Know the rules before you head to the beach

Violations can result in jail, fines of several hundred dollars or more

With spring break nearly here, many students and residents will likely already have plans to head out to the beach and enjoy the spring weather while it lasts. If you happen to be one of them and are currently counting down the days until you can put away your schoolbooks and pick up your surfboard or fishing gear, you should refresh yourself on the city’s beach rules.

In Corpus Christi and the surrounding area, there are two types of beaches: Gulf beaches and beaches within city limits. Gulf beaches have more allowances for certain activities but come with an expanded list of regulations for those activities. The beaches within city limits, such as McGee Beach and North Beach, also have rules specific to them. Make sure that when you are planning a trip to the beach, you know which type of beach you are going to and which list of rules one should abide by.


Glass containers are forbidden on all beaches in Nueces County, due to the physical health risks that broken glass poses to wildlife and other beachgoers. It is recommended to bring a reusable tumbler or bottle, as they don’t create waste. These can be found and purchased at just about any store or your local tourist trap.


If you decide instead to bring plastic bottles and aluminum cans to the beach, or any other disposable items, it is asked that beachgoers leave the beach better than they found it. For this purpose, the Visitor Information Center found at 1521 N. Chaparral St. distributes bags for your trash. These bags can also be found on the beaches in designated blue boxes.

Any pets you bring with you to the beach should be on a leash, and you should stock up on small plastic bags, as it is required that all beachgoers pick up their pet’s waste.


Driving on McGee Beach and North Beach is prohibited, and all standard rules of the road and city ordinances apply while driving on the Gulf beaches.

The standard speed limit on the beach is 15 mph. Any vehicle parked on the beach also requires a parking permit, which can be purchased from participating grocery stores and convenience stores around the city. A list of participating locations can be found at

While all street legal ATVs are allowed at vehicle accessible Gulf beaches, driving in the sand dunes is strictly prohibited. Driving in the dunes damages vegetation vital to protecting the dune ecosystem and can be dangerous.


Camping and campfires are not allowed on McGee Beach and North Beach.

Gulf beaches allow for overnight camping, which can offer a close to home option for those who want to spend a night under the stars without having to take the long trip up to Lake Corpus Christi. If you choose to go and set up a tent for spring break, it’s important to know that camping is only allowed for up to three consecutive days and nights, and you are restricted to only six days within the same month.

Campfires are allowed on most Gulf beaches but must be no larger than three cubic feet in size. When you are done with your campfire you must ensure that it is fully extinguished and you must fill the hole in the sand that was created for it.

Canopies cannot be left up overnight and should be taken down after sundown.

BBQ pits are not allowed on McGee Beach or North Beach, and neither are “inflatable games” such as bouncy castles.


If you make the brave decision of violating any of these rules, the punishment prescribed in Corpus Christi’s beach ordinance code is a fine of no more than $500 for every day the offense was committed. That is an amount greater than the tuition cost for six credit hours in the fall.

A complete list of beach rules and a link to the city’s beach ordinance code can be found at

2 thoughts on “Know the rules before you head to the beach

  1. This article was very helpful in informing how you can follow rules to protect our beaches. It is important to know what you are doing wrong, how you can change it, and how you can help the community. I enjoyed this article because know I am more informed and I know what steps I can take to care of my own neighborhood and community.

  2. This article was very informational and very convinient to be on this website. It really is important to know the rules and consequences of being at the beach. Especially with summer here and many people wanting to go and spend time with their families. It is really good for people to have easy access to know what is allowed and not allowed. Also to spread awareness on how important is is to keep our beaches clean, and ocean life safe.

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