Moving down the coast

Whew!  We made it back to Arizona and are now camped near the town of Benson.  All I can say is Texas is one BIG state.  Before I start posting about our Arizona adventures, I want to finish up with the places we stayed while in Texas…….Rockport Texas

After a very fun stay in Galveston, Texas it was time to hit the road again.  We had four days in between reservations.  That meant, we had four days to do a three and a half hour drive.  Now that’s what I call meandering.

We still hadn’t firmly made up our minds about where we wanted to stay during that four-day time frame.  So we just hit the road moving south along the Texas Gulf Coast.  We had two options in mind; the Matagorda Bay Nature Park or Goose Island State Park.  Hmm, decisions!

When you purchase the yearly Texas State Park Pass for $70, you and your accompanying guests get free access to all Texas State Parks plus you’re given four cyber coupons good for 1/2 off a night of camping.  With that in mind, we decided on Goose Island State Park and put one of those coupons to use.

Beach camping

Goose Island State Park – Bay side campsites

Goose Island State ParkWe opted for a bay side site wanting to bask in as much sunshine as possible.  The other camping loops are nestled in a grove of oak trees with lots of low-lying branches and plenty of shade.  The folks at Goose Island State Park are very accommodating and upon check-in they will allow you to drive through the campground first and pick out Beach campinga site.  That’s a huge bonus as many of the bay side sites are not very level.  Some have a huge hump.

The campsites located in the loops with the oak trees could be challenging for bigger RV’s, so it’s nice to lay eyes on the sites first.

We lucked out with excellent weather during this 3 night stay.  Keep in mind while camping close to the water that salt spray is very corrosive and it only takes a couple of days for rust to show up. Last year, when the wind and weather kicked up, we saw a wave or two actually hit some RV’s camped in these bay side sites, but it doesn’t take actual contact to start the corrosion.

FYI – this part of Texas has sketchy Verizon coverage.  We had no problem with our internet but we did have issues talking on the phone.  This is AT&T country.  We received about 3 TV channels with our Jack Antenna.

Texas State Parks

A view of the fishing pier out my RV window at sunrise at Goose Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park – parking lot style camping

Port Aransas TexasFrom Goose Island State Park we continued down the coast to Mustang Island State Park for our scheduled two-week stay. This was a 45 minute drive and included a ferry crossing.

The campground isn’t the greatest but we love the area.  Within a short walk from the campsite over the dunes are miles and miles of gorgeous beach.  Corpus Christi, Texas is an easy 20 minute drive away with plenty of sights and shopping.  The quaint beach town of Port Aransas is 10 minutes up the road.

At Mustang Island State Park we had good Verizon coverage – internet and phone.  We pulled in a dozen TV channels with our over the air antenna.  When you book a week, the rate is discounted. The on site bath house is probably the oldest and most rustic we’ve encountered in the last couple of years.  I’m trying to be diplomatic, but between you and me, I thought the showers were pretty bad – old with lack of privacy. But overall we enjoyed our stay at Mustang Island State Park and would definitely stay here again.

Sand dunes

Me relaxing amongst the dunes and listening to the waves at Mustang Island State Park

How about some other camping options on Mustang Island?  Trust me when I say, you won’t run out of choices.

Mustang Island State Park

Boondocking

These tents were pitched along the shipping channel near Charlie’s Pasture Nature Center

Port Aransas

This RV was parked on the beach in Port Aransas near I.B. Magee Park

BoondockingBoondocking in the area?  YES!  Overnight camping is allowed in quite a few areas on Mustang Island but requires a permit from Nueces County for a fee.  Padre Island National Seashore has miles of sandy beach geared toward tenting and offers two dry camping campgrounds for RV’s.  Fees are very inexpensive

On the Aransas Pass side of the channel there is free boondocking and usually one or two RV’s at any given time can be spotted.  On weekends it can be busier.

Do note; the ground is rutted with some soft, sandy spots.  It would be wise to be able to read the lay of the land and have a good understanding of low tide versus high tide.

Mustang Island offers a multitude of private RV parks.  My folks used to winter at Pioneer RV Resort and it’s a very nice RV park.  If luxury is your thing, check out Gulf Waters RV Resort.  There are at least 3 more RV parks I drove by in the town of Port Aransas but they all seemed cramped and something I wouldn’t be interested in, not to say they aren’t nice, just not my cup of tea.

