Florida town fining people for bringing umbrellas to the beach, could it happen in SWFL?


FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. – People looking for some shade on one Florida beach are finding a fine instead.

The Town of Belleaire Shore in Pinellas County is dishing out citations to anyone that puts up any form of temporary sun shade while on the sand.

“I’d be like ‘Are you serious? For an umbrella on the beach? I’m getting fined,’” said Don Diedrick, who’s visiting Fort Myers Beach from the Orlando area.

It’s not just umbrellas. Also included in the laws are tents, canopies and even half-circle sunshades. Anything you can bring with you to shade the sun is illegal while oceanfront, according to town ordinance.

“I think it’s dumb,” said Madison Hogeveeen.

Albeit bizarre, it’s the law of the land on the small beach island. Breaking the ordinance could burn your wallet, with a ticket running well over $100.

“I’d fight it. I’d fight the ticket,” said Paige Smart. “It’s a public beach. We can bring chairs. Why can’t we bring an umbrella?”


People opposing Belleaire Shore’s ban on umbrellas think it’s because the town’s 80 residents want to preserve their pristine views.

“Oh my God. That’s ridiculous and that’s selfish,” said Andres Topchi.

“They’re not that high up. So you can still see the ocean. It’s huge,” Abbie Nosuk added.

Sunshades aren’t just to keep your cooler cool. For some, it’s their only way to safely sit seaside.

“I’ve had enough skin damage, so I’ve got to be covered,” Diedrick said. “I would never go to a beach where you’re going to get fined for having an umbrella.”

If you’re looking to hit our Southwest Florida beaches, don’t worry, there aren’t any laws banning sun shades up and down our shore. But still, people on our beaches don’t mind throwing shade at the idea.

“It’s awful,” Smart said.

“That doesn’t make sense. That’s not right,” Diedrick added.

“It’s the ‘Get off my lawn!’ people,” said Topchi.

To read the full ordinance from the Town of Belleaire Shore, click here.

Tags: beachessunshade banSWFL beachesTown of Belleaire Shore


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