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Old 04-16-2007, 08:43 AM   #15
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Corpus and area is a nice visit. In addition to the beach, there is the aquarium, Lady Lex, and a good museum in Corpus. Water Street Bar and Grill is a good seafood place. A day trip to Kingsville, to visit the famous King Ranch, and the King Ranch museum is a good trip. For oustanding fried shrimp go to Kings Inn, tt is on Baffin bay in Riviera, TX. It has been in business for 64 years. Order the Bombay salad, very unique.
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Old 04-16-2007, 10:13 PM   #16
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Corpus and area is a nice visit. In addition to the beach, there is the aquarium, Lady Lex, and a good museum in Corpus. Water Street Bar and Grill is a good seafood place. A day trip to Kingsville, to visit the famous King Ranch, and the King Ranch museum is a good trip. For oustanding fried shrimp go to Kings Inn, tt is on Baffin bay in Riviera, TX. It has been in business for 64 years. Order the Bombay salad, very unique.
I forgot about the Water St. Bar and Grill. How could I forget that! I just got off the phone with my sister who has worked for the CCPD for 27 years. We talked about Padre and she reminded me that when you go past Bob Hall Pier (destroyed several times by hurricanes) you are headed South toward Little Shell and Big Shell. As mentioned earlier, you can only go so far without a 4X4. Going North toward Port Aransas there are 3 RV parks that direction if you choose to stay in one of them. I don't know the names but they should be in some of the RV directories like Woodalls or Trailer Life.
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Old 04-17-2007, 12:47 AM   #17
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good food in South Padre

We were there over Christmas with the kids. Don't miss the food at Dirty Al's in South Padre. It's a cafeteria style place and almost everything is about $6.99 and really really good. Fish tacos, stuffed crab, shrimp kabobs...yummmmmm
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Old 03-29-2008, 07:03 PM   #18
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We just moved to CC from Dallas. Yes, the wind here is impressive. Dallas is windier than Chicago . . but CC is a whole nother category of wind. 30 mph constant with gusts some days to 50 mph and better. Sand gets into everything at the beach, take that for granted. The climate is great for spring and fall camping (the past few weeks has been 68-72F at night, and 75-85F during the day.

There are a few nice RV parks in CC, more on Mustang Island, and the Rockport/Fulton Beach area is overrun with them. The winter Texans, we are told, wander down here in dribs and drabs all fall and early winter. Then they all leave within three days of each other at April 1st.

The aforementioned Kings Inn at Loyola Beach is truly great (but an hours drive from CC to just barely south of Kingsville. Fun (and good) places to eat near the Island include Snoopy's (sit on the deck overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway); Del Playa (several locations); the restaurants mentioned above; and the best restaurant in town -- the Yardarm -- on Ocean Drive, easily the prettiest urban drive in Texas (all along the bayfront).

In Rockport, Charlotte Plummers for dinner.

There are a couple of RV dealers and supply houses (note Padre Island Supply for general purposes of hardware, close to CC RV), and a few more in Rockport. Diesel is readily available (we have several refineries here) and fuel prices are sometimes the nations lowest.

The beach is beautiful on the barrier island, it changes constantly. Yes, trash may wash in from all over the Gulf and sometimes sargassum weed is thick, but you won't ever forget the trip . . you'll just want to kick your parents for not having moved you here to enjoy your teenage years in such a place.

Incredible numbers of different shore birds.

Many types of fishing (beach surf, pier, wading (bays, inlets), kayak, big party general charter, guided, etc.

Many places for birding (over 400 species annually on the migration flyway; just saw first hummingbird today), and the road to the tropical Rio Grande Valley and border (we are sub-humid/sub-tropical here) is 140 miles; San Antonio is 150 miles; Houston and Austin about 200.

As you run Texas 358 (South Padre Island Drive) from Interstate 37, exit in Flour Bluff onto Waldron Road just before the JFK Causeway (takes you over the ICW to the island) and turn right for an enormous locally-owned grocery store -- H.E.B -- the size of a Walmart. I have manuevered my 63' rig in and out of here plenty of times. Excellent selection of foods (no groceries on Island beyond convenience stores); GREAT selection of Texas made sausage and favorite Texas cuts of meat.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #19
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Rednax- Is there any place you can camp and ride our atvs?
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:58 PM   #20
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Rednax - That is a fine write-up. We've stayed at a couple of nice RV parks on Mustang Island, and never miss eating at Shells restaurant in Port Aransas - a little modest place, but the most incredible seafood we've had since we lived on the Virginia coast.

Yep, Greater Corpus' driving-on-the-beach situation can be pretty dodgy. That and wading around the great clumps of Sargasso weed you noted - we though a cargo ship carrying yellow electrical cable had beached somewhere!
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:15 PM   #21
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I went up toward Port Aransas before hitting Padre Island this past Saturday and then headed south. The beach was packed but the temp was only 82 due to a passing cold front.
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:59 AM   #22
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Hot & humid has arrived. On the island it isn't much of a problem, here on shore it's "hunker down in the A/C until October" except before 0900 and past 1800 (the worst is 1400-1630).

