Freeman Park fees increase, campers decrease

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Freeman Park in Carolina Beach is seeing fewer campers this year, but town leaders say it is not a bad thing.

It comes after a policy change and a price increase. Back in the day, all you needed to get to Freeman Park was four-wheel drive.

“I can just back in or pull in and let everything go,” Wilmington resident Tiffany Whitaker said.

Whitaker said she has been driving to Freeman Park her whole life. She has also seen the price tag increase over the years.

“I remember when it was free,” Whitaker said. “I remember when it was $40. I remember when it was $60.”

Now, it’s $30 for a day pass or $150 for the year. Whitaker said it’s worth it, because the beach is better than it was back in the day.

“We didn’t have any Rent-A-Johns,” Whitaker said. “Occasionally there were cops and there really weren’t any lifeguards back in the day.”

She said one new policy is not worth it though, because if you want to camp on the north end, you have to reserve your date and pay a $10 fee.

“I haven’t camped out since they changed the rule, because I don’t really know when I’m going to camp,” Whitaker said.

Carolina Beach Town Manager Michael Cramer said the town actually wanted fewer campers when leaders approved this new policy.

“That was really key,” Cramer said. “In staying out overnight for long periods, you have more trash. You have more issues.”

He said numbers show the town’s plan is working, because while Freeman Park has fewer campers, it has more visitors like Whitaker willing to pay the price to spend just one day on the sand.

“I love it here,” Whitaker said. “I don’t really attend any other beaches.”

Cramer said he does not think the price to get into Freeman Park will go up again any time soon.

Categories: New Hanover, News

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