While Florida leaders caught flak for leaving many beaches open during spring break, the COVID-19 pandemic eventually led nearly every coastal government in Florida to quarantine the dunes.
But some communities are ready to reopen the beaches now. So where can you find crowds in the sand unconcerned with spreading the novel coronavirus?
Florida Politics is maintaining a running compilation of local beach closures.
Bay County: Beaches open
Bay County Commissioners voted to reopen beaches in unincorporated areas as of April 24 in a transitional phase, according to WJHG-TV. As on May 2, the beaches were open with no local restrictions. The Panama Beach City Council voted to fully open its beaches the same day, following suit. Meanwhile, Mexico Beach City Council previously voted to reopen the beaches for limited hours and activities, according to the Northwest Daily News. Essential activities like swimming, running, fishing, walking, biking, hunting, and hiking from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Escambia County: Beaches open
Pensacola Beach reopened as of May 1, reports the Pensacola News Journal. Public restrooms and an area under the pier will remain closed. County Commissioners previously voted to close Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key Beach, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Gulf County: Beaches open
Okaloosa County: Beaches open
County commissioners as of May 6 have fully opened all county beaches, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports. County beaches opened for for recreational use starting May 1, the Pensacola News Journal previously reported, with limited hours. Commissioners reminded social distancing measures are still in place.
Santa Rosa County: Beaches open
County commissioners as of May 6 have fully opened Navaree Beach and the fishing pier there without restrictions, reports the Pensacola News Journal. County beaches opened for for recreational use starting May 1, the News Journal previously reported, with limited hours, but law enforcement said beach-goers have practiced responsible social distancing. The beach had previously been closed since March 21.
Walton County: Beaches open with restrictions
All public beaches in the county will reopen on May 1 to limited activities, including walking, jogging, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, surfing and boating, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News. Beach blankets will not be allowed, though umbrellas and chairs will. Walton County legally defended its beach closure, which withstood a test in court.
Dixie County: Beaches open
Franklin County: Beaches open with restrictions
County officials announced beaches will reopen beginning May 4 but for limited hours, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The public will be able to access beaches from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. County Commissioners had closed all beaches in the county as of March 27.
Levy County: Beach restricted access
There’s no complete shutdown of recreational facilities listed on the county website. However, the popular destination Cedar Key has travel restricted so only residents and those with reservations in advance can freely come and go from the island, and visitors are not allowed. No new reservations are allowed at this time.
Taylor County: Beaches, boat ramps closed
County Commissioners held an emergency meeting and closed county parks and beaches effective March 27. The county later closed all but the Keaton Beach boat ramp, which is only open for commercial fishermen, according to the county.
Wakulla County: Beaches open
Citrus County: Beaches open
County Commissioners voted to reopen all beaches and parks beginning on May 1, reports The Citrus Chronicle. That includes Fort Island Gulf and Hernando Beaches.
Hernando County: Beaches open
County Commissioners voted on April 28 to reopen all parks and beaches, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
Hillsborough County: Most beaches open
Four beaches run by the city of Tampa were reopened at 2:30 a.m. on May 4, including Ben T. Davis Beach, Cypress Point Park, Davis Islands Seaplane Basin and Picnic Island Park. All beaches and parks in unincorporated Hillsborough County, including Apollo Beach, closed as of March 28, according to WUSF.
Pasco County: Most Beaches open with restrictions
County officials opened most of its beaches and parks as of May 3, but only for limited activity like jogging, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Officials had closed area beaches at four county-managed parks as of March 20.
Pinellas County: Beaches open soon with social distancing
County Commissioners voted to open beaches, with some restrictions, starting May 4 at 7 a.m. Visitors are allowed to bring chairs and can sunbathe, but officials will limit groups to no more than 10 people.
Charlotte County: Beaches open with restrictions
Charlotte County Commissioners have authorized county administration to open the beaches on April 27, according to County Commissioner Bill Truex. The beaches are open to exercise and walking. County beaches were closed down in Charlotte County since March 22, with deputies threatening $500 fines to those breaking the rules, according to NBC-2.
Collier County: Beaches open
County Commissioners voted to reopen its beaches beginning April 30, according to the Naples Daily News. While board considered time restrictions, commissioners ultimately decided to fully open. Naples and Marco Island opened beaches in city jurisdiction as of April 30, though the Naples Pier will remain closed, according to WINK News. The City of Naples closed its beaches as of March 18, and Collier County followed suit, closing its beaches down on March 19, according to the Naples Daily News.
Lee County: Beaches open
Lee County Commissioners voted to reopen beaches April 29 at sunrise. That includes parking lots and with regular hours. Social distancing will be enforced. Sanibel officials have signaled they will follow the county’s lead. The Town of Fort Myers Beach voted to reopen its beaches to the public of as May 2, WINK News reports. Parking will remain closed and only essential activities such as running and walking are permitted. Additionally, beachgoers must wear face masks.
Manatee County: Beaches opening with restrictions
The County Commission voted unanimously to open beaches in the county starting May 4 at 10 a.m., with beaches closing at 9 p.m. daily. Parking will be restricted to no longer than two hours, with only a partial number of spaces available, and cities such as Anna Maria and Holmes Beach expect further restrictions. County leaders previously closed down all beaches, including those on barrier islands like Anna Maria Island, starting on March 20, reports the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Sarasota County: Beaches open
Sarasota County will fully open beaches, including parking beginning on May 4, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Social distancing and restrictions on groups of 10 or more will still be enforced. County Commissioners previously voted to open the beaches to essential physical activity like walking, surfing and fishing starting April 27, but parking lots remain closed. Cities are still able to close beaches within their borders. Venice has the same existing limitations as the county on Venice Beach. The City of Sarasota announced that Lido Key will remain closed until COVID-19 cases decline in the north end of the county.
