Summer 2020 can be a perfect year for a beach trip. After all, being outdoors in the sunlight and fresh air makes it a bit easier to avoid close contact with others, assuming they are not overcrowded. You may be wondering if the Florida beaches are open so you can add a diversion onto a trip to the Sunshine State.
Most Florida Beaches Are Open To Nonresidents
Many Florida beaches are open again to residents and visitors. However, each county and local municipality can decide whether or not to keep the shores open. Most beaches are open with minimal restrictions, aside from the current CDC social distancing guidelines for public beaches:
- Stay home if you feel sick
- Maximum of 10 persons per group
- Maintain a minimum 6-feet social distance from people not in your group
- Do not share child beach toys, sports equipment, etc. with strangers
- Multiperson sports may not be allowed (i.e., volleyball, soccer or football)
The official Visit Florida tourism website is one of the best places to check the status of your favorite beach. Let’s take a quick look at the current situation for some of Florida’s most popular beaches.
The beaches of quiet Amelia Island are open again. Tourists can visit public beaches in Nassau County and the City of Fernandina Beach. Commercial and group sports activities are not permissible at this time. Nassau County residents’ vehicles can access the designated areas at Peters Point and Lewis Street between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily.
Broward County And Miami-Dade
Broward County, home to many of southern Florida’s best beaches, is one of the hardest hit areas of the U.S. The Broward beaches (Pompano Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood) along with the Miami-Dade beaches were some of the last Florida beaches to reopen. The Miami-Dade beaches didn’t open until June 10, 2020.
These two adjacent locales are practicing a coordinated beach reopening plan as much as possible. Miami-Dade continues to have more restrictive safety measures. For example, all beachgoers must be able to furnish a facemask upon request to law enforcement and must wear a mask in restrooms and at concession stands.
Despite reopening on May 26, 2020, sunbathing isn’t allowed at some public beaches as of late June. Check with the local beach for the latest bathing and lounging rules. Also, some beaches do not allow dogs. Search for dog-friendly beaches if you’re traveling with pets.
Duval County (Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach And Atlantic Beach)
The Duval County beaches lifted all restrictions on May 6, 2020, for residents and tourists. Social distancing is necessary at all times. Dogs, while leashed, are only allowed on the beaches between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily.
The Florida Keys opened once again to nonresidents on June 1, 2020. Public beaches are open from dawn until dusk. However, amenities including barbecues, picnic pavilions and playgrounds, may remain off limits.
Another point of good news for travelers is Dry Tortugas National Park is partially opening, including the campground, marine waters and harbor, and the Garden and Loggerhead Keys.
Tampa Bay Area (Clearwater, St. Pete Beach And Pinellas County)
Public beaches are open in the greater Tampa Bay area. Most beaches are open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. Social distancing is required at all times, and you should wear a mask when you cannot practice social distancing.
Pinellas County requires masks for most indoor activities, effective June 24, 2020. One temporary closure to be aware of is the Florida Tiki Tours, which offers personalized water cruises. The water cruises are a popular activity for tourists when they are not at the beach.
Florida Beaches May Close Again If Case Numbers Increase
While most states are entering the advanced stages of their reopening plans, the coronavirus health situation can change rapidly. Many states that are aggressively reopening tend to see the highest number of new cases. Florida is among the states with the most new cases of coronavirus.
A surge in local cases and hospitalizations can spark beaches to close temporarily. For example, Florida recently reported the highest single-day increase for new coronavirus cases on June 24, 2020. There is also an online petition circulating to delay the planned July Disney World reopening date. This petition cites the rising number of new coronavirus cases as a primary reason to delay reopening. While Disney World is a theme park and not a beach, this closure may cause Florida authorities to reevaluate their reopening phases for tourists.
Most public beaches are open to tourists with limited amenities and some restricted activities. You may decide to search for vacation rentals with private beach access to have more distancing.