No Fun at the Beach for You, Californians!


Now THAT was some Huntington Beach fun! |||

The New York Times, generally speaking, may be positively disposed toward nanny-state regulations of the type that make Reason readers howl, but when it comes to California, the Paper of Record has been snorting with (deserved!) derision about the Golden State's regulatory march toward killing the wide-open lifestyle for which it was long famous. The latest installment in an ongoing series: "Is 'No Fun' Sign Next? California Beach Bonfires May Be Doused." Excerpt:

[T]hese days, a blizzard of restrictions — on everything from dogs to playing horseshoes — is being imposed on beach activities up and down the coast, turning beaches into sanitized zones that longtime beachgoers say barely resemble the freewheeling places they once knew.

Smoking is banned at many beaches across the state. On San Diego beaches, playing ball or tossing a Frisbee has been outlawed. Alcohol is no longer allowed on the sand in Huntington Beach. Even surfing is restricted to designated areas here, though this is "Surf City."

It was a simpler time. |||

And the next thing to go could be the fire pits — concrete rings designed to contain bonfires — which for many people are enduring features of a free, outdoor California lifestyle.

No one wants to hear Grandpa moan about the good old days, but having grown up warming my cockles around the fire pits of Huntington Beach, this stuff just bogues my high.

Related beach shenanigans:

* The Five-Step Regulatory Guide to Converting a World-Class Beach Town into a Pile of Shit

* California Aims to Ban Everything You Might Do, Including Passing New Bans

* Throw a Football or Frisbee on an L.A. Beach, Pay a Thousand-Dollar Fine

* Protecting Venice Beach From Boardwalk Commerce, Protecting Free Speech by Banning T-Shirts

NEXT: NOAA Fishery Regulations Relentless, Vindictive, Overzealous, Not Based on Science, Says Massachusetts Democrat

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  1. Hispanics from The 909 like to use the fire rings, so they must go!

  2. See those people enjoying themselves around that fire? There must be some reason we can ban it!

  3. Stop whining. You can’t do any of that at New Jersey beaches since, like, forever. Except for tossing a frisbee or ball. Ball play is still okay, as long as it’s not pocket pool.

    1. But the jersey shore was never fun

    2. I remember visiting the Jersey Shore and pulling a beer from the cooler. I was immediately told to put it in a Solo Cup.

      Yes, drinking beer is ok, as long as it’s not from a can or a bottle.

    3. It’s been going on for a while in California, too. Santa Barbara was doing this shit 30 years ago.

      1. Alas, I was present at the scene of the “Open Container Ordinance” crime as well….

  4. There is only 1 beach left in LA County that allows fires: Dockweiler. If you don’t mind the stench of sewage or the constant noise from jumbo jets taking off, it’s quite a relaxing place!

  5. “this stuff just bogues my high” Matt were you Spicoli?

    1. It was more of an aspiration.

  6. All of those bans seem like reasonable, common sense compromises that Californians seem to support at the national level.

  7. …this stuff just bogues my high.

    Eh? Is that a verbal form of bogus, as in, to make bogus? Or is it something to do with Bogarting? Damn Grandpa Welch and his out of date slang.

    1. Can we get a consarnit next time gramps.

    2. I believe it refers to having one’s mellow harshed.

  8. This also makes me thing of that old South Park episode. I’m just waiting for the day when people are just standing around on the beaches chanting, “Happy happy happy, everyone is happy.”

  9. Just part of the infantization of America. Now even adults are not allowed to have unsupervised fun. Everything must be done cooperatively and safely. How are we ever going to create the new Soviet man if we allow people to enjoy themselves unsupervised?

  10. The comments at the NYT are reliably idiotic. People are like, “This is nonsense! Let’s ban X first.”

  11. California has sand in its clit. Move away as fast as you can.

  12. The reason the fire pits may be removed from HB beaches is a good example of the general regulatory bureaucrat mess.

    This started when some people in Newport Beach petitioned their city to have specific fire pits closed that were too close to their homes with the prevailing on shore breeze blowing smoke into their houses. It was a few people out of hundreds of fire pits their. The problem was that the city couldn’t just remove the few offending fire pits because of the CA coastal commission. Tangentially, the city has be liable for people that get burned by walking into firepits to the tune of millions of dollars.

    So the city petitioned the coastal commission to remove all of the fire pits using bogus overall air quality issues as the reason and citing the few legitimate complaints as evidence. Then the AQMD ‘discovered’ that coastal fires were a ‘serious’ health issue and pushed for the removal of all of the firepits in ‘their’ area.

    1. Kinda funny, and somewhat similar. I used to work at a bar in a very tiny town. It was the only bar inside the jurisdiction, and right across from city hall, to give you an idea of how small we’re talking. The owners wanted to ban smoking, but didn’t want to piss people off, so they went over to city hall and asked them to ban it so we could come off looking like the good guys. Not surprisingly, it still adversely affected our business.

    2. Tangentially, the city has be liable for people that get burned by walking into firepits to the tune of millions of dollars.

      I knew Californians were stupid, but really? People actually walked into fire pits? WTF?

