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8 Cool Legal Tips for Summer Beachgoers

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

Summer is on, and for many Americans that means heading to the beach. The next few months may dissolve much like a Corona ad, with a cold drink sweating in your hand and the surf gently lapping against the shore.

But don't run out the door with your flip-flops just yet. All beach bums will want to check out these eight great legal tips for staying safe this summer:

  1. Wear (legally approved) sunscreen. Sunscreen prevents UV exposure which can lead to sunburns and skin cancer, but don't try importing any sunscreen which hasn't been approved by the FDA.
  2. Check your beach's booze laws. Depending on who owns the strand of sand you're visiting, you may not be able to relax on the beach with a beer. If you can, you'll probably need to bring cans, not glass.
  3. Don't get sauced. Even if you can legally bring booze, you can still be arrested for public intoxication. Unlike drunken driving charges, public intoxication is based on how obnoxious and tipsy you appear -- not your actual level of intoxication.
  4. Keep your pants on (when necessary). Yes, there are nude beaches. But even these beaches can be shut down. If the law allows, you may strip down. But having sex on the beach is a no-no.
  5. Be wise about bonfires. A beach bonfire is a thing to behold, but it may also be the reason for a hefty fine. Before you light up the beach, check local laws concerning the time, location, and type of materials you can use for a bonfire. And properly extinguish the fire when you're done.
  6. No weed at the beach. Sorry to harsh your mellow, but public pot smoking isn't allowed in any state -- even in Colorado and Washington. And unless you own your own private beach, the only sticky green at the beach is a lime popsicle.
  7. Catch up on your reading. You can up your legal IQ while you apply SPF with a book from this list.
  8. Obey dog restrictions. Many popular beaches do not allow dogs, so you likely have to tell Fido to stay when you head to the sand. However, many areas now have dog beaches.

Have fun in the sand and surf, and remember to keep your beachgoing legal!

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