What The Hell? Kemah Is One Of The Top Ten Boardwalks In The U.S.?
That wasn't the actual headline on the article, but it should have been. Unless you believe that the pre-fab schlock of Tilman Fertitta's Kemah development is one of the Top Ten Boardwalks in the U.S.
Boardwalks aren't all that big a deal in Texas, but on the East and West coasts they are. Those people know how to do them up right. And while most of them have history on their side, an advantage Kemah won't have until the year 2055, they also have a lot more going for them.
Look at the top ten: Atlantic City and Wildwood in New Jersey, Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, Virginia Beach, Coney Island, Venice Beach and Santa Cruz in California, and the rustic Long Beach in Washington state. And Kemah.
Here's what they said about Kemah:
Kemah Boardwalk, built in 1988, is the youngest of the group. Deriving its name from the Karankawa Indian word for "wind in the face," the half-mile-long boardwalk has provided breezes and gusts for an estimated 3 million annual visitors. Located 20 miles from downtown Houston, Kemah is the main recreational and entertainment park in the area. Though it is expanding its repertoire of restaurants and rides, the Western-themed Boardwalk Bullet is by far the most popular attraction, and visitors flock to the summer-long Rock the Dock Concert series.
As it turns out, we've been to six of the other nine boardwalks (not to mention passed-over but solid candidates like Asbury Park and Seaside Heights in New Jersey and places in North Carolina and Maryland), so while we're not experts, we like to think we know a thing or two.
And we know that Kemah shouldn't be on the list, "estimated" three million visitors or not.
A boardwalk needs to have the space for a long, leisurely stroll by the water, for one thing. (Seaside Heights might not have that, but it has more rides and attractions -- not to mention grease -- than ten Kemahs.)
A boardwalk is not a collection of chain restaurants.
A boardwalk's games shouldn't be as aggressively overpriced as the rodeo on its worst day.
Look, the Kemah Boardwalk is nice enough for what it is. We're just saying there is no way it is one of the top ten boardwalks in the country.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.