Padre Island National Seashore had more visitors in 2020 than in the previous two years, according to park officials.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, or maybe because of it, the national park near Corpus Christi had 617,704 visitors.
The month of May saw a particularly large increase from previous years with 97,368 visitors in 2020 compared to 54,426 visitors in 2019.
By May, many businesses had been shut down for a couple of months, schools were remote-only and families were looking for things to do outside that would be socially distanced.
“At a time when access to nature became necessary for families to safely recreate, Padre Island National Seashore was able to provide a critical service to the local community and South Texas,” said park superintendent Eric Brunnemann in a press release.
The country’s national parks weren’t unscathed during the pandemic. About 66 of the nation’s 423 parks were fully closed for two months or more.
The Padre Island National Seashore also closed after Hurricane Hanna in July of 2020 and ahead of Tropical Storm Beta in September.