, including lifeguards.|