Exploring the Central Texas Coast

While driving along the coast, one is struck with the knowledge that THE WIND BLOWS all of the time.  Now this isn’t altogether a bad thing.  We’re not really bothered by flies and mosquitoes.

Having lived in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, we are quite familiar with the sturdy Live Oak trees.  We had to ask to be sure, but the Live Oaks along the coast take on a little different appearance.


You get a little different slant on the species.


I guess they haven’t heard about staking young trees.


In Rockport, along the shore of Aransas Bay,  you’ll find the Fulton Mansion.  This magnificent house was built in the late 1870’s.  When constructed, it incorporated modern conveniences such as modern plumbing and central heating.


Yep, they have some bent Live Oaks too.

Just south of Rockport you can catch a ferry over to Mustang Island.  Mustang Island runs about 25 miles from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas.  The ferry ride is only a few minutes long.  One wonders whether a bridge might be worth the investment.  During peak times they have 5 or 6 ferries running.  On the road to the ferry there are several rather rustic RV parks that are sitting right on the beach.


This isn’t a great shot because I didn’t get out of the car, but the channel is a popular place for porpoise. There were 4 in this group and they did some jumping and playing around.


In order to park on the Mustang Island beach, you need to purchase a permit that is $12.00 per calendar year.  We bought one, but we noticed that only about 25% of the cars had the stickers.  You can drive on the entire beach, but there are barriers on each end of the State Park.  So, you have to exit the beach and reenter at the next park entrance.  The sand varies from firm to really loose.  The conditions change daily.

At the south end of Mustang Island there is a small bridge over a channel that leads you to Padre Island.  Padre Island runs about 70 miles south from Corpus Christi.  From Corpus Christi, you can travel south for 10-miles on the free beach  or Park Rd 22 until you reach the Padre Island National Seashore.  Once again, Tinka’s $10 National Park lifetime senior pass comes in handy.

At the entrance to the park we have a new addition, banks of security cameras.


It’s really quite impressive.  Four cameras take pictures of the front of the vehicle and four more take pictures of the rear.  These cameras operate on all incoming and outgoing vehicles.  I guess they don’t want any turtles escaping.


Padre Island is mostly covered with wetlands and grasslands.


Sunday, on our most recent visit to the park, we were shocked at what we saw.  In the few days since our last visit, the property on the Gulf side of the park road had undergone a controlled burn.


Apparently this is one way to preserve the environment.  Go figure.  You can find out more at http://www.nps.gov/pais/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm

Once you get to the beach, the beach is open to travel by only 4WD vehicles all the way to the channel at the end of South Padre Island.

During this time of year, the entire coast is traveled, by a teams of mostly volunteer Turtle Patrol.  They go by nearly every hour looking for signs that turtles have crossed the beach to nest in the dunes.  Here Tinka talks to one of the volunteers.


The volunteer said that the volunteers only travel about 15 miles south of the park entrance.  She said that this was her third year to volunteer and found a turtle nest last summer.  She did say that they have found a total of 172 so far this year on the island.   The beach farther south is covered less frequently by paid employees.  We’ve observed these Turtle Patrols throughout the Gulf and the Atlantic.  One might wonder about the resources being spent in this turtle protection endeavor.

We headed about 18 miles down the beach and found areas of the sand to be extremely tough crossing.  We decided not to go any farther until we get the winch mounted on the Jeep.  We backed up to about the 14 mile mark and found a relaxing spot to park and set up for a few hours of reading and dipping. (CLICK ON PICTURE TO ENLARGE)


Tinka and I enjoyed the empty beach.

Tinka spent time catching up on reading.


Yesterday we picked up our fishing licenses so we’ll try a little of that next week.

One Response to “Exploring the Central Texas Coast”

  1. Sister says:

    WOW! Tinka, your diet is making you like a complete makeover person!!

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