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What is Customary Use and Where Can I Access the Beach?

What is Customary Use?

Walton County extends from Miramar Beach to 30-A, and has prior to July 1st had a policy of Customary Use in regard to its Gulf beaches. Customary Use is a provision of the State of Florida that allows the general public to make recreational access of (sit down, walk through, put up non-commercial beach chairs on) private beaches. Private beach generally refers to the beach area extending from the back of a gulf front home or condo to the water line. This provision was put in place to provide beach access to anyone who has not rented gulf front property for their vacation. As gulf front property becomes developed and privatized, naturally public beach access becomes scarcer. That leaves less room for guests in non-gulf front homes, despite the growing popularity of the Beaches of South Walton.

What is Private Beach?

As of July 1st 2018, Walton County (and the State of Florida) will no longer allow public use of Private Beaches. After being ratified b the Florida Senate and approved by Gov. Scott CS/HB 631 is written into law. Basically, borrowing from last sentences of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution, it was determined that local, State and Federal Governments cannot enforce customary use on private property.  This eliminates the ability for the public to spread out from public beach accesses onto private beaches behind gulf front homes or condominiums. This is great news for Gulf Front property owners and their guests, but it presents a challenge for the county and for its visitors who will now find less room at public beach accesses.

Let us help you save your spot on the beach by renting beach chairs and umbrellas from Excel Beach Service. We cover nearly all of Walton County and will be happy to set up some chairs and umbrellas for you and your friends or family. Call or email us today!

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