      Then the AQMD…

      Al Quaeda of Maryland?

      1. I know a guy that did it one. With enough alcohol, anything is possible.

        1. My buddy fell into one with low-riding pants. His (short-term) nickname became Rump Roast.

  13. The beaches in CA (at least the few I’ve been to) suck to begin with – pebbly “sand”, cold water. Now they want to take what little fun was still to be had away? More proof CA overall is a shithole.

    1. Do go on….. Tell us what paradise you reside in, free of bureaucrats and pebbles…

      1. Here. As long as you don’t molest the sea turtles. Last weekend included beer, fires, fireworks, ball playing, frisbee throwing and fishing.

    2. Which beaches did you go to? I’ve lived in northern and southern california and I’ve rarely been to a bad beach. Our water can definitely be cold though.

      1. Silver Strand in San Diego, someplace up near LA (forget), Ocean Beach (the one near Camp Pendleton).

        The CA beaches are crap compared to the Bahamas and the FL Gulf Coast.

        1. Oops – Solana Beach, not Ocean Beach. And Oceanside.

        2. But at least we don’t have African land snails like Florida does!

          I haven’t actually been to any Gulf Coast beaches (it’s on my domestic travel to do list), I’ve heard good things. The water at my local beach is in the mid-60s currently, which is warm for this early in the season and about where I like it. Any warmer and it saps your energy.

          1. You’ll find bathwater warm seas in the FL Gulf and Bahamas. Perfect for just floating along. The snorkeling in the Bahamas can’t be beat, either. Just swim right off the beach to the reef!

            But I’m a total landlubber, so when I do get dragged to the beach, I prefer the sugary sand and warm waters. And a cabana boy.

            1. Haha, I totally need a cabana boy this summer. I should make that happen.

              My early childhood was in Northern CA, so I like my water…brisk (average temps mid-50s to low-60s), and I like my sand fairly fine, but coarse enough that you can build a decent sand castle with it. My nieces and nephews love that I’m willing to participate in Operation Sand Fortress anytime we go down to the beach, particularly the two-year-old that thinks she’s in a kaiju movie.

  14. Years ago when visiting family in San Diego, I enjoyed having campfires on Ocean Beach. At least, until a group of dirty folks probably living in their cat came up and helped themselves to our firewood (which we had spent an hour or two looking for until the nice Home Depot guy let us raid the scraps bin in the.lumber section) and proceeded to burn it at a ridicous rate. Then they lit up a bunch of joints and got loud, drawing the attention of the police, who tried to bust us for drinking alcohol on the beach. Meanwhile the firewood leeches melted back into the night, probably to fuck with someone else’s good times.

    1. a group of dirty folks…came up and helped themselves to our firewood

      Why didn’t you stop them?
      Didn’t you have guns?
      This would never happen in the South.

  15. Why do Reason’s California libertarians continue to live there?
    Who is forcing them? Haven’t they heard of the Free State Project?

    1. Because the political class here hasn’t (yet) figured out how to ruin the weather.

      1. So ruinously high taxes, burdensome regulations, suffocating nanny-state decrees…well worth putting up with, because it’s sunny outside? Somebody should inform New Hampshire that they don’t have a chance.

    2. I for one do not. Though it’s not like Brooklyn is a more friendly regulatory environment.

      1. Californians drink their 32-oz. Pepsis with pride!

        In your face, NYC!

  16. And the next thing to go could be the fire pits ? concrete rings designed to contain bonfires

    So let me get this straight. You need “concrete rings designed to contain bonfires” in the middle of an ocean of sand? Dare I say that even without a ring, the fucking fire isn’t going anywhere?

    1. Many CA beaches are bordered by hills with coastal scrub on them. Coastal sage, grasses, stuff like that. Southern CA at least is fairly well known for its flammability.

      1. And fire rings will do nothing to keep those from catching on fire any more than a fire surrounded by 50 feet of sand on all sides.

        1. I was thinking more that where the rings were marked a safe distance zone for fires, not that the rings themselves contained the fires. They’re pointless and stupid on some of the beaches (Huntington and Dockweiler for example) because the beaches are bounded by parking lots rather than scrub. I wouldn’t be surprised if the rings went in before the parking lots and just became a feature of the beaches though.

          1. If nothing else they have an advantage similar to marking parking spaces in a parking lot – in an unmarked lot no-one seems to be able to figure out who to park efficiently and here without them you’d have burnt firewood every-fething-where on the beach.

  17. Coincidental- you make the call? Things started going down hill on Cal beaches about the time Dana Rohrabacher (the “Surfing Congressman”) left to seek his fortune in Washington D.C. in the ’80s.

  18. These left-coast liberals enact laws that are more conservative than their bible-thumping counterparts in flyover country. The ONLY topic they are liberal on is sex, every other topic they are as conservative as Saudis.

    1. And they’re not really liberal about sex either. Look at campus sexual harassment regulations.

      They talk a good game about it but are just as repressive as conservatives. The only difference is the liberal like to make you think its ok and just add so many restrictions that it becomes impossible to do legally while the conservative just simply outlaw it.

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