Will you afford next summer? More NJ shore towns raising beach fees
As winter approaches, people are already thinking about summer at the Jersey Shore.
It's at about this time every year when coastal municipalities release information about the upcoming year's beach season, including seasonal, weekly, and daily beach badge prices and whether the prices will remain the same or change in any way.
Some of those towns also add a holiday pre-season sale, which can make for good stocking stuffers.
Surf City and Seaside Park are among the Ocean County and Jersey Shore towns making a slight change to the price of beach badges for the 2023 summer season.
Last week, the governing body in Surf City adopted an ordinance raising the price of their seasonal beach badges by $5 — from $45 to $50 — for the June to Labor Day beach season next year, according to Councilman Peter Hartney, who serves as chairman of the Beach Fees/Beach Protection Committee.
"The determination/reasoning to raise the cost of a beach badge of any category finds its foundation in the principle that the operations of the beaches are to be funded through the revenue of the beach badges," Hartney said. "The preliminary numbers for the 2022 season indicate that beach badge revenue covered 98% of the cost to operate the beach with the remaining 2% coming from the Borough's general fund."
Why are some towns raising beach fees?
There are a couple of reasons why there is an increase in the seasonal beach badge in Surf City and it's to help with the continued upkeep of the beach and lifeguard/staff/police who work there, officials said.
"The process in determining to raise cost of a beach badge, is making an educated judgment about what it will cost to operate the beach in the coming season taking into consideration such fixed costs as salaries which need to increase each year with the yearly increase in the minimum wage," Hartney said.
"These salaries include lifeguards, beach badge checkers/sellers, public works employees who prepare the beach in the pre-season and then clean and maintain it throughout the season, and seasonal police officers for public safety on the beaches."
Economy's impact on Jersey Shore
Hartney said that another component and reason for the slight increase is due to ongoing economic concerns, namely inflation, which is affecting Jersey Shore towns and others statewide.
"The operation of the beach is not immune to the current inflation our economy is experiencing especially in the cost of fuel and materials to maintain the beach such as hard pack for our street ends, tipping fees for the trash the beach generates and the costs of keeping our beach rake and various vehicles maintained and repaired. Additionally, we look at the beach badge prices in the other LBI municipalities so that we are neither too far out in front nor to far behind in price," Hartney said.
Beach tag prices at other Jersey Shore beaches
In addition to a price increase for seasonal beach badges in Surf City, there is also one along LBI in Barnegat Light where the seasonal price for 2023 will be $45, up $5 from 2022, according to '22 numbers reported by NJ.com, with the other prices remaining the same there.
In Seaside Park, the seasonal beach badge price is going up from $65 to $70 after the pre-season sales that run from May 1 to June 14 end. Weekly badges in Seaside Park will be $40 and daily badges will be $13 per person.
Elsewhere in Ocean County, prices are going up in the northern barrier island borough of Lavallette by $5 for seasonal to $65 and $1 for daily badges going to $13, as first reported by Lavallette-Seaside Shorebeat.
How to get discounted beach passes
Surf City, like some other local municipalities, is holding an ongoing pre-season holiday discount through Christmas Eve.
In Surf City, from now until Dec. 24 and then again from May 1 to 31, you can reserve seasonal beach badges for $35-$40.
In Seaside Park, the holiday pre-season beach badge price will be $60 per person up until December 31.
In Harvey Cedars, there is a Holiday Beach Badge sale going on right now where you can get seasonal beach badges for 2023 at $35 per badge.
There is a similar holiday and pre-season sale in Long Beach Township in the amount of $35 for a seasonal beach badge.
There is no specific holiday sale, but in Barnegat Light, there is a pre-season discounted price of $35 through June 5, which is $10 off for the seasonal badge.