SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Not everyone can afford to take a week’s vacation, so many people take day trips to the Jersey Shore.
Some say even that is becoming unaffordable.
A day at the beach should be as carefree as it sounds, but some say it was anything but.
It started the week of July Fourth, when the prices to park on a slab of asphalt went through the roof.
“Several took advantage of people – $80, $100. It aggravated myself as mayor but also the members of council,” said Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz.
Vaz says the prices deter families from visiting. Free municipal spots get filled up quickly, especially on weekends, so people have to use the private lots.
On Friday most lots were charging a reasonable rate – $10 – but that price goes up to $20 or more on weekends. It’s worse on holidays.
“The hard working, blue collar people come down with X amount of dollars. If they have to spend $50-60 on the parking area it takes away from the rest of the business area,” said Seaside Heights Special Events Coordinator Michael Graichen.
“Yeah, people will definitely be turned away next year,” said Eddie Ralling, who works in Seaside Heights.
Families CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to on the boardwalk said if they have to spend that kind of cash to park, it leaves much less for fun.
“You want to find something you can afford to do and not break the bank,” said resident Christina Pasieka.
“That is atrocious,” said DJ Tworkoski of Toms River. “Come down here for tradition, have a good time with family, you shouldn’t have to face ridiculous fees and prices.”
“I wouldn’t have been able to have those memories if they were to charge that much when I was growing up,” he added.
Baker spoke to one lot owner who said his highest rate this season was $50.
“Generally raise the price to keep cars out of the lot, because when it’s very busy we can’t process so many cars,” said Jeff Bowden.
“Is there a way to regulate parking prices?” Baker asked Vaz.
“No, there is not a way. We looked into it,” he replied.
The borough is looking into purchasing more parking areas in order to regulate fair pricing. Meanwhile, your best bet may be to come early, get a free spot and beat the heat and the rush.
A lot owner told Baker he charge $50 because others do in towns like Point Pleasant.
On Friday, the highest Baker saw in Point Pleasant was $20.