My Water Quality - Safe to Swim

Can I Swim at My Coastal Beach?

Swimming on the beach

The vast majority of the time, California's waters are open and available for recreation uses visitors enjoy. Unfortunately, there are times when it is not advisable to go in the waters due to bacterial contamination.

  • County Health Agency Ocean Beach Closures and Postings
    County health agency websites and contact information provide the most immediate information on ocean beach postings and closures.
    • Postings - Warnings to avoid contact with the water; monitoring shows bacteria levels exceed standards.
    • Closures - Prohibitions on uses of water. Imminent public health threats, such as sewage spills.

  • Beach Report Card logoHeal the Bay Ocean Beach Report Card
    A third party rating system that evaluates the water quality of individual California beaches, based on the previous 4 weeks of monitoring data. The same monitoring data are submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board from county health agencies. Heal the Bay's report cards are updated weekly. Report card grades are based on the State's water quality standards for recreational waters. Click on a county and then on a specific beach to view information about that beach. Not a state-affiliated website.

  • Waterkeeper Swim GuideWaterkeeper Alliance logo
    • Discover a wide variety of beaches, ranging from city parks to remote lakes ideal for camping
    • Identify at a glance which beaches are clean for swimming (Green) and which have water quality problems (Red) – updated almost daily
    • Get walking, driving, or transit directions to the beach of your choice
    • Bookmark beaches for easy access
    • Share your love for the best swimming holes on social media
    • Help protect your waterway by reporting pollution or environmental concerns
    • Not a state-affiliated website

  • Assessments for Freshwater Lakes and Streams
    Currently, few agencies and organizations provide such assessments electronically. Contact your local park, concessionaire, or county health agency for more information.


(updated 3/22/16 )