The Adopt-A-Beach®/Canyon program is a volunteer-led program that makes it easy for you to run a cleanup independently at your chosen location! Schedule a date and time that works for you! This program is for all groups of all ages!

Volunteers are welcome to participate in litter abatement as often as they would like (even just once!), but to officially adopt a site your group would have to do a minimum of three cleanups in one calendar year at that location and report your litter data to I Love A Clean San Diego after each one. Volunteers who collect and report detailed litter data from their cleanups can also be recognized through our sign program, at participating locations.

Why Adopt?

33,482 lbs of litter

diverted from our oceans by Adopt-A-Beach/Canyon volunteers since 2019

Litter and other harmful materials travel through our watersheds and end up in our oceans. This is extremely dangerous for Earth’s ecosystems. Plastic marine debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals every year.

Litter happens everywhere in San Diego County and it travels unfiltered through our storm drains and natural streams out to our beaches and bays. It is up to us all to keep our beaches and shared spaces clean and safe for all.

As an Adopt-A-Beach/Canyon Volunteer, you will pick up and report essential litter data that provides a snapshot of what is impacting our communities. This data is shared with the California Coastal Commission and Ocean Conservancy to track the state of litter in San Diego County over time. Data from this program helped pass the California Bag Ban, and we hope to continue to create lasting change with your help!


Map of Adoptable Locations across San Diego County

How to Get Started!

1. Find your site

There are 80 adoptable locations throughout San Diego County!


2. Schedule your cleanup

Schedule a date and time that works for you at our Community Hub! Please schedule a minimum of 1 month in advance to be reviewed and permitted by I Love A Clean San Diego. Staff will reach out if there are issues with availability.


3. Gather your cleanup supplies

Limited supplies are available at our office for pick up during office hours (Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 4 PM), and closed on holidays. These supplies include disposable and reusable gloves, buckets, trash bags, and data cards. We strongly encourage volunteers to use reusable garden gloves from home to reduce the amount of plastic. We are unable to provide trash grabbers at this time.

4. Report your data and return your waivers

We require a signed release-of-liability waiver for all volunteers, and anyone under 18 needs a waiver signed by a guardian. Please download and print the waiver, have everyone in your group sign it, and drop it off at the office after you are done with your cleanup (can be up to a week post-cleanup event).

This program also requires that volunteers report their detailed litter data after their cleanup event. As you collect, you will note how much of each type of litter you picked up. We encourage you all to clean up in teams, with one person as the citizen scientist recording the data! This is important for us to track trends over time, areas in need, and create more targeted educational material. Please return your data cards to the office after your cleanup (can be up to a week post-cleanup event) or enter them online at our Community Hub. Please note you will have to report this data each time if you would like to be eligible to adopt a location officially.


5. Repeat for a total of three cleanups at one location!

Once you have cleaned up a location three times within a calendar year, delivered all of your waivers, and reported your litter data you will have officially adopted a location! Some locations honor this with a sign of recognition that proudly displays your group’s name for at least six months at the site. On the Community Hub map, you can filter for sites that are eligible for the Signage Program.

Educational Presentations

We offer educational presentations to first-time adopters if requested and approved ahead of time for locations within Central San Diego! These presentations are given to your group before your cleanup. They discuss the watershed system, the effects of marine debris on the environment, the importance of volunteerism, and a brief safety talk. Please note that these presentations are not guaranteed, depend on staff availability, and need to be requested in advance.


Beach Wheelchair Access

If a volunteer requires the use of a beach wheelchair, the California Coastal Commission has a map of locations with wheelchairs available free of charge. Click here to view available locations. You will have to contact the beaches directly to make those arrangements.


