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Public and Private Beaches

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Glasgow, Scotland
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445 posts
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Public and Private Beaches

Hi,

So I've been told that their aren't public or private beaches in gulf shores on this forum, but when I look at property rentals they either say 'near to pulic beach access' or 'private beach'. Searching on this forum someone stated 'all beach front condos have private beaches'.

So what;s the scoop, are private and public beaches more realtor jargon, or do they exist?

If you have private beaches does that mean that no-one but residents can use them? How are the boundaries set?

I'm still a bit confused by this whole thing as we don't really do beach holidays normally so this will be a bit of a change for us.

Thanks

Susan

Gulf Shores, Alabama
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for Gulf Shores
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1. Re: Public and Private Beaches

It's pretty easy actually:

Private: House/Condo/Hotel is located on the beach and the sand in front of it all the way (east to west) to their property line is their private beach.

Public: areas marked by the state or City of Gulf Shores as private beach.

For example, where HWY 59 meets the Gulf of Mexico it can is clearly marked as a public beach. However if you walk east to the Best Western, you are now on their private beach. Most places won't enforce the rule that you must be a guest there, but some do.

Biggest difference is no alcohol is allowed on public beaches and they usually have lifeguards in the summer.

Private beach you can drink on but there may or may not be a lifeguard.

Hope this helps.

Glasgow, Scotland
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445 posts
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2. Re: Public and Private Beaches

Hi,

That makes perfect sense, thank-you.

So if you were walking along a beach, a hotel probably won't have barriers/fences to stop you walking along the beach but they could? I assume that if they stopped you and you wanted to continue walking you would have to go away from the beach past the hotel and walk along the road and go back down to the beach after the hotel? I guess you wouldn't sit on a beach by the hotel (not that I would particularly want to)

I assume private houses and condos won't stop you using the beach in front of their house as looking on multimap satellite pictures most of the beach has some kind of property along it?

Thanks

Susan

Tyler, Texas
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7,005 posts
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3. Re: Public and Private Beaches

I think it is only private down to the high tide mark so you can use that portion in and next to the water.

Mobile
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4. Re: Public and Private Beaches

A hotel, condo, or homeowner can own the beach to the high tide mark, the beach itself near the water is public. You can walk for miles along the beach in Alabama or Florida. I don't know about the Pacific coast - maybe the rich folks in Malibu have figured a way for commoners to not be allowed behind their homes. I can only say that I've never encountered any impediment to walking the beach in Alabama or Florida. I do not think one would be legal anywhere. That being said, if you brought your beach gear and set up camp, you could be asked to leave I suppose. However it is not at all policed by any of the condominium security people. They do try to enforce the privacy of their pools - not having people walk off the beach and use the pools of a hotel or condominium. So for all practical purposes, if you are law abiding, not loud, troublesome or intoxicated (you aren't a British soccer fan are you?), you can pretty much go anywhere you want on the beach.

5. Re: Public and Private Beaches

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