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Corona del Mar Beaches
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Sand Volleyball Courts
Goldenrod Footbridge

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Lookout Point
Pirates Cove

 

 


 
 

 
 

 

There are only around 500 beaches and over 1000 miles of beach to spare.

 

Hey buddy, can you spare a beach? When you factor in a population of around 15 million in California living near the beach, and around 100 million tourists visiting beaches annually, that means you've got to make that sand stretch for at least 115 million folks. OK, these are fuzzy numbers but we're in the ballpark.

So, for each mile (and some miles of beach are not accessible), we should figure that 15,000 people can fit into one mile of beach. But the problem with that figure is that our numbers are based on annual attendance. So, let's take 15000 beach-goers per mile and expand that over 365 days in a year.  It roughly comes out to 41 people per day attending one mile of beach, which isn't really very much.

 

Now comes the interesting part. Most the beach attendance happens 30 days (summer holidays such as Labor Day, and summer weekends, especially during special events). And, most the beach attendance happens on Southern California beaches.  Without going into further analysis, I can tell you that during Labor Day, U.S. Open of Surfing, and other beach events and holidays, some portions of beach squeeze up to 250,000 people into less than a mile of sand in a single day.

But what's really amazing is that even though so many people visit and enjoy California beaches, I can walk out there today (which I did), and wait for people to walk past. I visited a Los Angeles beach and was amazed that we're into March and there were only a few people on this beach, though the sun was blaring and the temp was quite nice at around 65 degrees.

 

When people complain about how crowded the beaches are, usually they are referring to the traffic on local streets and parking lots near the beach, and not the beach, itself. If not for the lack of useful public transportation in getting to the beach, beach attendance could be a lot higher on those few concentrated days. During the top beach attendance days the parking lots at popular beaches fill up by noon and the neighborhoods surrounding the beach offer little or no street parking, too.

 

If public transportation were improved and beach attendance increased, cities would have to come up with plans to finance public safety. For instance, in this economic crunch, I've seen some of my favorite beaches become swamped in the winter months. When I say swamped, again, I am referring to parking spaces available for cars to park near the beach. With cities not budgeted for additional lifeguards during these times, I've noticed people using the beaches for all sorts of things that normally aren't allowed. People are bringing their dogs onto beaches where dogs are not allowed. Professional portrait studios have turned piers and landmarks into make-shift portrait studios. And kids with bikes ride along the piers, people smoke cigarettes on wooden piers, and all sorts of chaos occurs. I say this tongue in cheek, of course.

 

The beauty of the economic downturn is that although people aren't spending much money, and they are using public facilities more, they are getting out and socializing, and forming communities at the beaches once again.  Not only is this therapeutic in helping get through the tough times, it is also a healthy to be outdoors, walking, exercising and enjoying natural resources that can be ignored 11 months out of 12.

 

 

 


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