This study investigates the vehicle damage caused by recreational use on three coastal dune systems on the west coast of Ireland. Using aerial photographs taken in 1973, 2000, 2004 and 2006 in conjunction withecologica surveys, the impacts of recreational activities were assessed. The results show that the overall area of tracks increased more than threefold between 1973 and 2007 with the exception of one site where restricted access resulted in a subsequent reduction in the number of tracks. The study further shows that most recreational activities at the sites were water-based, with most traffic movement directed towards the shore and the highest density of tracks being within the first few hundred meters of the High Water Mark. The results of this study are discussed in the context of visitor management strategies for coastal conservation sites under recreational pressure.