Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Padre Island National Seashore

©Bert Gildart: Padre Island, located in south Texas, is a creation of the ice ages, and most likely, created in combination with the deposition of sands left by crashing waves and by the deposition of sediments left by major rivers, such as the Mississippi and the Nueces. The result from this meld of forces has produced North America’s most extensive barrier island, and, in part, it is for this reason that a substantial portion of Padre has been designated a National Seashore.

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In places, camping at Padre Island is wide open

Though we have only been here for a few nights already we have tallied dozens of species of birds and kayaked some challenging waters. As well, we have camped in situations that were completely novel to us. In fact, that is one of the attractions for campers.

Padre Island has a developed campground near the Visitor Center, but at this time of year, unless you arrive early, and particularly during spring break, you’ll find it full, as did we. But alternatives are available, and they are attractive.

PRIMITIVE CAMPING

Padre Island is about 60 about miles long. On one side you have the Gulf of Mexico, the other side, the Intracoastal Waterway, all separated, of course, by Padre Island, which in some places is several miles wide, and it is here, just south of the Visitor Center that you can camp along the beach. In fact, many prefer camping here, and for the first couple of nights that’s what we did, accessing the beach by driving a mile from the Visitor Center to the end of the pavement and then driving onto the hard packed sand until we found a location that suited us.

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Squadrons of Pelicans

Finding such an area was easy, as our friends Don and Nancy had arrived several days prior to us and staked out an area flanked by dunes to one side and the Gulf to the other. We positioned our Airstream so the front faced the ocean, finding we had to use 4-wheel drive to prevent spinning the wheels of our truck and so burning up rubber. (Silt in sand can quickly eat up tires if you spin them.)

OCEAN KAYAKING

We camped here for several days, enjoying the “squadron” of pelicans, as Don called them. As well, I enjoyed kayaking the surf, finding that my 17-foot long Current Design sea kayak easily powered through the crashing waves when I paddled vigorously. However, I found it an immense challenge when I attempted to turn around and return to the beach. For a few moments I was broadside (here’s where you practice THE BRACE), and more than once I flipped-caught in waves that suddenly developed and towered over me-but the water was warm, and our composite kayaks tough, so no damage sustained to anything other than to my pride.

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Sea kayaking, Padre Island on Gulf of Mexico side

We might have remained camping on South Beach except for the wind, which developed along with a storm. Drifting sand was beginning to cover everything, so we moved to the developed campground early yesterday, finding that during the week many sites had been vacated. We moved out of choice though there are times when rangers warn campers to move, particularly if the surf edges toward the dunes. No such problem from this storm and from these winds, just from the blowing sand, and right now we’re very content at Malaquite Campground, where bird life is still abundant and where we can still hear the pounding of the surf. A boardwalk takes us from our Airstream and down to the edge of the Gulf-back to the sand.

Most likely, this is where we’ll remain, exploring the park from Malaquite-finding Padre offers an abundance of activities that suit our many and varied outdoor interests.

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KAYAKING ELSEWHERE:

*Kayaking to the Wreck of the Francisco Morazan

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3 Responses to “Padre Island National Seashore”

  1. Tom Palesch Says:

    Glad you made it to Padre Island. It is a uniquely wonderful place. Dry camping on the beach is wonderfully democratic. Everybody gets sand in everything. College kids drink it in their beer and diletants find it in their sushi and wine. Sand and wind are always present.

    We loved Malaquite CG and met some wonderful people there. It is a unique place and abounds with great wildlife. The wind surfers were fun to watch too on the ICW side of the isle.

    Great pic of ocean kayaking. I bet that was exciting making the turn without broaching. We saw something else you two should try and it’s very green … para surfing.

  2. Peter and Corry Says:

    Hi Bert and Janie:
    Too bad you had to leave the surf paddling capital of Texas.
    That picture of you in the surf looks better than any pictures we have of me in the surf there.
    Wer are back in the great white North again.
    I will send you our picture page link.
    Cheers,
    Pete & Corry

  3. Bert Gildart Says:

    Janie and I met this delightful couple from Canada who enjoy so many of the same activities that we enjoy. They sent me a link to a web based picture page, which some of you who travel the Southwest might enjoy: http://s118.photobucket.com/albums/o111/bevelheadpeegee/texas%202009/?albumview=slideshow

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