By all accounts, the tourism-on-the-island season appears to be potentially ‘off the chain’ already.

If you happened to be one of the thousands of cars that found themselves nearly gridlocked on the seawall over the weekend, you’ve got to wonder what is in store when the summer season gets rolling. Locals knew by Saturday morning their best plan was to remain hunkered down close to home.

Granted there was a ‘blue water effect’ — our friends up in Houston media telling everyone in the fourth-largest city in the nation they needed to rush to the coast to witness the somewhat rare occurrence. And Mother Nature did a us a solid favor by keeping skies clear and temperatures in the mid-70’s.

All in all, a good few days to be at the beach.

Some may point to festivals as the cause, but there are always festivals in the area. The wave of cars was beyond what a few thousand pots of boiled crawfish could draw in. No, something is in the — pardon the pun — water.

Kelly de Schaun, executive director of the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, said social media marketing through the island’s Convention & Visitors Bureau helped prime the pump for the weekend.

Late Friday, the bureau sent out a tweet noting the blueish hues of the water. That got noticed by television stations and turned into small, but potentially impactful, news stories.

The summer tourist season unofficially starts on Memorial Day, but de Schaun said the island’s strong spring season is a good omen.

“Our numbers for the month of April are very strong and a good indicator of what’s to come this summer,” she said.

If you find yourself on the island, be careful and considerate of others. More visitors traveling to the island means more cars on the roads. More cars on the road mean more people. And more people means, well, more people. You get the idea.

Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. When the island pops, so does the county. Getting people to visit our area — from NASA to catching a few rays while snoozing in the sand — is a good thing. Rising tides lift all boats — and that includes local businesses.

Here is to what could be a remarkable year.

• Leonard Woolsey

(17) comments

Ron Woody

Hear! Hear!

Mr. Woolsey, Thanks for reminding residents that tourism can actually be a positive for Galveston. Yes, it is frustrating at times but I would assume individuals that have lived here their entire lives would learn to adjust instead of complain.
From reading reports in the GDN I often get the impression that residents woke up one day and were surprised to find out they were in a tourist destination.
Being landlocked in the Midwest for most of my life I am more than willing to tolerate guests to be near a beach and open water whether it be blue or brown.

Bailey Jones

Personally I don't understand the summer season tourists. Galveston is at its most beautiful NOW, not in July. The jasmine is blooming, evenings on the back deck are lovely. Coming to the island in the middle of the hot steamy summer seems like madness to me.

Ron Woody

Mr. Jones, did you ever have children that had to be in school from Labor Day to Memorial Day?
Now that I am between children and grandchildren without any school schedules to be concerned, by far the most enjoyable time to vacation is April and October. This is the case almost no matter where one chooses to travel.
When families only have three months to take their family on vacation that is when they will travel regardless of cost or weather.

Rusty Schroeder

Ron you need to take a look at school schedules these days, kids get at least 3 breaks a year besides summer. I know it surprised me, there wasn't a spring break when I was in school. 2 days for Thanksgiving and 2 weeks for Christmas, can't remember any other weeks off.

Ron Woody

Mr. Schroeder, I am well aware of school schedules and the breaks. I had four children, just because there is a break in the school schedule does not mean the family is available for vacation. If children are involved in forensics, sports or theaters often the school breaks are either used to be with family during major holidays or take trips to major tournaments whether it be baseball, lacrosse or soccer.
This still leaves Summer as the most convenient time for a family vacation.
I too remember having Good Friday and Easter Monday as my Spring Break. I never truly understood a families hesitancy to remove a child from school for a vacation of any kind. Given the expense of family vacations I was never going to pay a premium price to stand in lines in August when I could travel at a discount in October and have smaller crowds. This all stopped once Middle School and High School activities start.

Bailey Jones

I have great grand kids these days...

