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The Trustees of Reservations has announced plans to phase out parking permits for Crane Beach in Ipswich, moving instead to a system of discounted parking prices for members of the organization.

Permits will be phased out as they expire, so many members will not be affected this summer. Members whose memberships and permits are set to expire before September 30 have until April 30 to renew and obtain a parking permit for this year. No permits will be renewed after that date.

The change has become necessary because the popularity of the beach – and its parking pass program – surged during the height of COVID-19 and has not subsided, according to The Trustees. Last year, more than 308,000 people visited the beach.

“There are now so many more permits than parking spaces at the beach that it has become too hard to reserve a ticket,” says Peter Pinciaro, director of the Crane Estate. “The program is no longer working well for anyone.”

Easier and more fair

The new system should open up more available reservations, making the process of snagging a parking spot easier and more fair for would-be beachgoers. Timed reservations will still be required for beach parking from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Starting May 1, non-members will pay full price for admissions, while members without an active permit will receive discounts based on their membership level:

– Non-members: $40 in-season weekdays; $45 in-season weekends/holidays; $10 off season.
– Individual, Family, and Contributing Members: 50% off non-member rate all year.
– Supporting-level Members: $10 in season; free off season.
– Sustaining- and Sponsor-level Members: Free all year.

There are no capacity limits on the beach itself, only on parking, So visitors might also want to consider alternate ways of getting to the beach. Pricing for those who arrive by motorcycle will be $5 for Individual, Family, Contributing and Supporting Members, and $10 for non-members. If people arrive on foot, it will cost $5 for Individual, Family, Contributing and Supporting Members, and $10 for non-members.

There are also Cape Ann Transportation Authority (CATA) buses, which operate independently of The Trustees and run between the Ipswich commuter rail station and Crane Beach on weekends in the summer. Members arriving by CATA bus receive free admission; non-members pay just $5.

“The CATA buses are a fantastic but under-used way to visit Crane Beach,” Pinciaro noted. “We strongly encourage more beach visitors to consider this public transit option. It’s better for the environment, and Members arriving by CATA bus receive free admission. They also don’t need to worry about whether the parking lot is full.”

Further details of the plan are available online at