GULF SHORES — As spring breakers begin to roll into town and the busy tourist season begins anew, there will be a change to parking fees for beach access on part of the island.On Dec. 12, 2022, …
GULF SHORES — As spring breakers begin to roll into town and the busy tourist season begins anew, there will be a change to parking fees for beach access on part of the island.
On Dec. 12, 2022, Gulf Shores City Council voted unanimously to increase parking fees on city beaches to a flat rate of $15 and to only allow $5 hourly parking at two locations.
Gulf Place, which is the main public beach area in Gulf Shores by The Hangout, and West 5th Street have $5 parking for four hours and $15 all day parking. Those locations as well as West Gulf Place, West 6th Street, West 10th Street, West 13th Street and Lagoon Pass will offer parking for $15 a day.
Grant Brown, city recreation and cultural affairs director, said the main reason for the increase is to help fund an increase in beach security, safety measures and cleanliness of the beaches.
“We got really aggressive with managing the beaches back in 2012 after the oil spill,” Brown said. “We turned to an ordinance effort to keep the beaches clean, add additional lifeguards and more police presence on the beaches during the busy season.”
Brown said the city has in recent years also transitioned from an in-person ticket booth to parking stations to alleviate the amount of parking traffic and keep cars from lining up on the highway.
Brown said the parking stations generated at least $750,000 last year. That money covered public works expenses for the season.
“We were able to expense the recycling efforts, police efforts for spring and summer and hire lifeguards to keep patrons safe,” Brown said.
While most parking lots will only offer $15 all-day parking, Brown said there are some that will offer hourly parking, and there will still be areas near the beach to park for free.
Locations with free on-street parking include:
“The parking lot by the Pink Pony Hub and the Hangout will have hourly parking,” Brown said. “Also, Bahama Bobs will have additional parking spots for $5 for 4 hours or $10 for the whole day.”
The all-day pass runs from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. and is good for the day of purchase, allowing patrons to move between different lots for no additional fees if there is an available space. Pay stations are in place from March 1 through Nov. 30 each year.
Residents with a Gulf Shores hurricane/re-entry decal can park at any of the paid city sites at no charge.