Miceal O'Laochdha

"Locals knew by Saturday morning their best plan was to remain hunkered down close to home." Thanks Leonard for reminding us what our place is in the great scheme of things in Galveston: locked up in our homes as the tourists take possession of the island. I'll do my best to stay out of their sight, as it is apparently my civic duty.

Ron Woody

Mr. O'Laochdha, I believe you know the intent that Mr. Woolsey was writing. That being the case, your response was humorous, while providing an opinion.

Thank you!

Miceal O'Laochdha

Mr. Woody, you are welcome. I don't know when you made the move from the Midwest to Galveston but I wonder, were you living on the Island during the years of that celebration known (with careful euphemism) as "Kappa Weekend"?

Rusty Schroeder

LOL, I remember Kappa Weekends. I hope that mess never makes it back to Galveston again, the traffic on the freeway was backed up to Main St. in La Marque. It was a literal party on the freeway, hordes of people. There was nothing that was unseen, I heard the stories once they made it to the island. I remember fishing that Friday and bringing my boat back down the seawall that evening from Sportsman's Rd. The Seawall was just a sea of people, I turned left on 61st and never looked back. Just glad I didn't have anyone hop in the boat while I was waiting on the light. People were dancing on cars while they were moving, absolutely crazy. Ron would have fit right in I bet :)

Ron Woody

Unfortunately, I have only had a home in Galveston for a year and am still in the process of migrating from DC. So I am unaware of "Kappa Weekend".
I lived a very conservative, self-righteous life when I was younger. In my 50's I am more likely to consider activities I would have never considered in my 20's. I guess it is reverse engineering. It has led to few regrets and now with the wisdom of experience I can have a good time while avoiding many of the consequences.
One bad weekend or event does not change the fact that Galveston is always going to be a tourist destination. The challenge is how to maximize the benefit and minimize the cost to the environment and residents. Same challenge exists with the balance between industry and the environment/residents.

Ron Woody

Mr. Schroeder, Thanks for the compliment. I have never been the cool kid that fit in when all the hijinks were occurring. I would have tried to fit in but would have most likely been the wallflower. Enjoying the view, the excitement, the music and with jealousy been thankful that I was not as idiotic and wasteful as those individuals.

horace norris

it is a little easier to take when it lines your pockets with $$...as for the rest of us just sit down and shut up

Steve Fouga

I've lived here fewer than 10 years, was a tourist for over 50. Island traffic is not especially bad, compared with where the tourists come from. As a resident I find it pretty easy to get around on the Island, even in high season, and as a tourist I never felt particularly hindered by the traffic.

The beach is never crowded, since Babe's was created and 10th St to 61st St renourished. The seawall, as a sidewalk, is never crowded except for events like Mardi Gras and July 4th. Downtown is only crowded during events. Sure, the tourist attractions like Moody Gardens and Pleasure Pier are packed, but easy for residents to avoid.

Most of the year, the Island is essentially empty. In short, I don't see a lot to complain about, as far as crowding is concerned.

C Mendel

Along with your few pots of crawfish to attract people to Galveston this weekend, can we include Evia Spring Market, Diva Marathon and The Galveston Wine Festival. People come to Galveston for all kinds of reasons besides blue water.

Jim Forsythe

When I lived in Kansas, Galveston seemed like a tropical paradise.
When we went on vacation, it had to be in the Summer, as that was when my Dad had his vacation.
If it was not for tourism, crowds, what would Galveston be like?
Everyone that lives in Galveston, moved to Galveston or was born in Galveston. If you moved to Galveston, you did so because you wanted too. If you are BOI, you have had time to decide that you wanted to stay and not move away. It should not be a surprise to anyone that lives in Galveston, that you have large crowds that will become bigger in years to come .It looks like to me that Galveston is adding more event, trying to attract more people.
Large crowds are not new.
In the 50's and 60's Splash Day was a big event. In 1959, an estimated 100,000 turned out. The following year, Larry Kane hosted a teen dance followed by a performance from Fats Domino on the Pleasure Pier.

Jarvis Buckley

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