Washington State Parks: How to have a ‘beach-friendly’ 4th of July

Photo courtesy Washington State Parks

Many people enjoy celebrating Independence Day with a trip to the beach. Washington State Parks offers the following tips to stay safe and be good stewards of the environment. 

Fireworks are illegal on all state park lands, including beaches in front of state parks. Discharging fireworks on state park lands can result in a $99 ticket.    

Washington State Parks also asks people respect any beach driving closures in areas designated to protect wildlife and marine habitat. Although it’s legal to drive onto the beach in several areas, all the rules of the road apply. The speed limit is 25 mph. Pedestrians and horses are always granted the right of way.  

Please note: 

  • You should only drive on hard-packed sand. Find a nearby paved parking lot and walk to the beach to avoid getting stuck in the sand. 
  • No parking is permitted along the entry to beach access points. Please obey all posted “No Parking” signs. Keep beach and beach approach roads clear. Congestion at access points limits the response ability for emergency vehicles. 
  • Cars parked below the high tide line may get stuck or washed out to sea. Tow support will be limited or unavailable. 
  • It’s always illegal to use drugs or alcohol and get behind the wheel. Open container laws apply to beaches. Keep safety belts buckled when moving. 

Finally, Washington State Parks asks visitors to dispose of their litter in designated receptacles. If one is not available, plan to bring trash bags to pack it out yourself. 

The holiday increases traffic and visitation to coastal beaches, which means there is a spike in amounts of litter. Last year, volunteers collected more than 35,000 pounds of garbage from ocean beaches during Parks’ annual July 5 beach cleanup. That’s equivalent to the combined weight of four adult orca whales. 

Any litter left behind on the beach threatens the safety and future of beach wildlife and marine life and can be unsafe for people and pets.  

If you are interested in helping keep our beaches safe and clean, join Washington State Parks on July 5 for a beach cleanup volunteer event. Washington CoastSavers will be putting a list of participating beaches and check-in locations on their website. Pre-registration is not necessary – just show up and help.  

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