Carolina Beach Town Council OKs $50 fine for Freeman Park camping violations

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Freeman Park on the north end of Carolina Beach. Photo by Caroline Curran.
Freeman Park on the north end of Carolina Beach. Photo by Caroline Curran.

With all 119 camping sites reserved for Memorial Day weekend on Freeman Park, Carolina Beach officials are looking toward enforcement, specifically for those who camp on the vehicle-accessible beach without a reservation.

Town council previously approved camping restrictions for Freeman Park, which took effect April 1. Anyone who wishes to camp overnight–whether in a tent or in a vehicle–must reserve a designated camping space on the town’s online reservation site.

Related story: Carolina Beach to require reservations, additional fees to camp on Freeman Park

On Tuesday, council approved a $50 fine for those who camp or attempt to camp on the beach without a reservation.

“We’ve been reserving and processing camping reservations since April,” Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer said. “So far it’s been working out very well. But we all know what’s coming at the end of next week. We’re sure that it will be much more intense.”

Reservations are required only for overnight campers, according to Cramer. The $10 reservation fee will be in place throughout the tourist season until Sept. 30. Reservations will be on a “first-come, first-serve basis,” Cramer said.

Campers can reserve a campsite based on location or availability per date. Campsites are divided into three zones, and campers select their desired zone and camping space when reserving a campsite. The designated campsites are along the dune line but are subject to change to account for seasonal high tides or other events, Cramer said.

From Oct. 1 through March 31, camping will be allowed “anywhere on the beach” without a reservation or fee, Cramer said. Day visitors can still set up tents, sunshades and canopies on the beach strand, but they must be removed before 11 p.m. each night.

The $10 fee is in addition to park access passes, which range from $30 a day–$50 for holidays–to $150 year, will still be required to access Freeman Park. Call (910) 458-4614 for more information or for questions about the new reservation system.