Typo above: that Mexican restaurant in CC is "La Playa" with a couple of locations. Try also, "Kiko's" a mile off South Padre Island Drive (the highway). We've tried at least a dozen Mexican restaurants and find that CC is overrun with low-quality, but low-priced food of this style. The two recommended are still very good on price, AND the food is good.

U&I Steakhouse, downtown, is inexpensive for the fares offered, and one can park the whole rig across the road in a city lot. Under South Bluff, just off of the marina and beaches downtown. We rely on it for after-church, and prior to museum programs when with guests.

Also, in Port Aransas: Beach & Station Street Grill; Castaways.

In Aransas Pass: The Bakery Cafe

For Diesel: The VALERO station at Interstate 37 & Navigation Blvd, Exit [3] barely out of downtown CC and just off of S.P.I.D. (TX-358) from the island; or, off of TX-35 from Rockport.

There are plenty of places to buy diesel, but this place really pumps it, and the centralized location to this whole region makes it ideal.

I can haul my 63' rig off the service road around the station in back to Big Truck pumps (even if I have to wait; but those pumps really push it fast). The diesel, needless to say, is quite fresh being a hop, a skip & a jump from three refineries. Usually 10-cents cheaper per gallon.

As to ATV's, I'm clueless. Lot's of 4WD vehicles around here, and I have seen ATV's on Charlie's Pasture at the Ship Channel in Port Aransas, and, I think, on the National Seashore down past mile marker 11 (I'd check their site).

Bob Thompson posts on here (he's the windsurfer-sail repair/mods expert) and he's bound to know more than me on plenty of questions.

This is a beautiful, quiet place. The scenery on the way here is subtle to decipher, even for a Texan, but once here . . !!!!!!!!!
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:38 AM   #23
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Bob can probably verify whether this is true or not but I have never seen an ATV in the sand dunes nor have I seen 4 wheel drive vehicles in the dunes. I did see a few ATVs and motorcycles on the beach though. I'm thinking that riding in the dunes is forbidden due to erosion.

I'm not sure if this was posted earlier or not, you have to buy a $10 annual pass to drive/park on the beach. As we were leaving there was a guy checking stickers on windshields of parked vehicles.
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Old 05-24-2008, 12:03 PM   #24
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The beach is beautiful on the barrier island, it changes constantly. Yes, trash may wash in from all over the Gulf and sometimes sargassum weed is thick, but you won't ever forget the trip . .
I'm glad I found this thread. Padre Island National Seashore, PINS as it is affectionately called, is a well kept secret even among Texans. It's one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Consider this thread triple-double secret! PINS, encompassing 130,434 acres, is the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. Padre Island National Seashore

Make no mistake about it this place is wild. What is amazing to me is that although it is managed by the national park service as a national park it is still relatively unregulated. Hence the secret. Where can you still drive down a beach on the beach for 60 miles? I certainly wouldn't recommend driving it without a four wheel drive and lots of experience but after about mile 20 or 30 and well beyond the reach of the two wheel drives this beach becomes literally wilderness.

Yes, there are fisherman, and surfers, and others who venture beyond the comfortable driving zones but for the most part those who do have the utmost respect for the seashore. The park is known for its sea turtles and bird watching as well as for fishing, surfing and kayaking. There are also some amazing human beings who inhabit this place and who have made it their home over the years. These individuals work tirelessly to keep this place clean. You'll be lucky if you meet them.

One these individuals is Captain Billy Sandifer. Cap'n Sandifer is a man who knows Padre Island like very few others since the original Native Americans who inhabited these beaches. He is a fountain of knowledge on this beautiful Texas barrier island and it's long history. A man who focuses on the conservation of our natural resources and loves teaching others the same. Billy's passion for this island and everything it contains from the smallest shell to the largest meanest bull shark is unmatched. Captain Billy Sandifer Even the extreme shark fisherman who frequent PINS practice ecological minded cut and release techniques here and donate funds from their tournaments back to the park. Sharkathon

Check out Billy's site and you'll find lots of interesting details including fishing charters, naturalist charters, birding reports, turtle nesting reports, as well as details about beach clean-ups and ways to contribute to this unique community. Unfortunately, as has been said, trash does wash up to this beach from all over the Gulf. Many, many thanks to all those who have tirelessly gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep this place wild and free!
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Old 05-24-2008, 01:36 PM   #25
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Bob can probably verify whether this is true or not but I have never seen an ATV in the sand dunes nor have I seen 4 wheel drive vehicles in the dunes. I did see a few ATVs and motorcycles on the beach though. I'm thinking that riding in the dunes is forbidden due to erosion.

I'm not sure if this was posted earlier or not, you have to buy a $10 annual pass to drive/park on the beach. As we were leaving there was a guy checking stickers on windshields of parked vehicles.
Correct on the beach pass.

