After a fantastic two month stay along the Texas Gulf Coast, we’ve hitched up and started our journey back to the desert. I love having the freedom to split our time between two such diverse places; the Texas Gulf Coast and the Arizona desert. I’m grateful I don’t have to pick one or the other because each place offers something special and unique.
First, let’s talk about the water. Gosh, what’s not to like about water, beaches, and sunsets, or in my case, sunrises! All this water is the main attraction and the reason folks year round flock to the Rockport area.
You won’t find much of a beach scene around Rockport/Fulton, but it is an anglers delight. For miles of sandy beach, you’ll want to visit Mustang Island. With that said, there is a small stretch of sandy beach to enjoy at the Rockport Beach.
The Rockport Beach is a one mile long strip of land with sandy beach on one side of the road and a migratory bird area on the other side. This is a fee use area and you’ll need to leave pooch at home.
There’s a small area roped off so nesting birds won’t be disturbed, making this a worthwhile stop for birders and photographers. It’s also the perfect place to get in a little kayaking and paddle around an island to view nesting migratory birds.
Although summer is considered peak tourist season, you’ll find plenty of snowbirds in the winter hanging around and calling themselves winter Texans…. us included.
Because this is such a popular place to escape the harsher weather to the north, you never know who you’ll run into around here. Our friends, Faye and Dave, were wintering on Mustang Island, an easy one-hour drive away from our camp and we enjoyed a few get togethers with this entertaining couple. We also managed to squeeze in a few other social engagements.
This was our fourth year spending January in this part of Texas and our first time spending February. Thus, I’ve had time to put a dent in this list – 51 things to do near Rockport.
Rockport/Fulton are quaint, small town communities where everyone waves. You won’t find any high-rise condos around here, although it is a very popular spot for folks from the big cities of San Antonio, Austin, and Houston to own second homes. There’s also no shortage of RV Parks.
The original draw for us four years ago to visit the Texas Gulf Coast was for Al to meet up with his buddy and do manly things with manly men 😉 Little did I realize during that first visit, how I’d come to embrace and relish our visits to the Texas Gulf Coast.
And now it’s a toss-up as to which one of us looks more forward to these visits. Thankfully it doesn’t matter considering we’re in full agreement that we’ll continue returning until it no longer fits.
Fishing and hunting is extremely popular round these parts. We usually roll into town sometime during the last week in December which happens to be duck season.
The airboats can be heard going out every morning starting around 5:30 a.m. Once the Christmas/New Year holiday week is over, the morning noise lightens up during the weekday but continues in a steady stream on weekends. By the end of January, duck season is over and the only airboats going out are anglers and they tend to go out at a much more reasonable hour.
The St. Charles Bay can be rather shallow which is why airboats are so popular. But during certain tides, the sight of oyster boats are common. Oyster fishing is huge business around here and the first weekend in March is the Oyster Festival.
A lot of anglers fish from shore or don chest waders and fish while standing in the water. There are public duck blinds for anyone to use on a first come basis for duck hunting during the season.
Texans love their outdoor recreation. Allow me to share my winter Texas neighborhood along with the diverse activities taking place within relative close proximity to one another. AND everyone gets along, respecting recreational choice.
I alternate between walking and riding my bike around the neighborhood. Envision me having a Julia Roberts moment – a scene from the movie Eat, Pray, Love. There I am riding my three speed bicycle with a cute basket on the front (gotta have the basket, you know), camera slung across my body. As I pedal slowly, I glide down the tree-lined road.
My long flowing hair blows gently in the breeze (in reality the uncontrollable curly frizz is tightly bound and tucked under a cap in a battle against the extreme humidity and gusting winds 😖). I take in the sights and wave to passerby’s. As I exit the trees, I’m greeted by the expanse of the bay in the distance. Further down 8th Street, I see several cars parked along the road. The endangered whooping cranes can be seen in the field along with my favorite Brahma calf and a slew of other birds can be seen mingling near a pond.Of course, I too stop and start taking photographs (duh! like I’d pass up a chance to work that shutter). Folks from around the country and the world visit this part of Texas for the birding. Seeing a family of endangered whooping cranes is a rare and special treat.
There’s several of us lined up along the fence taking photographs of the whooping cranes. Locals and visitors a like engage in idle chit-chat. The loud boom, boom, bang, bang in the distance has a visitor questioning what the noise was. I, considered a winter local, along with another local dweller, exclaim nonchalantly, “Oh, those are the duck hunters in that blind out in the bay”. With that said, we were back to our photo taking and chit-chatting about the birds.
After snapping the camera’s shutter one too many times, I continue my bike ride along Lamar Beach Road. I ride by several fishermen enjoying the day. A kayaker in the bay was off paddling while the duck hunters were gathering up their decoys. I roll by pedestrians and other bikers and regardless of who I pass, hellos and waves are exchanged as if we know one another.
A short time later, I’m pedaling around Goose Island State Park. Although the shore birding around the park can be hit or miss, I can always count on pelicans to entertain me, especially if there’s someone cleaning fish at the cleaning station.
Let’s see, so far I’ve biked around the neighborhood. I’ve taken hundreds, actually more like thousands, of bird photographs. I’ve also enjoyed photographing interesting sights and amazing landscapes.
I can’t forget to mention, a visit to a marina shouldn’t be missed. There’s so much character and intrigue to see. Or how about doing a little shopping at Rockport’s historic downtown or touring an art gallery or two. This gal always manages to work in a few days of frivolous shopping.
On a rainy day, I get a kick out of visiting gift shops and checking out the crazy souvenirs. Who thinks up these things, and who buys it? 😉 Oops – guilty!
Here’s a write-up I did last year sharing a few more sites like the Fulton Mansion.
Hmm, I might write up one more post about the Texas Gulf Coast and then we need to move on. Ah yes, I already miss her…. miss the water and the birds and look forward to returning at the end of the year. But the desert is calling. The desert in bloom can’t be missed!