St. Johns County provides update for beach visitors during Independence Day weekend

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The Fourth of July holiday weekend is one of the busiest times for St. Johns County’s beaches. Lifeguards and law enforcement officers will work together from Saturday through Monday to ensure the safest beach experience possible.

To help residents and visitors remain safe, the county has provided the following information.

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 www.sjcfl.us/Beaches/Passes.

Motorists are asked to observe the following rules when driving on the beach:

  • 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 speed allowed on the beach is 10 mph.
  • Vehicles may not enter the beach at the Fort Matanzas Ramp.
  • All vehicles are required to 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 July 4 fireworks show, but vehicles must exit the beach at its conclusion. Porpoise Point is expected to reach maximum capacity early in the day.

Beach driving conditions are expected to change throughout the day at each access ramp. 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).

Lifeguards and beach flags

Lifeguards will be on duty in specific areas from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout the weekend, weather permitting. In addition, Marine Rescue personnel will patrol the beaches on a regular basis.

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

Here’s a translation of the colors:

  • Yellow: medium hazard level that could include strong currents and surf.
  • Red: high hazard with stronger currents and more dangerous surf conditions.
  • Purple: 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 moved rapidly out to sea. If you are 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 pull of the current and then swim toward shore. Those who are not strong swimmers are not recommended to go beyond knee level in the water.

Shuttle service

St. Johns County is offering 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 through Monday, weather permitting. The Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park shuttle will transport beach visitors between Cornerstone Park, 1046 A1A North, 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 will be 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 www.sjcfl.us/beaches, follow St. Johns County Beaches on Facebook or Twitter (@SJCBeaches), or call 904-209-0331.

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