Polly Anna

Buy shrimp right off the boat in Port Aransas

Ok, let’s wrap up this post with the RV park where we spent the month of January.  This was our second January at this park and I viewed it a whole lot differently this year than last year.  I found it more enjoyable this go around, perhaps because I knew exactly what to expect.

Hidden Oaks RV Park

Entrance – Hidden Oaks RV Resort

First, the park was chosen by Al’s buddy and if you recall the whole reason for us being in Rockport, Texas, was for the guys to do manly things with manly men.  That said, Hidden Oaks RV Park is a no frills, rustic kind of place and located just down the road from Goose Island State Park.  It’s an ideal place for Sportsmen.  There’s even an apartment available in the club house for a nightly/weekly rate.

Although there aren’t any Park Models on site, there are trailers kept here year round as second homes.  The sites are close together, grassy with some gravel.  There are oak trees and low branches making maneuvering a bit of a challenge in spots.

Hidden Oaks RV Park

We stayed in one of their newer sites this year

The unique oak trees are pretty much a theme around Rockport as are goat heads…. you know, those tiny little burrs that stick to everything including pooches poor paws. We’ve encountered those little suckers everywhere in southern Texas and boy do they stick…. and hurt!

Last year I did check out a bunch more RV parks in the Rockport area and did not find anything more inviting than Hidden Oaks. On that note, let me share what I DID enjoy about the place.

Hidden Oaks RV Resort is located in a rural residential area and just down the street from the state park making it great for bike rides and walks.  Whooping cranes and Sandhill cranes hang out just a couple of blocks away and I could hear the cranes from my RV.  On occasion they even flew over the RV Park.  Management and guests are ALL extremely helpful, friendly, and engaging.  And the price is right at $300 for the month plus electric.  It fits our needs and interests and we would stay here again.  Remember this part of Texas is a birder’s and angler’s paradise.

Verizon and TV coverage is sketchy – same as I noted for Goose Island State Park.Corpus Christi Texas

So that’s it for my Texas campground review.  Let me know if I missed something or if you have any questions.  Happy trails!

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64 thoughts on “Moving down the coast

  1. Everything is certainly BIGGER in Texas! And except for the bath house, it all looked like fabulous trip and grounds! They have a big whooping crane festival by where you were staying every year. I’ve always wanted to go. My sister too.
    Wonderful images as always!

  2. Sometimes no frills is all you need if the surrounding area has lots to offer, which it certainly seems to based on your lovely photos. Great photo of you Ingrid, looking so relaxed. 🙂

  3. Great info on camping spots if we ever get to TX… You look fabulous in red…watching your SW temps….oh delicious!!! Still running our heaters time to time 😦

    • Even though the weather wasn’t always agreeable, we did have a great time in Texas and know we’ll return. So nice of you to take the time and comment as I know you are a very busy gal 🙂

  4. I totally felt that first line about Texas being a big state. We felt exactly the same way the first time we crossed it…will this road never end?? It’s deceiving when you’re planning trips through there.
    Nina

    • We do some long drives moving thru that state. Thank goodness we switch drivers and keep moving or it would take us a month to get out of Texas LOL.

  5. We love Goose Island SP—have stayed there twice for two weeks and would go back anytime. We’ve also considered Hidden Oaks for a month-long stay, so thanks for the great information. Such a lovely photo of you on Mustang Island!

    • Awe, thank you Laurel. Hidden Oaks has a very homey feel and I can’t say enough how nice everyone is.
      Lots of cranes here at Whitewater Draw…. loving it 🙂

  6. Yes, we stayed on the bay side of Goose Island for 2 weeks once..had to give the RV a complete scrub from top to bottom at Canyon Lake afterward..(that’s when they use to let you do that!). Texas takes forever to drive across, but the payoff in Arizona is worth it..We stayed at Hickiwan Trails campground in Why, AZ for 6 weeks in 2009..about 12 miles South of Ajo…It has great places to walk in the desert and find neat quartz rocks..and was full hook up… On the Tohono O’Odom Indian reservation..(I’m pretty sure I missed on the spelling). Also lots of military planes around, which Al would like!

