Parking at Gloucester’s most popular beaches is about the get a little more organized. The city has announced a new reservation system for parking at Good Harbor Beach – recently named one of the top 25 beaches in the country by Travel + Leisure – Wingaersheek Beach, and Stage Fort Park, which is home to Half Moon Beach and Cressy’s Beach, as well as a playground and picnic areas.
Starting May 19, beachgoers can log on to the Yodel app to reserve parking at their preferred location up to 10 days ahead of their planned visit. Reservations will be required as of Memorial Day weekend, and cash will no longer be accepted on-site. If spaces remain available, reservations can be made at the very last minute, but the city is encouraging people to plan ahead to ensure the beach access they want.
“It will really streamline the whole entry process,” says city spokesperson Pam Tobey. “It will reduce traffic, it will remove the stress of driving from Springfield then finding out there’s no parking.”
Beach staff will monitor the lots and, as cars leave throughout the day, release spots on the app, so it’s worth checking in later in the day if you’re thwarted in the morning.
Parking at Wingaersheek and Good Harbor will cost $35 on weekends and holidays, though the price drops to $25 after 3 p.m. On weekdays, the price is $30, down to $20 after 3 p.m. Stage Fort parking will cost $25 on weekends and holidays and $20 on weekdays. Non-resident passes will not be sold this year.
The new reservation system is an attempt to make the summer influx of beachgoers more manageable and enjoyable for visitors and residents alike.
Parking for Good Harbor and Wingaersheek has been challenging in recent years, with dozens of cars lining up an hour or more before gates open to secure a spot. On the sunniest days, lots often reached capacity shortly after 9 a.m., leaving disappointed visitors seeking street parking or waiting in hot cars until lot space became available. Residents complained about traffic and illegal parking in their neighborhoods, and the city moved to make parking on many streets near the beaches residents-only.