No one allowed in dunes. The situation at Charlie's Pasture is likely to change once fences go back up. The beach is great at the national seashore (I rode it a few weekends back with a long-time, four-wheeling/fishing resident), but be aware that in just 45-minutes it can change from good to bad or back. I wouldn't venture onto the Nat'l Seashore past the four-wheel-drive-recommended sign w/o that equipment.

As to the other, more popular beaches, 2wd is adequate, my highway rib (very low traction) truck tires are adequate, but no more.

As to other attractions, at Port Aransas one may visit the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, directly on the ship channel entrance. Has a nice set of displays inside, and I have enjoyed just sitting in the parking lot to watch a tanker sail past.

Outreach | Marine Science Institute

One ought also to check birding sites for recommendations for the areas to be seen. There is one just outside Port Aransas where we recently wandered out past the water treatment plant to check out some blue-billed ducks (we think, ducks) and a 12' alligator resting out of the sun under the elevated walkway. I'm told that this also changes week to week (salt marsh) and is a favorite for a post-dinner walk. A pic on this site:

Port Aransas, Texas - Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:24 PM   #26
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Dune

REDNAX thank-you for all your informative posts about the area. I've always wanted to know where to locate the best restaurants after a long, hot, gritty stay on the beach!

Concerning dunes: for as long as I can remember the dunes in the park have been considered off-limits to any and all motor-powered vehicles. Even walking in the dunes is discouraged. There is a good reason for this rule. According to the website for the park:

"Sand blowing off the Gulf beaches forms the dunes lining the island’s eastern shore. These are known as the “fore-island dunes”. Their existence is critical to the island because they form a natural dike, which prevents storm tides from inundating and consequently destroying the grasslands. In essence, they can be thought of as the barrier in the term “barrier island”. Walking in the dunes is discouraged, because paths can form and gradually widen into large gaps, which can require a long time to heal."

As has been said the weather and environmental conditions at PINS can change in a heart beat. It is what is referred to as Big Country with a capital B. And you can definitely feel it which is a good reason to visit. However, be careful. REDNAX's warning is a good one. Stay well inside the two-wheel drive area. No kidding! I know it's tempting. Like gazing into the abyss!

Actually I have driven the entire 60 miles all the way to the jetty at the cut in two-wheel drive under ideal conditions although of course I was in a four wheel drive vehicle and would have locked in the axles at the least sign of trouble. KIDS: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

If you choose to ignore the warnings at your own risk, as some do, make sure you are extremely careful about the tides. At certain times high tide will push the driving zone up close to the dunes where the sand is deep and not compacted for driving. Deep sand means you WILL get stuck --even in the best four-wheel drives. Also note when venturing beyond the comfort zones make sure you have plenty of gas. Driving in deep sand in four-wheel drive consumes lots of fuel! You wouldn't be the first to run out of gas, find yourself stuck, and at the exact moment the tides are rolling in. You get the picture. Emergency help is a long, long way away.

Please don't think I'm discouraging anyone's visit. On the contrary. It's a fantastic place. Just a reasonable warning to stay within the obvious boundaries and within your level of experience and you'll have a wonderful time! Enjoy!
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:23 PM   #27
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Having lived in and around the Island for the past 30 years I can say that ATVs are not welcome.....nor should they be. The dunes and shore survive and can still be enjoyed.
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:45 PM   #28
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NORTH Padre Island National Seashore

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Originally Posted by Tin Diesel
A couple of months ago, I posted the attached question about boondocking on South Padre National Seashore (SPNS)...We went this past weekend (Saturday-Monday Nov 18-20). Its about 5 hours from our home in Houston...

The executive summary is that SPNS provides 5 miles of uncrowded beach boondocking accessible by almost any vehicle, provided the driver is moderately careful.
Many thanks Tin Diesel for starting this thread. I was reading through the posts again and noticed something that didn't catch my attention the first read through that should be pointed out to avoid a lot of confusion especially for folks who aren't familiar with this area.

It seems to me (and please correct me if I'm wrong), based on the descriptions being given, that this thread has been describing NORTH Padre Island National Seashore not SOUTH Padre Island. These are two entirely different places. Even Texans confuse the two!

The main difference that separates North from South Padre Island is the Mansfield Channel. The only way across that channel is on a boat and not a small one either! There is no ferry. The drive to the southern tip of North Padre Island is 60 miles and requires a four wheel drive vehicle and a full tank of fuel to make the journey there and back.

Also North Padre Island is located just outside Corpus Christi, Texas while South Padre Island is accessible only through Brownsville and Port Isabel, Texas. Brownsville is in the southern most part of Texas and on the border near Matamoros, Mexico. That's a long way from Corpus Christi if you're using roads! Quite a different story if you're in a boat! South Padre Island is not part of the national park known as Padre Island National Seashore (PINS).
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