NEW FOR WEDNESDAY: OC Maintains $50 Inlet Parking Fee On Fourth More About Convenience Than Money


OCEAN CITY – Resort officials are hoping Fourth of July beach-goers will enjoy their day on the beach and Boardwalk and hang out for the fireworks without having to worry about beating the meter with the new option to pay a $50 flat fee at the Inlet parking lot.

On Thursday, July 4, the Town of Ocean City will be charging a $50 fee for all-day parking in the Inlet parking lot. The fee is good for one entry and will allow visitors to come as early as 5 a.m. and stay as late as midnight, without being charged an hourly parking rate.

“We hope the new flat fee parking will allow our visitors to be more flexible during their trip to Ocean City on July 4,” said John VanFossen, Deputy Director of Public Works.  “We think this will not only allow visitors the opportunity to come to Ocean City early and stay late, but it will also smooth the amount of traffic exiting the downtown area after the fireworks.”

The decision to charge a flat-rate fee in the Inlet lot on Fourth of July was made by the Mayor and City Council back in April during a budget session. However, after receiving major backlash once the flat fee reminder was announced over social media, the town wants to make clear the decision was based on convenience rather than revenue.

“When the decision was made to make this change, we knew this wasn’t going to be the option for everyone but we were looking for a way to ease traffic congestion on Baltimore Ave., and make it easier for people when they are leaving the Inlet,” Communications Manager Jessica Waters said.

Waters explained the town has received complaints from those who park in the Inlet parking lot to watch the fireworks but end up paying the most waiting in traffic to leave as one car is allowed to exit at a time through the ticket-and-pay process.

Waters added for those who do choose to pay the flat fee, they will feel no such rush to get in their cars and leave after the fireworks. Instead, they can enjoy the Boardwalk a little while longer while waiting for traffic to thin out.

“As you can imagine, it can be a lengthy process for 1,200 cars,” Waters said. “We are thinking it would help from having everyone leave at the same time. When you’re not on the meter, you are not rushing to get out of the parking lot.”

The fireworks are scheduled to go off at 9:30 the evening of July 4, Waters pointed out, so for the family planning to spend the day at the beach, have dinner on the Boardwalk and stay to watch the fireworks, the $50 flat fee to park in the Inlet lot all day is the way to go, according to the town.

For instance, city officials point to math to bolster that claim. With Fourth of July falling on a Thursday, the town charges $2.50 per hour on weekdays to park in the Inlet parking lot, and 5 a.m. until midnight covers a 19-hour period. Without the $50 flat-fee, those who choose to park in the Inlet lot would be charged $47.50 to park over that span of time. With that long a stretch unlikely for most, a more reasonable example may be 10 a.m. to midnight (14 hours) and that would equal $35.

“For the convenience, it will outweigh the costs,” Waters said. “There is a misconception, and why people are getting upset is that they think it was done for revenue purposes but it was not … it was a decision that was made to improve operations for our visitors and hopefully make traffic flow a little smoother, and avoid having people pay for time they are waiting in traffic … the good news is we have multiple options for parking.”

For visitors who don’t think the flat-fee parking in the Inlet lot is for them, Ocean City offers additional lots and street parking that utilizes the Cale parking system or they can find free parking on some streets. Municipal lots are in effect 24 hours per day and street parking is in effect 7 a.m. until midnight.  

Municipal lots are located on Worcester Street, Somerset Street, Dorchester Street, North Division Street, 4th Street and the West Ocean City Park & Ride. 

During last spring’s budget talks, it was pointed out some private lots in the downtown area have been charging as much as $50 for a space for just the night for some time.

10 thoughts on “NEW FOR WEDNESDAY: OC Maintains $50 Inlet Parking Fee On Fourth More About Convenience Than Money

  1. Short term thinking will not…NOT provide long term happiness. Short term there maybe a bump up in revenue, but really folks? There are so many other options NORTH where you park for FREE, enjoy the beach – heck some hotels serve on the beach ~ then you can easily watch the fireworks at 120th street. At the conclusion of a day at the beach (free parking) one doesn’t have to battle the awful exit of the inlet.

    July 5th ~ Labor day will be a bit more restful….Harnessman ~ I’m heading to the track!!!


  2. Thank you O C MD the $50 fee will keep the low life – rif raf off of the beach so us better class can enjoy ourselves.

  3. The Town has some VERY EXPENSIVE employees to pay.They can choose many ways to generate revenue. A burger at Dough Roller/Daytons is priced at $9.99 each. That’s what OC wants to charge for a carload of visitors assuming 5 in a car.

    NEW downtown metered parking was rolled out this week. The downtown was deserted. Did visitors park further north and patronize businesses further north? Whatever the case, businesses downtown lost revenue as did OC in the form of taxes from those businesses. The Town should learn from past experiences.

    When the Dew Tour first came to town, it was paid admission only. The turnout was ok. When the Town decided to make it “free”, that’s when the number of visitors began piling into town.

    Open your eyes and you will see that the business boom is in West OC or the Town of Fenwick.


  4. With the town of Ocean City it is always about the money. Make it $10.00 so a family can then afford to go to dinner on the boardwalk. Let the business people make the extra $40.00 if the town is sincere about their true motives.

  5. If it really is more and the convenience than money then why charge $50 why not say Hey we want you to have fun and celebrate the the holiday so we will take 2 hours off of the parking rate since you sat in line to pay to get out. or make it $30 Face it, it’s the money end of story.

  6. $50 to park at the inlet.. have the city leaders lost their minds.. $50 is an outrages amount for a day parking.. To say it’s not for the revenue is political talk for we are trying to suck as much out of the visitors as we can.. wouldn’t $30 be more reasonable.. Who came up with this outlandish amount?? I don’t go to the inlet on the 4th because it’s always to crowded and I prefer the entertainment at North side park,but I feel sorry for those that do and will be saddled with this outlandish fee.. I think everyone should call city hall and complain…write emails to the mayor and all the council people and complain then maybe when the peoples voives are heard this will be reduced..but who am I kidding?? what do they care?? they will probally all be home or parked in their free parking spaces at city hall..

  7. 50 bucks per parking space. My family can go on an all inclusive vacation 4 less than what it costs 4 A week in OC.Time 4 greedy officials 2 get a grip on reality

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