- Visitors may access the beach from any of the Town's 36 access points.
- Wheelchair access is available at the 3rd Avenue North entrance, Surfside Pier, and Melody Lane accesses.
- Special Beach wheelchairs are available through the Surfside Beach Public Safety Department.
- Please visit the Department at 811 Pine Drive or call (843)913-6368 for more information.
BEACH SHADING DEVICES
Hours. Except for Town of Surfside Beach equipment, it shall be unlawful, between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., for any person to leave upon, put, place or set any equipment, but not limited to, chairs, umbrellas, windbreakers, surfboards, air floats, life rafts, tents, cabanas, pavilions, volleyball nets, etc., or to build or erect any fence or other obstruction on the public beach, so as to obstruct, impede or retard the free and unconstrained use and occupancy of the public beach by the public or so as to interfere or obstruct any maintenance operation of the beach, and same shall be disposed of pursuant to subsection (g) hereof.
Paraphernalia. Beach umbrellas and other beach paraphernalia shall not be placed in front of the lifeguard stands and shall be placed in a line generally parallel with the ocean strand on either side the lifeguard stands, and shall not be left unattended.
Any canopy, tent, or other shading device shall not exceed a maximum size of ten feet by ten feet (10' x 10').
Umbrellas or other shading devices, including baby tents, shall be placed in a location behind the lifeguard stand in such a manner that the lifeguard's view of the beach shall not be obstructed. As lifeguards move their stands due to the rising tide, all shading devices shall be moved to the west to maintain the lifeguard's line of site. An umbrellas is defined as a shading device with a center pole no greater than seven (7) feet six (6) inches in height and with a circular shade no greater than nine (9) feet in diameter. An umbrella is defined as a collapsible circular shade consisting of a natural or synthetic fabric shade stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole without grounding lines or ropes. A ‘baby tent’ is defined as a shading device no larger than thirty-one (31) inches in height by thirty-one and one-half (31.5) inches in width and thirty-eight (38) inches in depth.
Tents, canopies, or other shading devices other than an umbrella or baby tent as defined above, shall be no larger than 10’ x 10’ and shall be allowed when placed contiguous to the town’s beach emergency lane, so long as there is at least ten (10) feet between each tent, and tents shall have straight tie-downs, and there shall be no obstructions, including beach paraphernalia, between the tents. A single row of tents from Melody Lane to 17th Avenue North shall be allowed. Emergency access locations require additional clearance guidelines as follow to accommodate emergency apparatus.
*Emergency Apparatus Access North Side Edge South Side Edge
Melody Lane 25 feet N/A (in County)
4th Avenue South 25 feet 25 feet
Pier 150 feet 100 feet
7th Avenue North 25 feet 25 feet
13th Avenue North 25 feet 25 feet
17th Avenue South N/A (in County) 25 feet
Lifeguard line of sight. It shall be unlawful to place any obstruction on the beach in such a position that it will interfere with the ground-level vision of a lifeguard looking toward the water and the lifeguard stands on either side of him. As lifeguards move their stands due to the rising tide, all shading devices shall be moved to the west to maintain the lifeguard's line of site.
Emergency lane. It shall be unlawful to place any beach paraphernalia within eight (8) feet of the dune line. Said area shall remain open and free of any obstructions to provide a clear travel way for emergency vehicles, personnel and/or other emergency equipment to access the surf or other areas of the beach in the event of an emergency. Emergency access lanes perpendicular to the dune line shall remain open and unobstructed at all times. In the event of an emergency, the police chief or his designee shall direct that additional temporary emergency access lanes be created until no longer needed.
Removal, disposal. Umbrellas, tents, canopies or other shading devices and/or other items/equipment remaining on the beach between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. or left unattended will be removed from the beach and disposed of accordingly.
