ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WKRG) — Getting ready to enjoy a day at the beach? There is one more thing you have to do now before hitting the sand, pay to park.
For the first time ever, free parking at all beach accesses in Orange Beach is a thing of the past, and while some don’t mind, “It’s okay. It’s pretty normal. I think the prices seem pretty reasonable by the hour if you’re not going to stay all day,” says Rachael Williams visiting from St. Louis.
Others, like Mark Logan from Birmingham, hate it. “Paying for parking. You can see the lot is 90 percent empty. People come down here to enjoy themselves not to be nickeled and dimed.”
The state park system actually owns all four beach access areas in Orange Beach. Kiosks are now operational at all of them. Three dollars for a couple hours, five dollars for four hours and 10 dollars for all day. “This is not a money grab from Montgomery,” says Gulf State Park Director Gary Ellis. “It is a reinvestment from our own system here at the park. 100 percent of revenue generated from the parking will stay in the park.”
So a trip to the beach may have just gotten a little more expensive, but revenue from pay-to-park will help keep the view priceless.
Full-time residents of Orange Beach are exempt from paying for parking. The city worked out a deal with the state park system that allows for two free passes per household just by providing a driver’s license with an Orange Beach address.