Some people can’t afford to go to the beach, and lawmakers want to change that

California’s 1,100 miles of coastal beaches, many with soft sand and great waves and fun piers, are among the state’s greatest assets, destinations for locals and visitors alike.

But new research shows that for many Californians, the beach is out of reach.

While the beach itself is intended to be free or inexpensive, ancillary expenses and social barriers often make it tough for low-income residents to enjoy a day on the sand.

This week, legislation was introduced in Sacramento aimed at fixing that problem. If passed, Assembly Bill 250 would direct the state Coastal Conservancy to develop new, low-cost accommodations and improve existing affordable accommodations, with the goal of making a trip to the beach more accessible for families that don’t have a lot of money and might have to travel far.

“It’s heartbreaking to see lower-income families and middle-class families who never have seen the beach or enjoyed waking up to the sounds of tides and the salt in the air,” said Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, who introduced the legislation Monday.

“It’s heartbreaking for me because it’s such a part of the California experience.”

The bill comes days after researchers at UCLA released a study that details how travel costs and lack of affordable accommodations prevent low-income families from going to the beach.

The average travel cost for a one-day visit to the beach was $22 (not including parking or food), according to the study….

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