Sand fencing and dune walkovers. Sand fences and dune walkovers have been constructed to rebuild and preserve the sand dunes; sand dunes serve as barriers that aid in protecting life and property during hurricanes and or other tidal events. It is prohibited to move, alter, obstruct, interfere with the sand fencing including, but not limited to, chaining items to, locking items to, or connecting items to a sand fence. In addition, no items may be placed, put, chained to, locked to or stored under any dune walkover located on the public beach.
Penalty. Violations of this section are punishable as misdemeanors provided in Section 1-16(a) of this Code.
Click here to read Ordinance #17-0857.
**Note** The dune line is defined as that area just east of any walkway, step or crossover. The dune line is not the ‘base of the dunes’ as they now exist. Placement of beach paraphernalia should be done in such a manner that the emergency lane should be a straight 8-foot path beginning at 17th Avenue North and extending to Melody Lane.
Ordinance 17-0842. Section 12-67 (F) Emergency Lane. It shall be unlawful to place any beach paraphernalia within eight (8) feet of the dune line. Said area shall remain open and free of any obstructions to provide a clear travel way for emergency vehicles, personnel and/or other emergency equipment to access the surf or other areas of the beach in the event of an emergency. Emergency access lanes perpendicular to the dune line shall remain open and unobstructed at all times. In the event of an emergency, the police chief or his designee shall direct that additional temporary emergency access lanes be created until no longer needed. (More details in Ordinance 17-0842.)
FIRES ON THE BEACH
Sec. 12-73. - Fires prohibited on the beach.
It shall be unlawful for any person to start, ignite, or maintain an open wood camp fire on any public beach, public beach access, street end adjacent to the beach, or any town-owned land immediately adjacent to the beach at any time, unless the fire is part of a town-sponsored event or by special permit for a sanctioned special event approved in advance by the administrator. Exception: Propane fired grills or other cookers heated by fire may be used for the purpose of food preparation
SMOKING ON THE BEACH
Smoking is prohibited on the beaches and public beach accesses. The full smoking ordinance can be found by clicking here.
HOLES ON THE BEACH
It's a lot of fun to dig a hole on the beach, but you really can't dig to China! Remember:
- A cubic yard of sand (3' x 3' x 3') can weigh as much as 3,000 pounds - this is why people who are buried in sand cave-ins suffocate.
- Two feet, don't dig over two (2) feet deep. A hole no deeper than two feet can cause serious injury if someone accidentally steps in it, and if it contains water, it poses a drowning hazard for small children, and a trap for sea turtles..
- Sea Turtles, which are an endangered species, get trapped in holes and cannot get out to return to the sea. Baby turtles would die overnight.
- Town equipment used to clean the beach will be damaged in large holes.
So, please, fill in the holes you dig on the beach! It's a safety thing.
Our annual volunteer beach sweep is usually held in October. Volunteers spend two hours on the beach, collecting and removing trash from our most valuable possession, our beach. Please check the calendar for the current Beach Sweep event.
The Town of Surfside Beach provides pay-station or metered parking spaces at the following 12 beach area parking lots:
- 16th-17th Ave. North 6th Ave. North
- 3rd Ave. North Surfside Pier
- Yaupon Drive 3rd Ave. South
- 4th Ave. South 5th Ave. South
- 6th Ave. South 13th South & Ocean Blvd
- 13th Ave. South Melody Lane
Restroom facilities, showers, and foot-showers can be found at the following beach access points:
- 1st Ave. North- Shower Tower 2nd Ave. North- Shower Tower
- 3rd Ave. North- Shower Tower/Restrooms 8th Ave. North- Shower Tower
- Surfside Pier- Shower Tower/Restrooms 2nd Ave. South- Shower Tower
- 3rd Ave. South- Shower Tower 5th Ave. South- Shower Tower/Restrooms
- 6th Ave. South- Shower Tower 7th Ave. South- Shower Tower
- 10th Ave. South- Shower Tower 13th Ave. South- Shower Tower
RULES OF THE BEACH
To both ensure the safety of our residents and visitors and preserve the unique quality of life that gives our Town its charm, the Town asks all beachgoers to abide by the following rules:
- No motor vehicles (cars, trucks, golf carts, mopeds, etc.) other than those used by lifeguards, police, or other Town personnel, are permitted to operate on the beach at any time.
