By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Don’t even think about carrying beach tags with you the next time you want to stretch out on the sand. Throw those tiny plastic tags in the trash, along with the rest of the clutter left over from summer.
And when you pull up to a parking meter or kiosk, don’t worry about fumbling around for a few bucks or some loose change.
In Sea Isle City, it’s “free season” now.
Starting the day after Labor Day, beach tags are no longer required and parking is free, two money-saving perks that should be popular with visitors heading into the quieter off-season months.
“I think it goes without saying that people like the idea of free parking and also not needing to remember your beach tags when headed to the beach,” city spokeswoman Katherine Custer said.
Custer, however, noted that revenue raised from beach tag sales helps to pay for a number of key services throughout the summer, including the hiring of lifeguards and keeping the shoreline clean. Parking revenue also pays for city services.
City Council passed an ordinance a few years ago rolling back the parking charge after Labor Day as an extra incentive for people to continue visiting Sea Isle during the fall.
“As is the case each year, autumn is a great time to be in Sea Isle City,” Custer said. “In addition to the lovely weather and brilliant sunsets that accompany the fall season, there are also many enjoyable events happening in our community.”
In addition to Sea Isle’s free parking and free beaches, vacationers enjoy discounted rates on rental properties and bargains at local stores during the off-season.
The post-Labor Day slowdown also allows local residents to enjoy Sea Isle’s beaches, Promenade, restaurants and other attractions without having to contend with the heavy summertime crowds of tourists.
Sea Isle has a lineup of entertainment and special events scheduled during the off-season to attract visitors. The biggest event is the Fall Family Festival on Saturday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 15. The festival features a vendor craft market stretching along the oceanfront Promenade, a food court, family-friendly amusements in Excursion Park and an antique auto show and parade.
More information is available at the Sea Isle City Welcome Center about the Fall Family Festival and other upcoming special events. The Sea Isle Tourism Office (609-263-8687) and the city’s tourism website at www.VISITSICNJ.com are other sources of information.