BOGUE BANKS — It's Memorial Day weekend – the start of peak tourism season – and paid parking is in effect for many beachgoers in Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach and Pine Knoll Shores and for visitors in historic Beaufort.
In Emerald Isle, paid parking at the eastern and western ocean regional accesses began April 1, managed for the first time by a private company, NCParking.
The Western Ocean Regional Access is 0.4 miles from the B. Cameron Langston Bridge, off Islander Drive and beside Queen’s Court condominiums. The Eastern Ocean Regional Access is 6.4 miles from the bridge, between Pier Point and Ocean Reef condominiums. Both accesses have spaces for about 160 vehicles, restrooms, picnic pavilions, showers and decks.
Paid parking will be in place each day through Thursday, Sept. 30 with hourly rates that range from as low as $2 per hour in the spring on weekdays to as high as $4 on holiday and event weekends, as well as during the peak summer months. The maximum per-day fee is $16, but is lower during the $2 and $3 periods.
The hourly system replaced the town’s flat fee of $10 per day Friday through Sunday and holidays.
Fees must be paid from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a credit or debit card in the lots or with a smartphone app. Patrons may also download the Passport parking app in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Handicapped individuals, 100% disabled veterans, Purple Heart veterans from anywhere and Emerald Isle business owners qualify for one free parking permit if they provide official documentation to the town.
The town has lifeguards at both accesses and roving along the beach.
Emerald Isle town manager Matt Zapp said Thursday the new system has worked smoothly, so far.
“We are prepared for Memorial Day weekend and the expected increase of seasonal tourists,” he said. “NCParking continues to assist the town as our subcontractor. They share our vision and strive to enhance the customer experience for those visiting Emerald Isle.”
There’s also paid parking in town at the privately owned Bogue Inlet Pier off Bogue Inlet Drive. The fee is $5 for the first hour or $15 per day.
Pine Knoll Shores
Pine Knoll Shores has paid parking in two spots, the Iron Steamer Pier lot and Memorial Park. The fee is $10 Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays throughout the summer.
The Iron Steamer access is at 345 Salter Path Road in Pine Knoll Shores. The Memorial Park access is at 201 Salter Path Road.
There are no lifeguards along the beach in Pine Knoll Shores.
In Atlantic Beach, paid parking began May 8 and continues through Tuesday, Aug. 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The fee is $3 per hour and must be paid at parking stations using a credit or debit card. Free parking is available for those who display valid handicapped or disabled veteran tags or plates.
The paid parking lots are at the New Bern Avenue Beach Access, Henderson Boulevard Beach Access, West Boardwalk Coastal Area Management Act lot, Circle Point Grass lot, Circle Pavilion paved lot, Circle gravel dirt lot, Circle perimeter streets West Drive, Atlantic Boulevard and East Drive and adjacent to the Circle on West Bogue Boulevard, East Bogue Boulevard and Terminal Boulevard.
Designated spaces along the perimeter of West Drive and Atlantic Boulevard are 30-minute free parking.
A season pass is $75 and available at town hall during business hours. It must be attached to the windshield.
Lifeguard stands are located in front of Atlantic Boulevard along the main Circle beach access and boardwalk.
In Beaufort, paid parking started May 24 and runs through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fees, which escalate for the Front Street parking lots, begin at $1 per hour. The machines accept coin and credit. All the non-Front Street parking spaces carry a flat fee of $1 per hour.
A weekly parking pass is available for $25, a monthly parking pass is available for $100 and a seasonal parking pass is available for $20. All passes and subject to some restrictions, including time limits, except at Queen/Craven streets lots and Craven Street on-street. Additionally they are not valid in escalating lots.
Beaufort’s paid parking program uses digital pay stations which accept U.S. coins, debit and credit cards. Payments may also be made with the PayByPhone app. Registration and more information on the app are available at the website beaufortnc.org/community/page/pay-park-phone.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.