- Dogs or other domestic pets are not permitted on the public beach during the period between May 15 and September 15. Between September 16 and May 14 leashed dogs are allowed on the beach.
- Horses and other large animals are not allowed on the beach.
BOATING AND FISHING
- Operation of any watercraft in a reckless or negligent manner is strictly prohibited.
- Operation of any watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is unlawful.
- Launching of watercrafts is limited to the 4th Ave. South beach access only.
- Boat parking-storage is provided for at the designated parking facility located between 3rd Ave. and 4th Avenue South on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Boats are not permitted to operate any closer than 50 yards from the shoreline.
- Jet skis are not permitted to operate any closer than 150 yards from the shoreline between May 15 and September 15.
- Shark fishing within the Town's limits is prohibited.
- Commercial fishing on the public beach is not permitted.
SWIMMING, SURFING and SAFETY
Lifeguards, deputies, and other Town officials supervise and regulate surf fishing, swimming, and other activities on the Town's beach.
- To report lost children please contact the Surfside Beach Police Department at (843) 913-6368.
- Fireworks are not permitted on the public beach.
- No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the beach.
- Lifeguard instructions are to be obeyed AT ALL TIMES.
- Swimmers are to venture into the water no deeper than chest-deep and no further than 50 yards from the shoreline.
- Surfing is prohibited within 300 feet of the fishing pier.
- Summer Season Surfing - During the period between May 15 and September 15, surfing is permitted only in designated areas between10:00 AM and 5:00 PM.
- Off- Season Surfing - Between the periods of September 15 and May 15, surfing is allowed anywhere along the beach from sunup to sundown, except areas within 300 hundred feet of the fishing pier.
- Surfers are required to wear surfing leashes at all times.
- Umbrellas, tents, etc. must be placed 10' to the rear of guard stands.
- Lifeguard stations can be found at the following locations:
- Holiday Inn at 16th Ave. North 12th Ave. North
- 6th Ave. North 3rd Ave. North
- 1st Ave. North Days Inn at Pier
- 4th Ave. South 15th Ave. South
- 10th Ave. South 13th Ave. South
DHEC tests the ocean water on the Strand, in knee-deep water, once a week - from May to October. An explanation of the process is in this link:
They maintain a "Beach Access Guide" at: https://gis.dhec.sc.gov/beachaccess/#
On this map, you can zoom in to Surfside Beach, and click on the little green and yellow circles on the beach (6 testing sites in Surfside Beach), and see the testing results so far this year. As far as bacteria, the
sources can be terrestrial, i.e. heavy rain pushes out stagnant water from the town's ditch system just prior to testing...this "first flush" effect can have elevated bacteria counts. Also the source can be something in the water for instance a large flock of birds have occupied the water just prior to DHEC testing.
Either way, one single high reading is not indicative of a water quality problem. If there is a chronic
problem, or a sewer break, you would have consistently high readings, and steps would have to be taken to repair the issue.
WEDDINGS ON THE BEACH
Marriage Licenses – A South Carolina marriage license can be obtained from Horry County Probate Court. Call (843) 915-5370 or visit them at http://www.horrycounty.org/Departments/ProbateCourt.aspx
If you perform a simple ceremony on the beach (bride, groom, and a few friends) within the Surfside Beach town limits (17th Avenue North southward to Melody Lane), we ask that
(a) you remove any items you take with you
(b) allow the public to observe the ceremony, if they wish
(c) do not use any balloons, glass or plastics that could harm the wildlife
(d) fill any holes that you dig
(e) Wedding planners must have a Town of Surfside Beach business license. Contact the business license office at 843.913.6339 or 843.913.6342.
Congratulations to the happy couple.