Beach fees on the rise as summer approaches

May 23, 2012 4:42:48 AM PDT
The countdown to Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer is on, and according to the AccuWeather forecast, this could be a beach weekend.

But before you grab the umbrellas and chairs, you should know that some beach fees are on the rise. The vehicle fee at Sandy Hook used to be $10 per car or $50 for a season pass, but not anymore. Now, in order to enjoy the sand and sun, it's going to cost you more.

The balmy breeze and relaxing pace of a day at the beach, catching some rays or flying a kite, is one of benefits of the New Jersey coastline. But at Gateway National Recreation Parks, fees are going up.

The Sandy Hook fees are up to $15 a vehicle and $75 for a season vehicle pass. At Jacob Riis Park in Queens, fees are now $10 a vehicle and $65 for a season pass. Great Kills Park in Staten Island, however, remains free.

The increases are not sitting well with many beachgoers.

"Spending $15 if you want to go to the beach, that's expensive," Jessy Menati said.

"This beach is great because there's so many things to do here, and it's very relaxing and quiet," Naomi Carabajal said. "I love bringing my dog. And I'm really upset that they're going to raise the rates. It's really a disappointment. I might not come here as often as I used to."

But others appreciate the cleanliness of the park and acknowledge that you get what you pay for.

"This beach is beautiful," Martine Carabajal said. "They keep it clean. I feel safe and secure, and everything has to be paid for."

Going to the beach on foot or by bike is still free.

All the money will go to upkeep and maintenance. There has not been a parking fee increase at Sandy Hook since 2001, and the National Parks Service points out that they backed off doubled fees this year after hearing residents concerns.

As for some of the other beach fees that you will be paying across the area this summer, Jones Beach on Long Island charges a $10 vehicle entrance fee.

Along the Jersey shore, it costs $7 for a daily badge at Belmar and Point Pleasant. Seaside Heights charges $5, while the beaches in Atlantic City and Wildwood are free.

There is also free beach access in New York City, but that does not include parking for some of the borough beaches.

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