SOUTHEAST N.C. — One of the main attractions of Southeastern North Carolina is the beach; from Pender County all the way to the South Carolina Border, the beaches in the Cape Fear region are a selling point. With warmer weather (hopefully) on the way, heading out to the beach for a day of fun in the sun is just around the corner, but sometimes that is easier said than done.
When it comes to accessibility, not all beaches or beach towns were created equal. Parking and easy access to the beach can play a role in choosing the best beach to visit.
Some beach towns offer visitors free parking options while others, like Wrightsville Beach, have steadily increasing costs for parking.
On Thursday, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Alderman voted once again to increase parking fees on the island as well as add additional hours of enforcement for metered spaces.
Hourly parking rates will stay the same for now, but daily rates have increased from $15 to $17. In parking lots with restroom facilities, like the lots a Johnny Mercer’s Pier and across from The Oceanic paid parking was enforced from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., now enforcement will continue until 8 p.m.
Other parking spaces that were enforced from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. will now be monitored until 7 p.m., according to Town Manager Tim Owens.
The Board of Alderman also voted to remove meters and move to the pay-by-phone program on Waynick Boulevard as well as on North Lumina, from approximately the Holiday Inn and north. There will also be more parking added on Causeway Drive, Owens said.
In Carolina Beach, parking is also limited as well as paid for by visitors, enforcement begins at 8 a.m. and stops after 7 p.m. beginning April 1. When using a parking meter in Carolina Beach, the cost is $2 per hour. Daily rates in Carolina Beach lots for regular vehicles and small trucks is $10 per day.
Kure Beach is one of the few beach towns that offer free parking to visitors, although last summer the town held a paid parking trial period. Just down the road at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, parking is also free to beachgoers.
Heading north to Surf City, free parking can be found, but it is limited and in Topsail Beach, all town parking is free.
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