GALVESTON — For the second time in as many weeks, one of Galveston’s two big beach parks had to be temporarily closed to cars after all its parking spaces were filled.
On Saturday, parking at East Beach was suspended about midday. Park officials rerouted parking to Stewart Beach, about 2 miles west of the park, and shuttled visitors to the park.
The annual AIA Sand Castle Competition drew its normal large crowds Saturday, and heavy rains made some of the parking spaces at the park unusable. East Beach has 6,000 to 7,000 parking spaces.
Officials were able to reopen parking access a couple of hour later when some spaces became available.
“It’s probably going to be like this for the next few hours,” said Galveston Island Beach Patrol chief Peter Davis.
Last week, parking was temporarily halted at Stewart Beach on Sunday after heavy crowds took up all of the park’s 2,400 parking spaces at the beach park during a busy Memorial Day Weekend.
While inconvenient for visitors, the demand for parking could be seen as a good sign for the local tourism industry. The island’s tourism industry has grown for the last six years since Hurricane Ike, and a study commissioned by the Galveston Park Board of Trustees estimated that day visitors to the island spend $52 per day on the island.