Non-residents who like to visit Dauphin Island’s three public beaches can now get a season pass for $150. But don’t let that number scare you off: if you’re not a frequent traveler, there’s a much more economical option.
Dauphin Island Mayor Jeff Collier said the season pass and day pass option represent an attempt to provide a “one-stop shop” for beach access following a change in the management of beaches.
Previously, Collier said, the Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board of Directors oversaw the East End Beach and the Central Public Beach near the island’s school, while the City of Dauphin Island managed the West End beach. But oversight has been consolidated under the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, allowing for a holistic approach to access.
For many visitors, a daily $10 beach parking pass will be the easy choice. $10 covers parking of one vehicle and all its occupants at all three beaches for one day, which means pass holders are free to move between beaches at no additional cost.
The $150 option covers parking for the pass holder and all passengers at all three beaches during the spring-summer season. Collier said the island has not in the past charged for off-season beach parking.
Passes can be purchased at any of the three beaches during normal business hours, according to the town bulletin.
“Vendors will be available at most locations offering a variety of food/drinks, chair/umbrella/jet ski rentals, and more,” the bulletin said. “The city recently installed rip current flags to provide another layer to its warning system to keep swimmers safe.”
In further updates for the 2022 beach season, the City of Dauphin Island has updated its food truck pilot program. Fees were lowered for food trucks and trailers, while restrictions on where they can operate remained in place. (For example, they can only be parked on private commercial property and must have on-site access to permanent restrooms.) Collier said the change reflects a desire by island leaders to strike a balance between let mobile catering units help serve the influx of visitors that arrive during the summer, without harming local businesses that operate year-round.
“We made it a little easier without opening the floodgates,” he said. “We are kind of on tiptoe. We don’t want to make it a free-for-all game.