Two adults and a child who set up a tent on the top of a 280ft cliff had “no idea of the extreme danger they were in”, Coastguards said.
Rescue officers from Staithes and Whitby in North Yorkshire were called to an area along the Cleveland Way near Port Mugrave on Saturday lunchtime after a 999 call from a member of the public.
As well as the proximity to the sheer drop, rescuers said that area of the coast is also vulnerable to landslips.
Police officers called to the cliff-top issued a 27-year-old woman from Doncaster and a 30-year-old man from Middlesbrough with fixed penalty notices for contravening Covid restrictions.
Adam Turner, senior coastal operations officer for HM Coastguard, said: “The family were in an extremely perilous position with no idea of the extreme danger they were in.
“Cliff edges are really unstable and can easily collapse, as recent landslips in the area have shown.
“If you live near the coast and are in a position to take exercise there in line with current Covid-19 restrictions, please take care near cliffs.
“Keep to paths and stay well back from the cliff edge.
“Check the weather and tides before you head out, wear appropriate sturdy footwear and take a fully charged mobile phone, so if the worst should happen you can call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”
In a statement on Facebook, Staithes Coastguard said: “Safety advice was given from Coastguard rescue officers due to the dangerous location of their tent, especially with recent landslips.
“An officer from North Yorkshire Police also attended due to breach of coronavirus restrictions.”
The statement added: “If walking the Cleveland Way please stay on designated footpaths.”
North Yorkshire Police said officers were contacted at 1.30pm on Saturday.
As well as issuing the tickets, officers also gave words of advice over the dangers of the location and the threat posed to themselves and the young child who was with them.
A force spokesman said: “Everyone is aware of the current restrictions that are in place to stay at home to stop the spread of Covid, so to travel from Middlesbrough and Doncaster with the intention to camp overnight is obviously a clear breach of the regulations.
“But to then choose to pitch a tent in such a dangerous location is completely irresponsible.
“Not only were the individuals involved risking their own safety and the safety of the child who was with them, if a landslide had occurred, they would also be risking the lives of the emergency services who would attend the resulting incident.
“Our thanks go to the member of the public who reported their concerns and to our Coastguard colleagues who also attended. Their actions may have averted a completely preventable tragedy.
“The pandemic is not over and Covid still presents a risk to public health. Lockdown restrictions are still in place to stop the spread, so we must keep on adhering to the rules to protect all of our chances of moving out of lockdown.”