Padre Island National Seashore, Texas, USA

After 3 very fun days in San Antonio, we made the 2-hour drive down to Corpus Christi Texas so we could visit Padre Island National Seashore. The traffic leaving San Antonio was pretty heavy, but before we knew it we were out on the open road of Texas, actually it was Highway 37. The drive was pleasant and there were not a lot of cars on the road. One thing I really enjoy doing when traveling is driving on an open freeway in a place I have never visited before.

After driving about two hours, we arrived to our Hotel and stayed for the night. We were so stuffed from the late lunch we had a Lulu’s earlier with the 3 pound cinnamon roll that we weren’t hungry at all for dinner, so we watched TV and went to sleep.

Padre Island National Seashore Day 1

We woke up a little bit later than we wanted, but we were excited to visit a National Park on the beach, so that motivated us to eat breakfast quickly and get going. The hotel offered free breakfast, but it wasn’t near as good as breakfast at the Drury Plaza Hotel in San Antonio.

Once we left, we made a quick stop at Walmart to get gas and to buy some beach toys. We drove the rest of the way to the National Seashore. When we arrived, we parked the rental car and walked up the deck to near the entrance of the Museum and Visitor Center. From there we decided to walk down to the beach first since it looked like it was going to rain soon. The weather was overcast and cool. It kind of reminded me of the beach in southern California in the month of June, only we were in Texas and it was early April!

We soaked our feet in the cool water and hiked a little bit up and down the beach. We decided to go back to the car and drive a little bit further south to see more of Padre Island. In only about a mile, the road ended at the sand. We decided to drive on the sand a little bit, but we turned around because our rental car was having some traction issues (even though it was an SUV and was all-wheel drive). We parked right where the road ended and the sand began, and we set our selves up on the beach there.

We spent a good portion of the afternoon relaxing on our large waterproof beach blanket and dipping our feet in the water. Our afternoon was cut short when it began to rain really hard. We packed up our belongings and headed out of the park. The rain slowed down quite a bit, so we stopped again at the Museum, this time with the intention of going inside and checking it out.

Padre Island Museum and Visitor Center

The visitor center was small, but packed with interesting information on the history and modern day preservation efforts of Padre Island National Seashore. They are not only trying to preserve the animal, plants and wildlife that lives at Padre Island, they are trying to preserve the land itself. There are no hotels at or near the National Seashore, there are no restaurants, stores, or gas stations either. You either need to head northwest to Corpus Christi, or head southwest to South Padre Island where you can find plenty of hotels and restaurants. The National Seashore’s goal is to preserve the land around the beach and to not spoil it with buildings and resorts.

Evening of Day 1

After we were finished at the Museum and Visitor Center, we headed back to our Hotel in Corpus Christi. On our way we stopped at a surf shop and bought souvenirs and shirts. Then we stopped for dinner at a Tex Mex food chain called Chuy’s. They are not only in Texas, in fact, they have them as far north and west as Denver, CO, but the food was delicious. I especially loved their Happy Hour Nacho Bar. After stuffing ourselves full, we returned to the Hotel and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and relaxing.

Padre Island National Seashore Day 2

Because it was cool and overcast our first day at Padre Island, we decided to visit again the next day. Our original plan was to leave in the morning to go back to San Antonio and spend more time at the Riverwalk, but because it was so much warmer the second day, we checked out of our hotel and went back to Padre Island Seashore. Today we played on the beach a lot more and relaxed on our towel. By afternoon it began to get hot and humid, so much different from the day before when it was overcast, rainy and only in the 60s.

Is Padre Island National Seashore Worth the Visit?

If you are visiting any of the nearest Texas cities to Padre Island, such as Corpus Christi, which is a neighboring city, or San Antonio (about 2 hours away), or Austin (about 3 hours away), should you take the time out of you trip to visit Padre Island National Seashore? Before I answer that question, here are a couple of points to consider:

  • If you like the beach at all, you should visit Padre Island
  • If you enjoy National Parks, you should visit Padre Island, because it is just that, a national park on the coast
  • If you like unspoiled natural beach with no city, hotels, office buildings, or restaurants, you should visit Padre Island
  • If you love resorts and hotels on the beach, steer clear, this beach is all about nature
  • If you are looking for a fun alcohol-filled Spring Break, steer clear, there is none of that here

We really enjoyed our trip here, so we highly recommend this place to anyone visiting within a 3 hour drive.

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