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Old 11-21-2006, 11:35 AM   #1
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Update - boondocking on Padre Island National Seashore

A couple of months ago, I posted the attached question about boondocking on South Padre National Seashore (SPNS): http://www.airforums.com/forums/f386/boondocking-padre-island-anyone-26158.html

The responses gave us lots of very helpful information, which we appreciate (as always). It deserves an update.

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.

Admittedly, I'm only speaking about when we were there. I understand that the driving conditions vary. However, you can get a report by calling the ranger station. We did not need 4WD, but I personally wouldn't go there without it, as trouble lurks! But hey, this is Texas! There's nothing a good-ol-boy likes more than justifying his monster 4WD truck by pulling somebody out of a tight spot! And they drive by every 15 minutes!

There is a paved RV parking site at the entrance. No electric, but there is fresh water and a dump station at the entrance. Kind of cramped, however, for those of us who dislike those 'line-'em-up-close' campsites.

After you get onto the beach, there are five miles of good driving beach where you can boondock. After that they recommend ONLY 4WD vehicles, and even those can get in trouble. We didn't go that far... only about 1 mile down. I think the fishermen go into the 4WD area.

At this time of year, the weather was fabulous (70 degrees, but windy) and the beach was pretty deserted - especially Sunday afternoon and Monday (see pics). The water was cool, but you could wade comfortably. We know from experience how hot it can get in the summer, and I suspect during more crowded periods you won't get 1/4 mile (yes, quarter-mile) spacing between campers.

I would offer the following positive comments.

1. Beautiful blue/green water with small waves most of the time.
2. Lots of surf fishing (based on the number of vehicles we saw with huge surf casting poles)
3. Attractive sand dunes (if you're into that)
4. LOTS OF SOLITUDE!
5. Interesting birdlife - lots of giant blue herons, hawks, and numerous seabirds
6. Relatively clean beaches (according to the brochure, 98% of the 'trash' washes up from the gulf.)
7. Bonfires are allowed.

Some negatives:
1. Driving is allowed on the beach - good thing, or we couldn't get there. However, you can see from the pics that the 'roadway' comes pretty close to the edge where you camp.
2. Not all drivers observe the 15 MPH speed limit.
3. There's no "quiet time". Vehicles can (and do) come by at all hours. Early morning fishermen start rolling through at 6am.
4. There's still a lot of trash, even if campers didn't bring it.

Recommendation: if you have a generator and are in the vicinity, DON'T MISS IT!

P.S.: there's a small town before you turn off to head to the beach. They have a drive-thru manual carwash. We sprayed everything down with fresh water as soon as we got off the beach.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:31 PM   #2
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Now that has to go on the list of great places....
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:28 PM   #3
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It looks to me like a very tough place to go camping what with the beautiful scenery, decent weather, great water access, solitude when you want it - that may be just too much and I'd have trouble leaving. Thanks for sharing your thoughts - this would be a great place to try out next year this time. And given we've had record rain on the west coast for what seems like forever (a month can seem that long when it's raining hard most days and high winds) the urge to hook up right now and head that way is even stronger.

Barry
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Old 11-21-2006, 01:40 PM   #4
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I was there two years ago. I stayed a few weeks and loved it.

The water came up pretty close to the trailer a few times though.

How about the coyotes? They chewed the top of my big cooler and even stole a flip flop I had left by the door!

There are some photos in my sig.
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Old 11-21-2006, 02:04 PM   #5
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Coyote tracks

We did see some tracks one morning, but we knew about them and were careful not to leave anything where they might get to it.
Definitely a consideration.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:55 PM   #6
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I was born and raised in Corpus Christi so I spent much of my first 16 years at Padre Island swimming, surf and pier fishing, collecting sea shells, eating sand-laced hotdogs and just soaking up the rays. Those pictures bring back fond memories of the entire Padre Island National Seashore area. I go back home to see my sister and mother every Thanksgiving. I even drove along the beach 3 years ago when I visited. It sure is something everyone should do. In some areas developers want to stop driving on the beaches and in turn they will widen development. This has been fought successfully so far because Padre is one of the very few beaches in the US allowing you to still drive on it.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:04 PM   #7
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Wow, that looks great.....any problems in the sand?
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Old 01-03-2007, 10:35 AM   #8
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Great pix and info. Page and I are planning a trip to Big Bend this spring, and this would be a great waystation. Karma coming your way.

Pat
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:40 PM   #9
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Parking in the sand

Hi Silvertwinkie,
just noticed your question on this thread about parking in the sand at Padre Island.

I noticed that a lot of people who didn't have 4x4 parked perpendicular to the dunes (backed in). The sand was harder the closer you got to the water (softer toward the dunes). That way their TV was on solid-packed sand (and also tended to force drivers further away from the trailer) even if the trailer wheels were on softer sand.

We had 4x4, and wanted to be as far away from the 'road' as we could be, so we parked as shown in the pics (parallel to the beach).

One last comment - 2 months later, and I'm still finding sand in some of our equipment. It was windy when we were there, and that stuff gets into EVERYTHING!

Not sure if that answers your question. Bottom line for Padre Island is that we're trying to schedule time to go back ASAP.
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Old 04-14-2007, 08:33 PM   #10
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Gulf of Mexico retreat

The wife and I want to go to the Corpus Christi area for a getaway an would like some suggestions. appreciete the help.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:59 PM   #11
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Mr. R is bugging me-

Gee, I want to go to the beach! Is there any current info about san padre island in corpus cristi. Yea,Yea, I know Texas is a whole other country, but don't wanna go to mexico, secret agent man would have to ask to go and we would all need a passport-So Texas it is-Tamara
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arodriguez60
Gee, I want to go to the beach! Is there any current info about san padre island in corpus cristi. Yea,Yea, I know Texas is a whole other country, but don't wanna go to mexico, secret agent man would have to ask to go and we would all need a passport-So Texas it is-Tamara
This thread might help some, particularly the TX. Park link:
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f386...xas-21700.html
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:23 PM   #13
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We spent two months at Corpus this past Winter and several times we ventured over to North Padre and it was the same scene. Drove some 5/6 miles (sans a trailer)along the beach There was spots to camp anywhere along the beach. I'm glad we had 4 wheel, as you say away from the beach it gets REAL soft. If you can't make it to S.Padre, I'd suggest you stop by N. Padre. Lots to see in Corpus.
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Old 04-16-2007, 07:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arodriguez60
The wife and I want to go to the Corpus Christi area for a getaway an would like some suggestions. appreciete the help.
While in Corpus Christi you might want to visit the aquarium as well as the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. They provide tours of the carrier and it is pretty neat.
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