As Gloucester heads into its second year of requiring advance reservations for parking at its most popular beaches, the city has launched a new platform for non-residents to use to secure their spots.
The new app, Blinkay, replaces the service used last year, and is expected to streamline the process of checking in at parking lot gates by using fixed cameras to scan license plate rather than the manual process that sometimes caused slow lines last year.
Reservations can be made up to 10 days in advance and will be required starting May 27 for non-resident vehicles to park at Good Harbor Beach, Wingaersheek Beach, and Stage Fort Park. Even if you haven’t planned ahead, an impulse beach day may still be possible: Many days last year were not sell-outs and, even on the busiest days, new spaces will be released throughout the day as visitors leave.
Parking at the two beaches will be $30 per vehicle on weekdays and $35 on weekends and holidays. At Stage Fort Park – which includes two smaller beaches, a playground, and space to grill and picnic – parking will be $15 on weekdays and $20 on weekends and holidays. No refunds will be available, however, the Blinkay app does allow users to change their reservations between vehicles to provide more flexibility.
Before Gloucester instituted a reservation system for the first time last year, beach parking was becoming increasingly chaotic at Good Harbor and Wingaersheek. Cars lined up more than an hour before gates opened, causing massive traffic snarls, and lots often filled to capacity before 10 a.m., leading disappointed visitors to park illegally in the surrounding neighborhoods. The implementation of a reservation system last summer eased much of the traffic.
“The reservation system was an overwhelming success last year,” says Gloucester Mayor Greg Verga. “We have been able to dramatically decrease traffic, reduce overcrowding, and eliminate the stress of driving to Gloucester only to be turned away at the gate. I am proud of how successful this new system has been. I am looking forward to the coming beach season.”
The Blinkay app can be downloaded for free in the App Store or Google Play Store. For more information about Gloucester beaches, visit the city’s website.
Looking for less crowded beach options? Check out our guide to some of the North Shore’s best off-the-beaten path beaches.