Going to the beach this weekend? Here are some things you should know

Posted

The 4th of July holiday weekend is one of the busiest times on St. Johns County's beaches. St. Johns County Fire Rescue, St. Johns County Marine Rescue, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office and the St. Augustine Beach Police Department will work together from Saturday, July 2, through Monday, July 4, to ensure the safest experience possible for residents and visitors.

Note that the use of alcohol and fireworks is prohibited on St. Johns County beaches.

Please review the information below to assist you and your family in planning your 4th of July holiday weekend at the beach.

On-beach Driving

Vehicles are permitted on the beach between 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Beach passes are required for vehicle access. Passes can be purchased with cash only at any beach access ramp.

For information about beach passes, go to sjcfl.us/Beaches/Passes.aspx.

Help maintain safe driving practices on St. Johns County beaches by complying with the following rules:

Vehicular traffic must remain in the designated driving lanes as identified by cones.

  • Parking is allowed on the west side of the driving lane between the cones and the dune.
  • Parking on Vilano Beach is parallel parking only on the east side of the driving lane.
  • The maximum vehicular speed allowed on the beach is 10 mph.
  • Vehicles may not enter the beach at the Fort Matanzas Ramp. 
  • All vehicles must stop at all beach ramps and yield to all pedestrians.
  • Soft sand conditions may exist, and only 4x4 vehicles may be allowed on some beaches. 

 Porpoise Point will be open to vehicular access for the fireworks show on July 4. The fireworks display will begin at 9:30 p.m., and vehicles must exit the beach at the show's conclusion. Porpoise Point will likely reach maximum capacity early in the day.

Beach driving conditions are expected to change at each access ramp throughout the day. For the most up-to-date information on beach access and driving conditions, download the Reach the Beach mobile app, or follow St. Johns County Beaches on Facebook or Twitter (@SJCBeaches).

SJC Marine Rescue and Beach Warning Flags

Lifeguards will be on duty at various locations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the 4th of July weekend, weather permitting. In addition, Marine Rescue personnel will patrol the beaches regularly. 

Warning flags are in place along the beach to keep visitors aware of current water and surf conditions.

  • Yellow flags: medium hazard level that could include strong currents and surf. 
  • Red flags: high hazard with stronger currents and more dangerous surf conditions. 
  • Purple flags: dangerous marine life in the area. 

The absence of a flag does not mean there is no danger, as beach visitors should always exercise caution when swimming in the ocean.

Rip currents are strong, fast-moving currents of water that move seaward from the shore. They may be recognized by a foamy, choppy surface and water that appears brown from sand being churned and rushed out to sea. If caught in a rip current, the most important thing to remember is to remain calm. Swim parallel with the shoreline until you are out of the current's pull, and then swim toward shore. Those who are not strong swimmers are not recommended to go beyond knee level in the water. 

Beach visitors are asked to observe flag colors and swim near a lifeguard.

Fourth of July Weekend Shuttle Service

St. Johns County offers a free shuttle service to Mickler's Landing Beachfront Park and the St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 2, through Monday, July 4, weather permitting.

The Mickler's Landing Beachfront Park shuttle will transport beach visitors between the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, 1050 A1A N., and Mickler's Landing Beachfront Park, which provides direct access to the beach.

The St. Johns County Ocean and Fishing Pier shuttle will transport beach visitors between St. Augustine Beach City Hall, 2200 A1A South, and the pier parking lot, which provides direct access to pier amenities and the beach. The shuttles will run every 20 minutes, with the final shuttles departing at 4 p.m.

Service updates are provided via the Reach the Beach mobile app, the Beaches Twitter feed and Facebook page. 

Stay Informed

For more information regarding St. Johns County beaches, go to sjcfl.us/beaches, follow St. Johns County Beaches on Facebook or Twitter (@SJCBeaches), or call 904-209-0331.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here