Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions, or personal experiences.

If you've been to Old Orchard Beach on a hot, sunny day, you know how it goes. You've got to find a place to park your car and hope that you get as close to the beach as you can. Like many popular tourist cities in Maine, you have to pay to park. But that just changed. Well, sort of.

Parking rates in Old Orchard Beach vary depending on where you park. If it's a private lot, rates can be for all day or by the hour. If it's on the street between May 1 and Labor Day, then as of the 2022 season, you paid $4 per hour at parking meters. I searched thoroughly on the Old Orchard Beach website for 2023 parking rates to see if they went up by a dollar as they often do, and could not find anything.

Free parking anywhere near the beach is just not going to happen. That is until recently.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Saco Bay News reports that the Old Orchard Town Council voted on Tuesday to create five free parking spaces in the downtown Old Orchard Beach Area, all on Old Orchard Street.

These are all temporary, however, because they are all designated for people who are picking up take-out orders at area restaurants and food stands. Parking is only for 15 minutes, to allow you to walk where you're going to get your food and get back to your car. So free parking is a relative term in this case. If you plan to spend the day at the beach, this isn't for you.

I think this is a great idea that many more cities that charge to park on the city streets should adopt. Imagine driving in downtown Portland and parking in front of your favorite restaurant just long enough to run in and get your food, without paying a dime. With the price to park in Portland being prohibitively expensive, this would be a nice gesture.

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