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How to avoid parking tickets at the beach

 

It was good while it lasted. Summer is here and so are the parking meters.

They go up around Memorial Day weekend. I have gotten dinged twice. Each ticket costs $3o. I keep meaning to pay the tickets but keep forgetting. Perhaps I am being generous with the word “forgetting.” I just do not want to pay the tickets. But, pay I must for the fines will continue to increase if I don’t.

Whether you live here or you are just visiting, the parking meters are not to be fooled with. This is how beach communities make their money. There is no such thing as a grace period.

 

If you are local, then you have no doubt had a conversation about the dreaded meters and parking in downtown Rehoboth Beach and Lewes. I know in Ocean City, Dewey Beach similar conversations are being had.

So what is a tourist or a local with places to go, people to see, but no quarters to feed the meters to do?

You have a couple of options.

  • You can carry a boatload of quarters and set a timer and be sure you are not a second late feeding the meter. People are nice in Rehoboth and Lewes, but if you are second late you are getting a ticket.
  • Another option is to pay with your credit card. Some of the meters, dare I say most, accept credit cards. Not all of them do. The ones on Olive and Virginia Avenue in Rehoboth do not. Here is a link to Rehoboth Beach’s parking meter map. That is where I had just one quarter and got a ticket. You still have to go back and pay after the maximum amount of time has expired. I think it is three hours. Again, you have to pay attention and you have got to a set a timer on your phone.

A co-worker mentioned there is an app for paying parking meters, and some of the meters do allow you to use your smartphone to pay. That is right, you can continue to sit on the beach, relax and beat the meter maid or meter man as the case may be.

Parkmobile is one app that can be used at some of the meters in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, and Dewey. I have never downloaded the app and I have never used it, so I cannot claim first-hand knowledge. I am considering downloading one of the parking apps, but I am not there yet. I just got an iPhone after using androids for the last 10 years. I am not an early adapter.

I also don’t like the idea of having my credit card information on my phone. If I lose my phone, which happens sometimes,  I would panic. I will stick with quarters and credit cards when it comes to the meters.

Parking passes are also available, at least in Rehoboth Beach, people can buy a season pass for $75 or pay $10 per day, a bargain. People with passes can park in residential areas, not as close to all of the action.

Another option, for some, is to take the DART buses into Rehoboth Beach, Dewey or Lewes. People can park at the transfer stations and just not worry about getting a ticket. Another option is to buy the Delaware State Park season pass. We paid $30 for ours and we can go to Cape Henlopen State Park and not worry about quarters and credit cards. We can go to Gordon’s Pond, just down the road and nestled away from Rehoboth Beach. You can make it from Gordon’s Pond to downtown Rehoboth on a bike. The pass is also good at any other Delaware state park. That means access to Delaware Seashore State Park and more, so much more. If you are local, buy the pass, it is so worth it. If you are not local but plan on staying for a while or returning, buy the pass, it is so worth it.

I can’t tell you much about the parking situation in Ocean City, but I can tell you if you are coming for the Fourth of July and want to park, your best bet is to park at the Inlet parking lot. Ocean City just rolled out a program that allows you to pay a flat fee of $50 to park there from 6 a.m. until midnight. If you decide to park at 12 p.m., the fee is $30 and after 3 p.m., provided you find a space, it is $20. Ocean City recommends riding the bus. Can’t help you there, but a co-worker recommends it.

Just some thoughts. I am sure if you ask other locals there are plenty of others. One thing is or certain, if you get the ticket, pay the ticket.

In Rehoboth Beach, you can pay your tickets at any one of the red boxes, by mail or online. I am paid mine online this morning. I waited two weeks to pay mine and the fines went from $30 per ticket to $45 per ticket. Ouch. Enjoy my $92 City of Rehoboth. Yes, there is also a fee on top of the fine.  I am crossing my fingers that I do not get another ticket for the rest of the season.