Friday, May 2, 2014

Mustang Island State Park

While at Port Aransas, Donna wanted to spend some time on the beach. The beaches within the city limits of Port Aransas require a parking permit, which I believe costs $12. Rather than pay that amount -- I am a cheapskate, after all -- we decided to head south on Texas 361 to Mustang Island State Park, which is nearly 15 miles south of Port Aransas. Since we have an annual parks pass, there would be no charge for us to enter the park.

We visited Mustang Island State Park many years ago, probably about 1992 when our daughter was about 12 years old. At the time, we had a Jayco folding camper (pop-up), and we spent 3 or 4 nights in the park and had a great time. The park really hasn't changed much in all these years.

One of the nice things about the park is that the paved park road extends to the beach to a paved parking area with nearby beach showers to wash away the sand. It's just about the cleanest way to visit the beach. I'm not a beach person. Oh, when I was young, I enjoyed the beach, but I'll take the mountains and forests anytime these days. Donna is the beach bum in the family, emphasis on bum. She still enjoys the beach, and I probably put a damper on her beach exploits.

Fewer than 20 people were using the park section of the beach. The water was cold and the wind was strong. After dipping my feet in the cool water, I found a place to put my lounge chair in the shade of a picnic table, and settled in for a nap. One little girl was flying a kite nearby. A sand crab occasionally popped its head out of a hole not far away, and a little prairie dog tried to make friends with me. It was very relaxing except for the constant cries of the gulls who stayed near hoping for a handout.

Donna looking east over the Gulf of Mexico
A little girl flying her kite
A friendly little prairie dog stopped by for a visit. My camera doesn't have a powerful zoom, so he was very close, almost within touching distance.

Sea gull perched atop a picnic table canopy, hoping for a handout

The camping area at the park. When we camped hear years ago, we were about halfway down on the left side.

Showers on the bottom, restrooms on the top. The bathhouse is located at the entrance to the campground
Following our trip to Mustang Island State Park, we drove a few miles farther south to the intersection of Texas 361 and Texas 358, which crosses the Intracoastal Waterway via the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway before entering Corpus Christi. The area there has built up over the years, and we wanted to see what services were available.

By vehicle, there are only 2 ways to reach the island.The first is to use the ferry from Aransas Pass, as we did. The other way is over the causeway from Corpus. Evacuating the island during a storm must be challenging.

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