Yes! You are welcome to do as many cleanups as you would like at a location of your choosing, even if that means doing it only once! However, to have adopted the location you must cleanup a minimum of three times in a calendar year.
If you require volunteer hours for work, school, or another organization, we are able to provide you with a Letter of Appreciation after you report your data from your cleanup. However, if you are looking to fulfill court-ordered hours, this is not an eligible program, since it is a self-led cleanup. We do offer opportunities that qualify for court-ordered hours through our regularly scheduled and staffed cleanups and volunteer opportunities.
Any age is welcome to participate! Only persons over the age of 13 can make an account but anyone with an account can register a group. Please read the site’s individual webpage closely to make sure it is a good fit for your family.
Dress for success: Volunteers should wear closed toed shoes, have some form of sun protection (hat and/or sunscreen) as well as bring a water bottle or two! Volunteers in canyon locations with exposure to poison oak should wear light weight long pants and long sleeves for protection. Bring all your supplies: We have limited supplies available at our office for pick up during office hours (disposable gloves and trash bags) but if you would like to be zero waste champions we would recommend bringing reusable garden gloves and a bucket. Sign your waivers and complete your data cards: You can print these out at home or pick up some hardcopies at our office during office hours. Please be sure to return them when you have completed your cleanup!
Yes! All participants are required to sign a waiver, and any volunteer under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian signature. Waivers will be available to download on the Community Hub. After your cleanup, please submit the signed waivers back to I Love A Clean San Diego, you can drop them off at the office during office hours (Monday – Friday from 9 AM – 4 PM) or by mail.
No, our Adopt-A-Beach/Canyon program is a self-led, independent cleanup opportunity. I Love A Clean San Diego provides you with material to help you take the lead but no staff will not be on site on the day. If you would like I Love A Clean San Diego to plan a custom cleanup for your group from start to finish please check out our Corporate CleanBuilding Program instead.
Limited supplies are available at our office for pick up at 5797 Chesapeake Court, Suite 200 during office hours. Our office is open Monday Friday from 9 AM 4 PM, and closed on holidays. These supplies include disposable gloves, buckets and trash bags. We strongly encourage volunteers to use only one disposable glove each to save on plastic or bring a pair of garden gloves from home. At our office, you will also be able to pick up hard copies of our waivers and the data cards for your group if you don't have access to a printer. Due to inventory, we are unable to provide trash grabbers at this time.
Select your cleanup location from the 80 different site options found here! From there you can select a date and time that works for you and register your whole group!
Choose the location of your cleanup out of our 80 adoptable sites through our Community Hub. Next, select the date for your cleanup. If you have an account simply Login. If you are new to our community hub click “New Volunteer” to create an account. Then enter your group name if applicable, time of cleanup, and number of participants. If this is not part of a group effort, you can enter your name and select 1 under participants. Once all of the details have been entered, click save. Our staff has approved the time and date of your cleanup, you will receive communication via email to schedule a supply pickup, directions for reporting litter totals, and reminders.
Yes, if you are looking to adopt a location by doing three cleanups they must all happen in the calendar year. The clock starts January 1 not with your first cleanup event.


Funded In-Part By Supporting Sponsors


Adopt-a-Beach is supported by the WHALE TAIL® Coastal Protection License Plate grant and donations from the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund. The WHALE TAIL® License Plate is an official specialty license plate issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Proceeds from sales of the plate benefit the Adopt-a-Beach program.

Help support programs that support California’s coast by getting your license plate today!

Contact Us


Volunteer Programs Coordinators – Program Support & Volunteer Assistance



Steve Morris – Donations & Corporate Support


Honoring 2023 Adopters

Anna Woodward, ASCENDtials, Aylus, Charlotte Sach, Church Ave., Civilian Agency, Clean Sweep Gang, Crispy Tina’s clean-up crew, Daniela Tasevska, Earth Care Madams, Francis Fuentebella, GOHAM RADIO, HMC Architects, IKEA San Diego, Jesus Villarreal, Let’s Pick-up Trash & Plant Trees, Liberty Military Housing, Mater Dei Catholic Student, Michelle Ledesma, Millipore Sigma, Ms. Rose’s Garden & Environmental Science Students, Nathan Lawrence, NAVCON Brig Miramar, Nguyen Family – Promenade, Novartis, Pacific Photographic Society, Pride Industries, Project Kolika, Room & Board, Rowena Beckett, Shrimad Rajchandra Love and Care, Tochukwu Chidiebere, TVIA-SD1, Windansea Surf Club, and Zsarah Lynn Tran.