Common Sense Discovered
A 45-minute drive to the beach does not necessarily warrant a hotel stay. When the beach is that close, making it a day trip is perfect — which is what a $20,000 study done by Tourism Economics proved to Galveston officials.
After reviewing the results of that economic study, Galveston is shifting its focus towards day trippers. The study found that 57.2 percent of Galveston's 5.7 million visitors in 2012 didn't stay overnight.
This day tripping horde's impact on the tourism market cannot be ignored anymore — even though a day tripper only spends an average of $50 a day compared to an overnighter who spends an average of $108 per day.
To start, Galveston has decided to start expanding its advertising outside of the Houston area, expanding its day tripper range. The Galveston Park Board is also looking for ways to improve day trippers' experience.
With paid parking now in place on the seawall, some tourists have started to shift over to the beaches on the west end of the island. Park Board chairman Craig Brown says improving beach access there is a priority.
"For a Houstonian, it is extremely day tripper friendly," Chet Garner, the host of the PBS show The Daytripper, tells CultureMap. Garner's advice for a Galveston day trip? "Spend half of it on the beach and the other half on The Strand."
His ideal Galveston day would consist of:
- Head to the beach with all the essentials such as sand castle buckets, Frisbees, surf board, and other fun beach items.
- After packing up at the beach, Garner recommends going to grab a bite at Shrimp 'N Stuff, which he claims has the "best po-boy in Texas".
- For dessert head down to La Kings Confectionery located in Galveston's Historic District on Strand Street.
- Next stop is the Moody Gardens Aquarium and its Rainforest Pyramid.
- Before heading home, stop at Benno's for dinner.
Of course, Garner did a whole episode on Galveston day tripping: