Why Tents Aren’t Allowed On Beaches

Beaches are one of the most fun places to visit, no matter what country you are in. Tents can also be a great way of having a shade and shelter while you enjoy a day at the beach, especially if you have young children or infants. Though not all beaches allow tents and can often restrict structures of a similar style.

Tents are not allowed on beaches as they often cause problems such as loitering, littering and hazards. Allowing tents on beaches can often lead to people abusing the law and spending the night on the beach. This can cause hazards for life guards, safety and emergency services.

If you are looking for a specific beach and their current laws it is best to contact them directly or look online for forums or websites with more accurate information.

Are Tents Allowed On Beaches?

It is almost impossible to find an answer that applies to all beaches as they all have different authorities overseeing them. However, most beaches do not allow people to set up full tents and camp there full-time because it would encourage loitering and make the place unappealing to people who want to visit the beach for leisure. The government or beach authorities do not want to lose the revenue they get from entrance fees or tax from kiosks on the beach, so they frown at people that set up full tents.

The restriction of tent usage on some beaches is also due to security reasons. As the world has increased in population, there is also a corresponding increase in beach-goers. More beach-goers mean more tents on the beach, which can stop emergency personnel – like lifeguards – from quickly moving around to attend to a situation or to sit in one spot and scan through the area to spot imminent danger.

Delays in time for first-responders to attend to emergencies can be fatal, so while restricting the use of tents on beaches might seem harsh, it is justified.

Some beaches have some degree of leeway and allow people to set up tents under the condition that it must not be fully enclosed. These tents are expected to have one side fully open and can be used both as shade from the sun and as a place to keep the belongings that you bring to the beach. People have had to adapt to not having to use tents and resorted to using sunscreen and umbrellas, lodging in hotels at the beach, and making makeshift tents with beach towels its place.

Why Some Beaches Ban Tents From Being Used

In addition to the reasons mentioned earlier, some beaches banned tents because they take up too much space and limit the number of people that can enjoy the sand and waves on a busy beach day. Some beach-goers also developed the habit of placing large tents and canopies side by side to create a makeshift beach compound.

This is unfair to others as every space on the beach – which is public land – should be open for all to use. Those beach compounds obstruct people’s view if they want to sit and look at the waves in the ocean, making them have to pick another spot. Authorities do not like this, and as a result, they moved to ban tents and canopies on beaches.

It is also hard for tents to anchor securely into a sandy beach, which could be a safety hazard on a windy day. A strong gust of wind can rip the tent off the ground, send it flying into someone peacefully sunbathing nearby. Some beaches frown at tents generally but have no problem when a children’s tent is set up because it can be easily controlled and might not significantly obstruct anyone’s view of the ocean.

How To Know If A Tent Is Allowed On A Beach

The most common way to know if tents are disallowed on beaches is to ask the authorities on the beach, and you would get a definite answer. However, internet research can also help one find the needed information. Almost every beach in the present day has a website you can visit. Look for their rules and read through them to know if they have any restrictions to tents’ usage. There are signs set up on the beach itself to inform beach-goers that tents are not welcome if that is the case there. 

At some beaches, tent usage may attract fines between $50 and $100. In contrast, other beaches chose a softer approach by hiring seasonal employees who will work with lifeguards to move around and gently remind beach-goers to take down their tents and give them a brief of the rules regarding tent usage. Some degree of force will be used only if the “offender” refuses to cooperate with beach authorities and take down their tent.

Alternatives to Tents on Beaches

If you want to avoid fines or do not want to be that jerk on the beach that takes up so much space on a crowdy beach day which will ruin other people’s fun, there are a couple of alternative beach shelters for you to use in place of regular tents and canopies.


Tarps are great for beaches and serve almost the same function as tents. They are exposed and can serve as shelter for one or two people. Tarps are most resistant to wind, thereby reducing their potential safety hazard.


Using umbrellas on the beach is common practice already. Beach-goers can mount their umbrella and lay their beach towels under the shade it provides. Umbrellas also go well with beach benches.

You can also use lawn chairs or camping chairs to have a more elevated seating arrangement along with an umbrella for shade.

Wind Breakers

Wind breakers are popular in the UK and are often used in camping holidays to create shelter but can then also be great for beaches to shelter against wind and sand blowing into your face and stuff.

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