The beach at Ramsey Creek Park in Cornelius will open for its second season this Saturday, May 20, and the main thing you need to know is this: It’s painfully small, so plan carefully.
Its half-acre worth of fenced-in shore and 4’ deep swimming area of the same size can hold just up to 500 people.
This proved to be a problem in the beach’s first season, when massive crowds on opening day and during Memorial Day Weekend (8,000 and 16,000, respectively) flooded the small plot of land only to be turned away due to lack of space and parking.
With less than 130 parking spaces, it was a problem for both visitors and residents of the surrounding area, namely Yachtman and Nantz roads.
During a town hall meeting last year, residents voiced their concerns over the choice in location and abuse of their streets, citing almost 66 mis-turns in three hours and numerous turn-arounds in driveways. Worse, cars were being parked in yards and trash was being left behind.
When it was discovered that walk-ins were free, visitors began parking up and down the streets in even larger numbers and, according to residents, treating the beach as though it was worth nothing.
The county acknowledged the concerns, and in response, launched a shuttle system in partnership with CATS to help ease the frustration caused by traffic and parking.
That’s another thing to know: The shuttles are free and riders that take advantage get free admission to the beach.
On top of 50 more parking spaces, two express shuttles were introduced. They run every 15 minutes between the Park and Ride lot on Northcross Drive and the beach on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The hours are strategic, as the beach will be open each day between 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Lifeguards will be on duty.
For visitors that opt to park or walk in, entry fees range from $3 to $15.
Monday through Thursday, county registered vehicles will pay $5 and those not registered in-county will pay $10. On weekends and holidays, prices go up to $10 and $15, respectively.
Walk-ins are still welcome, though only children six and under can get in without paying. Ages 6 to 13 will pay $3 each and anyone older will pay $5.
Season passes are still available as well for $52 per county resident and $77 for out-of-town visitors.