Broward County: Beaches closed
Beaches remain closed, but the Hollywood Broadwalk as of May 13 will be open to walk from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., reports Local 10. Deerfield, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Pompano Beach all closed beaches starting March 18, according to Local 10 News. Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the rest of the beaches in the county closed as of March 20.
Martin County: Beaches open with restrictions
The county reopened beaches on May 4 with restrictions, according to TC Palm. Individuals have to sit at least six feet apart with social distancing enforced. Hobe Sound, which borders Palm Beach County, will remain closed. County Commissioners previously closed all public county beaches as of March 22, according to WPTV.
Miami-Dade County: Beaches closed
Mayor Carlos Giménez on March 19 ordered all beaches closed in the community, the first South Florida jurisdiction to do so. While he has discussed developing a plan to reopen parks, Giménez made clear beaches are not planned to reopen yet in the Florida county with the most cases of COVID-19.
Monroe County: Beaches open, travel restricted
Kew West city leaders on April 27 opened all parks and beaches, according to the Key West Citizen. But it remains difficult for anyone not living on the Florida Keys to visit them. County Commissioners starting March 24 imposed limitations so only residents and limited workers could access the string of islands via U.S. 1. Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 30 issued a safer at home order closing down all nonessential business in South Florida counties until mid-April. County beaches, while inaccessible to most, never closed. However, Keys Weekly reports some municipalities closed beaches under their jurisdiction. Marathon reopened beaches on May 4, but will limit access to pavilions. Islamorada reopened beaches on May 4 to residents only
Palm Beach County: Beaches opening soon with restrictions
County Commissioners tentatively set a plan for opening beaches on May 18, but only to county residents initially. Restrictions and timelines will be discussed further at a May 15 meeting. Municipalities will be allowed to decide if their own beaches remain closed. Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order closing all Palm Beach beaches as of March 20, but left it to local government when to reopen beaches. DeSantis has lifted a statewide stay-at-home order but it remains in effect for three South Florida counties with the state’s highest numbers of infections. Palm Beach leaders have said they will not reopen beaches until the county reaches its peak in cases, but have suggested the region may now be on the other side of the curve.
St. Lucie County: Beaches open
County Commissioners voted to reopen beaches beginning April 28, and lifted all temporary restrictions on uses and activities as of May 7, reports TC Palm. County beaches closed March 23 after crowds failed to adhere to social distancing, TC Palm reports.
Brevard County: Beaches open
County officials as of May 1 opened beached and public parking lots for beaches, according to Visit Space Coast. Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Indialantic and Indian Harbour Beach voted to open their beaches to sunbathing while restricting gatherings to no more than five people, according to Florida Today. Melbourne Beach has reopened to limited use for residents only. But parking in cities remains closed and many businesses are towing beach-goers parking on private property; county parking lots are open. Cape Canaveral beaches are open for walking, jogging, biking, fishing, surfing and swimming are permitted.
Indian River Beach County: Beaches open
The guarded beaches in the county — Vero Beach, Golden Sands, Wabasso Beach, Tracking Station Beach, Round Island Beach and Indian River Shores — fully opened as of May 5, reports, TC Palm. The beached opened with limited uses on April 28 from sunrise to Sunset, Florida Today reports. Previously, officials announced beaches in the county and Vero Beach were closed starting March 23.
Volusia County: Beaches open
County officials announced that as of April 25 all beaches in the county, including the popular spring break destination of Daytona Beach, are now available to use. Beginning on May 2, the all beaches will fully open, with social distancing enforced. Originally, the beaches were closed to all activity including pedestrians walking, but county officials on Saturday loosened restrictions to allow walking, jogging, biking, fishing, surfing and swimming. Now sitting and sunbathing are allowed. Social distancing will still be encouraged.
Duval County: Beaches open
All restrictions on beach use formally lifted in the county as of May 6, according to The Florida Times-Union. Mayor Lenny Curry ordered all beaches closed indefinitely starting on March 20, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record. Mayors of three beach communities in the Jacksonville area agreed to close all beaches in the county. Beaches began to reopen on April 18 with social distancing enforced. Activities were limited to walking, biking, hiking, fishing, running, swimming, taking care of pets and surfing. Beaches opened for limited times starting May 4, The Florida Times-Union reports.
Flagler County: Beaches open
County officials announced on April 21 they will open all beaches for “physical and mental health activities.” As of April 29, all restrictions of activities on the beach were lifted, but social distancing recommendations remain in effect.
Nassau County: Beaches open
County officials opened beaches on May 1 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. according, to Action News Jax. The Sheriff’s Office previously announced the closure of all beaches in the county as of March 22, according to News4Jax. Fernandina Beach city officials closed their beaches on March 21, and have threatened fines for those in violation, reports First Coast News.
St. Johns County: Beaches open
St. Johns County beaches fully reopened on May 4, according to The St. Augustine Record. After a viral photo seriously shamed St. Johns County, officials there closed beaches effective March 29, until further notice. Since then, residents have petitioned to have the beaches reopened, but County Commissioners are not ready to fully open, reports The St. Augustine Record