Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Port Aransas and Mustang Island, Texas

Heading southwest on Texas 35 into Aransas Pass, Texas turn south on Texas 361. You'll cross over the huge bridge spanning Redfish Bay and enter the area surrounding Corpus Christi Bay. As you enter Port Aransas the road comes to an end. Here, you must board the ferry, (Free, courtesy of Texas DOT) which takes you to the Peninsula, Port Aransas, Mustang Island and North Padre Island. Highway 361 is an interesting "highway" in that it ends on the island and turns to sand. You can then drive on the beach for about 13 miles until the "road" abruptly turns to soft shifting sand suitable only for four wheelers. Before it does that, though, you can turn right onto Access road 1 which takes you back to the main highway. There is dry camping on the beach all along this road. Pretty sweet!

Take Texas 361 south from Aransas Pass an you'll find yourself waiting to board the ferry to the island.

The ferry is free courtesy of Texas Department of Transportation. They figure it's cheaper than building a bridge and it provides employment for a substantial amount of people. Makes it a win-win situation.

Unlike the 2 1/2 mile journey across Galveston Bay, this ferry is a short hop across the inlet. About a 5 minute journey.

We stopped here to admire the dolphins, try out the surfboard and buy some souvenir T-Shirts.

Texas 361 turns from pavement to hard pack sand along the seashore.

We spotted several motor homes along this stretch of "highway". Parked right on the shoulder, their backyard is the Gulf of Mexico. Can't get much closer to the water than that.

As you can see, the roadway is hard packed sand and very smooth. It was almost like pavement.

Well, "DUH", you're driving ON the BEACH !

I'm not sure if this sign is for the Texans or the tourists...

A beautiful picture of the Gulf of Mexico, looking eastward.

And a similar picture looking west. Notice the lack of crowds, cars and people. While we didn't spend the night, I bet the sunrise and sunsets are beautiful. At night, all you would hear is the sound of the waves. We made a note to come stay a few days in the future.

We had heard of Mustang Island, it's fishing and it's "wonderful" State Park. While we were in the area, we thought we would stop by and check it out. We purchased the yearly State Park Pass which allows access to all Texas State Parks for the year.

While you can drive to the beach and it's a beautiful stretch of sand, I believe the campground is way overrated. This is the extent of the camping and it's away from the water packed in like sardines. I would rather stay on the beach shown it the pictures above. Of course if you need hookups, electric and water, no sewer, that's different, but I was sure disappointed.

We completed our journey by returning to Port Aransas.
A lone fisherman enjoys the solitude of fishing, watching the ferry shuttle traffic onto the island.

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