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Is it legal to charge for events on the beach?

Judy Royal

In North Carolina, the beaches are free and belong to everyone. So why did you go down to the beach along the Boardwalk in Carolina Beach on a June Saturday only to find out you had to pay $15 to walk on that particular patch of sand? Is that even legal?

Yes it is, according to the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. Events such as the Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival are permitted under certain guidelines. Here’s what Michele Walker, DCM public information officer, had to say:

“This type of event is allowed, so long as it is a temporary, town-sponsored event and they have the necessary CAMA (Coastal Area Management Authority) permit for the temporary structures used during the event.”

So don’t go thinking we’re turning all New Jersey just yet (they make you pay and wear a tag on your bathing suit to go on the beach). That admission fee will be gone tomorrow and besides, there’s plenty of free beach all around the blocked-off area.

User-contributed question by:
Michelle Swart

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3 Responses to “ Is it legal to charge for events on the beach?”

  1. On June 19, 2009 at 9:08 am Tueggs Kramboldt wrote:

    You better believe that every NC coastal community looking to raise funds for beach nourishment (which is just about every coastal community except Sunset Beach) is, or soon will be, investigating how they can charge people to use the public beach as, you accurately pointed out, is common – and widely accepted – in NJ.

  2. On June 22, 2009 at 11:05 am Newbomb Turk wrote:

    It may be allowable to erect temporary structures on the beach, but is it allowable to charge people to get on the beach or, worse, walk along the beach?

    I think that’s the issue here.

  3. On June 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm Judy Royal wrote:

    Yes, according to the information above from the N.C. Division of Coastal Management it is legal to charge for temporary, town-sponsored events that have the necessary permits for structures used during the event. The question posed to that agency was, “Is it permissible by law to fence off a section of the beach and charge admission for an event in N.C.?” not whether temporary structures are allowable.

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