After Houston, the thought was to head a bit further south for a couple of extra degrees of warmth, and hit the Gulf of Mexico coast for a change of scenery. The drive itself was a short one, but was almost exclusively in drizzle, some rain, or really low hanging clouds (like, 200 feet low). And the closer we got to Corpus Christi, the foggier it got.
Port Aransas is located on a barrier island to Corpus Christi; specifically, Mustang Island. To get there, you have to cross over a relatively short, but fairly high bridge leaving Corpus Christi, then take a left onto Mustang Island. As you can see from the photo below, those low hanging clouds completely obscured our visibility going over that bridge!
Grateful to be at the end of our drive that day, we settled into Pioneer RV Park, just a few short miles away from Port Aransas proper. We chose it because it had beach access just a short walk over some dunes. Our spot ended up being about 200 yards away from the gulf, which meant we heard the surf constantly. Really nice when you have the vent covers open at night. Good park. WiFi was OK, nice cement pads (a bit narrow for my taste) and they picked up your trash every morning if you left it out for them.
Unfortunately, while the park and location were both nice, the weather refused to cooperate for the entire week we stayed there. Rained just one night, but foggy and misty until our departure morning when the sun finally peeked up over the dunes. One night we had winds so fierce, I almost brought in the slides to keep our toppers from being damaged! And even though we had hoped for some warmer weather, it remained cooler than normal throughout the week. Only had the top down on the Mini Cooper one day, which when you find out about what is so cool regarding Mustang Island, ended up being a huge disappointment.
This is not to say we had a bad time; just that it could have been soooooo much better.
Taz got to see and walk on her first beach, even if the big chicken wouldn't put her paws in the water.
We spent a day touring the retired aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington, now based out of Corpus Christi. Nice self-paced tour up and down lots of ladders, a $5 sort of-kinda-almost F/A-18 “simulator” ride, and a good collection of Navy planes on deck that show the progression of U.S. Naval aviation.
We used our new Texas State Parks Pass to check out potential camping sites at Mustang Island State Park for visits later this year.
But the coolest thing we found out about Mustang Island is the driving beach. Yes, you can actually drive onto the beach for about a 12-mile stretch. In fact, it's the only legal roadway in the U.S. on a beach. There are 3 access roads from in-town Port Aransas to almost the state park where you can just drive your car, truck or even RV onto the hard packed sand. Free to drive, $12 to be able to park on the beach if you're going to rough it in a tent, and $40 will allow you to camp for up to 3 nights once per month for a full year – IN YOUR RV! Just pull onto the beach, keep your RV 25 feet away from the dunes, and 50 feet away from the water, and you can wake up on the beach for 3 successive mornings. Definitely on our to-do list!
Since we already had a spot at Pioneer RV Park, we weren't going to shell out the $40 bucks for the beach RV experience, but it is sure on our minds for a return trip to take advantage of this unique opportunity. We did, however take the Mini for a spin on the sandy track.
Met some nice people while we were there, but didn't do too much socializing as Barbara was under the weather for the last 3 days of our visit (she's better now, thank you). All-in-all, Port Aransas is a potentially really nice place, but we just had a run of bad luck for the week. Otherwise, it's on our list of places to return to in the future.
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're planning the ultimate retirement experience - travel the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, play golf and stop at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.