Busy Beaches: Island park visits booming in wake of fees being doubled

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Some will say they remember when it cost only $1. But those days are long gone.

As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, families planning a visit to a Cameron County beach park should be aware they will be paying more for access this year.

In January, the entrance fee jumped from $5 to $10.

However, so far, the fee hike hasn’t stopped visitors from paying to enter Cameron County’s coastal parks.

“As a mater of fact, for the first quarter, January to March, there was an increase in visitors to our coastal parks,” said Joe Vega, Cameron County Parks director.

“We raised the fee to be able to pay for park improvements.”

A little more than 64,000 vehicles paid to enter the coastal parks during the first three months of the year. That compares to about 45,000 vehicles during the same period last year.

According to the county’s vehicle entrance report, the price hike generated more than half a million dollars in the first quarter of the year.

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Entrance Fees

Fees for Isla Blanca Park, Andy Bowie Park, E.K. Atwood Park and Adolph Thomae Jr. Park

 Daily Use Fee: $10

30-Day Pass: $25

Annual Pass: $100

Veterans Daily Use Fee: $5

Veterans 30-Day Pass: $12

Veterans Annual Pass: $50

Bus Pass: $25

Tag Fee/Recovery Fee:$6