As thousands of visitors flock to Galveston this Memorial Day weekend, the island’s tourism industry will be celebrating the kickoff of what is expected to be a successful summer vacation season.
New attractions, upgraded beach parks and growing buzz about Galveston’s tourism offerings are just a few reasons the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is reporting a positive outlook for 2018.
2018 Galveston Tourism Outlook
The Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau is reporting a positive outlook for the 2018 tourism season, with the industry expected to continue its upward trend. According to traffic counts, the island welcomed more than half a million vehicles over Memorial Day weekend last year. This year, the CVB expects to see a similar trend after coming off its best tourism year on record in 2017, drawing 7 million visitors that generated an economic impact of $1.15 billion to the local economy.
New Attractions & Restaurants
This summer visitors can check out a variety of new attractions on the island. At Moody Gardens, visitors can explore the newly redesigned Aquarium Pyramid, which completed a $37 million renovation last year. In addition, visitors to Moody Gardens can also check out a returning exhibit at the Discovery Museum, JAM: Journey through Amazing Music, as well as several new films at its 3D and 4D theaters. Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark will be open daily. The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park will also be open daily, offering buy-one, get-one-free all-day ride passes to active members of all military branches. Visitors to the pier can also check out its new Shark Attack 5D Theater ride. Downtown, Galveston will welcome several new restaurants this summer including, Hearsay on The Strand and Shark Shack Beach Bar & Grill among others.
Upgraded Amenities at Galveston Beach Parks
The island’s public beach parks – Stewart Beach, East Beach and West End Pocket Parks 1 and 2 – are open for the 2018 beach season, offering a variety of special experiences and new amenities. Stewart Beach, East Beach and Dellanera Park now offer free sunscreen stations. At beaches along the seawall, public restrooms and two pay stations are now open to allow cash payments for parking. The new pay stations are located at 61st Street and 89th Street piers. Visitors to the beach parks can take advantage of restrooms, showers, beach chair rentals, volleyball courts, snack bars and other concessions, including horseback riding and helicopter tours. For details on the beach parks, visit www.galvestonbeachinfo.com
Memorial Day Ceremony at Seawolf Park
On May 28, The American Undersea Warfare Center at Seawolf Park will honor our fallen servicemen and women in a special ceremony at the park's Memorial Plaza starting at 12:30 p.m. The ceremony will include a welcome speech by retired United States Air Force Colonel Kelly Crooks, a presentation of the colors by the United States Marine Corps Color Guard, a vocal performance of the national anthem, a performance of Taps by the Marine Corps League Galveston, a bagpipe performance of Song of Remembrance and more. The event is free and open to the public. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. For details, call (409) 770-3196.
New Birding Tours
Galveston is located on the trans-Gulf bird migration route and more than 300 species of birds reside or travel through the island each year. This makes Galveston one of the top locations for bird-watching in the United States. Visitors now have a new way to explore this fascinating aspect of the island with birding tours offered by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council. These tours feature the island’s top birding hot spots and take visitors to see, learn about and photograph rare and unique birds up close and personal. For details, visit www.galvestonnaturetourism.com.
Hotel & Lodging News
Galveston’s hotel scene is constantly offering renovated and new venues. The Tremont House recently unveiled its new extended stay option, The Quarters, to visitors last spring. The Quarters features 14 luxury, extended-stay suites in both 1- and 2-bedroom options. Each suite includes king-sized beds, fully furnished kitchens, and high-end furnishings for living and dining spaces. The rooms are located across the street from The Tremont House in the historic 1858 Berlocher Building at 2311-2313 Ship’s Mechanic Row. www.thetremonthouse.com
Additionally, visitors to the island will have plenty of fun experiences and events to explore this summer, including:
World Ocean’s Day Festival
Head to Stewart Beach June 8 from 4-8 p.m. to celebrate World Ocean’s Day with a special festival sponsored by Artist Boat. Visitors to the festival can explore hands-on activities provided by partner organizations, enjoy live music by Th3rd Coast Roots, view submissions from a Marine Debris Art Contest and more. The family-friendly festival is free and open to the public, but Stewart Beach parking fees will apply. For details visit www.artistboat.org.
New shops and restaurants in historic downtown Galveston: Hearsay on the Strand, Shark Shack Beach Bar & Grill, The Wine Next Door, Mama Teresa’s Flying Pizza, Island Pour House Wine Bistro and the Marketplace at Peanut Butter Warehouse.
For more information on Galveston tourism, visit www.galveston.com.
About Galveston Island
Galveston Island is a historic beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico just 50 miles from Houston. The island is best known as a vacation destination, offering 32 miles of beaches, a variety of family attractions, Texas’ premier cruise port and one of the largest and well-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the country, including several National Historic Landmarks. Galveston Island is home to popular amusements such as, Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, as well as a variety of museums and recreational activities from surfing to birding. For more information on Galveston Island visit www.galveston.com or call 1-888-GAL-ISLE.