Safety Guidelines Help Us All Enjoy Our Beach Time - 30A

Safety Guidelines Help Us All Enjoy Our Beach Time

Ah, the sun, sand, and surf – the irresistible trio that draws millions of beachgoers to Florida’s coastlines every year, including our personal favorite, Scenic Highway 30A. But a day at the beach can quickly turn sour without proper precautions. Don’t worry, though! We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to beach safety, including the beach flag system, rip currents, sun protection, and much more. Plus, we’ll throw in some handy resources, including 30A.com and South Walton Fire District, to help you stay informed and safe.

Walton County has some beach safety guidelines to follow, both in the water and on the white sandy beaches.

General Beach Rules

Leave No Trace: all items left on the beach overnight will be discarded to help maintain our pristine beaches and provide a safe environment for our South Walton Sea Turtles.

Dog Permits are required for dogs on the beach, and are only available to residents of Walton County and/or property owners in Walton County. Those permits can also be purchased through the BCC. Permits are issued year round and expire on August 1st of each year.



Glass containers are prohibited on the beach.

Vehicles require a permit to drive onto the beach, and are only allowed to drive on the beach at Grayton Beach. Permits can be applied for through the Walton County Board of County Commissioners lottery system.

Stay off the dunes.  The sand dunes and vegetation that grows among them act as natural protection against storms and storm surge. This is SUCH an important rule to follow.

Removal of sand, water and vegetation is strictly prohibited.

Two 15’ corridors are reserved for emergency vehicles; one extending 15’ from the dune toward the water, and the other extending 15’ from the water’s edge upland.

Amplified sound (audio device, speakers, radio, musical instrument, etc.) which can be heard by a person using normal hearing faculties at a distance of 100 feet from the source of the sound is not permitted.

Tents must be 10’ x 10’ or smaller and are to be set up only on the top 1/3 of the available beach space, still allowing for a 15’ distance from the dunes for emergency vehicles.

Charcoal grills are not allowed on the beach, all grilling must be done on Propane grills measuring at 225 square inches (approximately 12”x18” rectangular or 16” in diameter for circular grills) or smaller.



Bonfire permits can be applied for through the South Walton Fire District, Monday through Friday from 8 until 4. All bonfires must be put out and cleaned up by 1 AM and remnants must not be placed in the TDC trash containers. For in depth permit requirements, click here or visit South Walton Fire District’s website at www.swfd.com/beach-safety/beach-bonfires.

Beach Flag Reminders:

Beach flags are like traffic lights for the shore. They inform beachgoers about water conditions and potential hazards. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Green: Low hazard – All clear for a swim, but always exercise caution.
  • Yellow: Medium hazard – Be extra careful, as there may be moderate surf or currents.
  • Red (one flag): High hazard – Think twice before taking a dip, as the surf is rough or currents are strong.
  • Red (two flags): Water closed – No swimming allowed due to dangerous conditions.
  • Purple: Dangerous marine life – Keep an eye out for jellyfish, sharks, or other critters.

Remember to check the flag status at 30A.com or download the free 30A app for the latest updates. For current conditions and flag status, click here or text FLAG to 31279 any time.

Rip Currents:

Rip currents are the sneaky villains of the beach world. They’re strong, narrow currents that pull swimmers away from the shore. Here’s how to outsmart them:

  • Learn to spot rip currents – look for areas of choppier water or a break in the wave pattern.
  • Don’t panic if you get caught in one. Stay calm and swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current, then swim back to the beach.
  • If you can’t escape, tread water and call for help by waving your arms.

Sun Protection:

You can’t spell “beach” without “sunburn” – wait, you can, but you get the point. Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by:

  • Applying broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. We recommend 30A Sunscreen, because it’s safe for reefs and marine life.
  • Reapplying sunscreen every two hours or after swimming.
  • Wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Seeking shade during peak sun hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.).

Wildlife Encounters:

Florida’s beaches are teeming with wildlife, but some creatures are better admired from afar. Here’s how to coexist safely:

  • Keep your distance from nesting sea turtles and birds.
  • Avoid touching or stepping on marine life, like jellyfish or sea urchins.
  • Don’t remove Sand Dollars from the water, especially if they are brown (which means they’re still alive).
  • Keep an eye out for purple flags, indicating that dangerous or pesky marine life is present.

Tides and Shorelines:

Understanding the tides and shoreline topography can help you avoid potential hazards and find the safest spots to swim:

  • Check the local tide charts to know when it’s high or low tide. Low tide may expose hidden rocks or marine life, while high tide can bring stronger currents.
  • Avoid swimming near piers, jetties, or other structures, as they can harbor dangerous rip currents.
  • Be cautious around sandbars and steep drop-offs, which can create unexpected changes in water depth and strong currents.
  • As tempting as it may look, don’t swim out to the “second sand bar.” It further out and deeper than you think.

Supervise Children and Swim with a Buddy:

Keeping a watchful eye on your little ones and swimming with a buddy can prevent accidents and make your beach day safer for everyone:

  • Always supervise children, even if they’re playing in shallow water. Waves and currents can change suddenly.
  • Encourage young or inexperienced swimmers to wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
  • Swim with a buddy or in designated areas where lifeguards are present.

Pack a Beach Safety Kit:

Being prepared is key to a successful beach day. Equip yourself with essential safety gear by packing a beach safety kit that includes:

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat for sun protection.
  • A first-aid kit with adhesive bandages, tweezers, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes.
  • A flotation device, like an inflatable ring or foam noodle, to help with swimming.
  • Water and snacks to stay hydrated and fueled throughout the day.

Resources and Tools:

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to beach safety. Bookmark these sites and download the free 30A app for updates and safety alerts:

  • 30A.com: Your go-to source for all things 30A, including beach flag status and safety tips.
  • SWFD.org: The South Walton Fire District’s official website provides safety alerts and information about local conditions.
  • The 30A App: Get the latest beach flag updates and safety alerts right on your smartphone. Download it for free!

With these beach safety tips and resources under your (sun)belt, you’re all set for a fun and worry-free day at Florida’s stunning shorelines, including the beautiful beaches along Scenic Highway 30A. Remember to stay informed, exercise caution, and respect the beach environment to ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone.

Check out the Tourism Development Council or Visitor’s Bureau in your area for the most up-to-date beach safety rules on the beaches nearest you!

We ❤ the beach here at 30A.com! You can always count on us for in-depth beach information here or on Facebook and Instagram.

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