Skip to main content

WATCH: KPBS Evening Edition is live

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Injustice

Pack Your Patience If You’re Going To The Beach This Weekend

San Diego Police beach patrol vehicles shown at Mission Beach on May 27, 2021.

Photo by John Carroll

Above: San Diego Police beach patrol vehicles shown at Mission Beach on May 27, 2021.

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend, Mission Beach was a relatively calm scene before the holiday weekend storm. San Diego Police Captain Scott Wahl told KPBS that police are expecting hundreds of thousands of people to fill the beaches.

“We’re expecting large crowds to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather, beautiful beaches," he said.

Reported by John Carroll , Video by Guillermo Sevilla

What a difference a year makes, especially when the year in between Memorial Day 2020 and 2021 was marked by the worst pandemic of our lifetime. Last Memorial Day weekend, beach parking lots were closed and access to the sand was limited.

But more and more people are getting vaccinated every day, as COVID-19 fades. So, pent up demand to experience the natural beauty of our beaches is going to mean huge crowds over this holiday weekend.

“We have increased our staffing considerably. We’ve brought police officers from throughout the city to come out here and work our beaches," Wahl said.

The idea is for everyone to have a good, safe time. Wahl said that starts by getting here nice and early.

But getting here early means more than finding a primo place on the sand. You won’t even see the beach if you can’t find a place to park.

“These parking lots are only so big. Once they’re full, there’s no more parking. So, bring your patience," Wahl said.

RELATED: County Health Agency Lifts Closure of Coronado Beaches

Other things to keep in mind: no drinking alcohol or smoking on San Diego beaches. If you’re going to build a fire, it has to be in one of the fire pits. Dispose of whatever you bring in properly or take it with you. And if you or your family plan on going into the water, be aware of conditions.

“We’re making a lot of rescues. The water’s very warm," said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Lonnie Stephens.

Stephens suggested a couple of quick, easy things to do to put safety first: “Always swim near a lifeguard or in a guarded area. Check in with a lifeguard when you get here, we’ll give you those best areas to swim.”

If you’re going to drive a motorized boat and you’re under 40 you need to have a boating card. And of course, drinking while driving a boat is against the law.

It’s really all about shared responsibility — everyone doing their part to make the unofficial start of summer 2021 a moment to enjoy some great times at the beach and to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Listen to this story by John Carroll


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

John Carroll
General Assignment Reporter & Anchor

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI'm a general assignment reporter and Saturday morning radio anchor for KPBS. I love coming up with story ideas that aren't being covered elsewhere, but I'm also ready to cover the breaking news of the day. In addition, I bring you the local news headlines on Saturday mornings during NPR's Weekend Edition.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.