Padre Island

8 March 2018

When we think of Texas, a few things come to mind:  ranches, cattle, oil, bad TV dramas, and big BBQs.  What you probably didn’t think of is long sandy beaches and great seafood. 

While we were at Wilderness Lakes, we day-tripped down to Padre Island, National Seashore.  We spoke to the staff at the visitor centre and got the goods on the area.  There’s 60 miles of beach to explore, two campgrounds, one beachside (Malaquite) and one on the Laguna Madre side (Bird Island Basin).  Neither has any hookups, but there is a dump station and fresh water fill. The rates are $8 and $4 a night, respectively.  If that’s too much, you can park right on the beach for free!  Just be sure to register and speak to the Rangers about tide, wind, and weather. 

We stayed at the Bird Island site, well sheltered from the onshore winds and in sight of the spectacular sunsets. 

m Padre Island

The Laguna is perfect for boating, kayaking, windsurfing and fishing - either from shore or boat.  We found the atmosphere to be very sociable and met some great people. 

One downer: we did have a thief at work.  We shut down our Honda 2000 for the night, still plugged in, and in the morning it was gone...along with the 30 amp adapter plug and the 50 to 30 amp dog bone.  We reported the theft and discovered another Honda had been stolen at Malaquite.  So be sure to lock things up at night.  Lesson learned. We still stayed 8 nights total and had a blast. 

The best part for us about Padre Island was the seashells.  Driving South on the beach, there’s patches of shells, but nothing spectacular until you hit Little Shell Beach, around 20 miles.  At 40, you’re getting to Big Shell Beach, and at 50 miles, there wasn’t any beach visible. It was all huge seashells as far as the eye could see!  Amazing. 

m Big Shell
We also day-tripped to Port Aransas on Mustang Island, which was devastated in the fall by Hurricane.  More great beaches, more shells, and we happened upon Moby Dick’s Restaurant on their first day of re-opening.  The staff were amazing, food was excellent.  Great to see all the recovery going full-tilt, and life returning to normal. 

Sadly, we did have to start thinking about continuing our westward trek.  We cut due west to Laredo, and stayed at Lake Casa Blanca State Park.  Full hookup sites, well-spaced, and close to the lake.  We discovered that the lake hosts a large population of Plecostomus, a popular algae eater for aquariums.  We spotted a dozen in no time, and were able to wade in and get close, many were pushing 45cm or more!

m Lake CB

Our next stop: a boondocking site.  Many Texas and New Mexico rest areas allow 24 hour stops.  We had heard about the Pecos River High Bridge rest area, and we were not disappointed.  Views are fantastic, it’s away from the highway and quiet.  Nearby, there’s a boat ramp on the river and a well-marked hiking trail.  You can see where the Pecos meets the Rio Grande, and Mexico, less than 1km away.  An awesome spot.

To read Dave's last blog entry, click here.

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