    • Thanks for the tidbits Donna. I know I can always count on you for ideas. This year Al is definitely hitting the Pima air museum and we’ll probably visit the Desert Sonoran Museum again as it is too awesome not to. Hope you are thoroughly basking in that FL warmth.

  7. I hope you enjoyed your brief time back in Texas and sorry I haven’t been around to follow your adventures here much over the past few weeks. Glad you had the chance to take in some state parks, too… my obvious favs! Have fun back in Arizona! 🙂

    • 3 months isn’t brief for us and you certainly have had your plate full…. overflowing is probably more like it. We loved our stay in TX but it feels good to dry out and warm up in AZ 🙂

  8. Had a fish fry yesterday with shrimp from the Polly Anne, can’t beat their prices or freshness. The sun has graced her with her presence the last week or so, got a tad too much….looking a little red today.

    • Oh yum. Yep, can’t beat freshly caught seafood and I’m missing that H.E.B. store. The oranges I bought 6 for $1 were so tasty and are now gone 😦 I bought some in Sierra Vista for $3 and they have no flavor. Oh well…. might HAVE to return to TX next winter 😉

    • That snowy egret was a very accommodating model. I’m off to a wildlife refuge in search of cranes but high winds are expected. Wish me luck 🙂

  9. Wonderful posters. I hope you enjoy the Benson area. We stayed there five years ago and had a blast. The peak of 40,000+ sand hill crane migration is on now. If you hear of that going on be sure to visit the preserves near of Benson, especially near the border to take it in. It was one of the most spectacular sights I have ever seen.

    • This is our second time staying at the Escapees Park in Benson to get caught up with chores. It’s proven to be the perfect place for the jobs at hand. We’re heading to the Whitewater Draw NWR tomorrow to hopefully see a bunch of Sandhills. Fingers crossed we encounter a good showing 🙂

  10. The waterside site at Goose Island looks great. Did not know about the salt water affecting the rig, thanks for the information!

  11. We bought the Texas State Park Pass two years in a row. We used every bit of the $70 and if there is such a thing as “making money off of it” we did….in the sense of practically free camping. We loved the state parks.

    Thanks for the great job on the campground review. I checked out Hidden, and it looks exactly like a place we would stay. Can’t beat the price!

    • You welcome Marsha. We used all four of our Texas State Park coupons and enjoyed our stays. Hidden Oaks works well for us but it may not for other folks. I just can’t mention enough how warm everyone in the RV park and neighborhood were. Our friends attended a local church every Sunday and enjoyed the experience. I’m pretty sure we’ll return 🙂

  12. Ingrid, your post brought back some great memories of Mustang Island and Port A. It looks like you really had a fun few months there. Although a little damper and colder than AZ, it sure has some great draws. I’d do it again.

    • As I was preparing this post, a noise outside had me turn to hubby and say, “sounds like an air boat is heading out”. Hubby said laughingly, “Look outside”. We both bust out laughing as the border patrol helicopter flew by. I may be sitting in the desert, but I still have beach on the brain LOL. I’m sure we’ll go back 🙂

    • It took 16 hours to go from Corpus Christi TX to Benson AZ but in the RV it’s not bad. We took 3 days. Remember I can stop when I want and carry along my own bathroom, refrigerator, pantry, and bed. It’s the only way to travel. This former flight attendant and pilot won’t even consider getting back on an airplane (other than family emergency of course).
      I had a ton of fun photographing that egret. I couldn’t believe how close he allowed me to get 🙂

  13. Yep, Texas is one big state. It is 1545 miles from Houston to LA via I-10. El Paso is just about half way. In the other direction, Dalhart in the northern panhandle is 846 miles from Brownsville in the southern tip. Y’all come back now!

    • I’ve driven Texas from several different directions having gone from Colorado Springs to New Orleans or Corpus Christi; from Phoenix to Houston and back, always dreading El Paso. One of these days we’ll go south of Corpus as I know we’ll return to the Lone Star state. Hope you’re staying warm and dry in the panhandle 🙂

    • I’ll admit to being a little spoiled with accommodations in the west but I love being able to go from ocean to desert and embrace the diversity 🙂 Tomorrow, I go in search of Sandhill cranes in AZ… as if I didn’t see enough cranes in TX 🙂

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