When we think about Texas we think about delicious BBQ, wide open spaces, and cowboys (well, Kevin might not think about cowboys, but Suzanne does). What we didn’t think about in relation to Texas, at least until now, were beaches. But it turns out that Texas has some really spectacular beaches along its 367 miles of coastline.
When we left Betty’s RV park in Abbeville, Louisiana, our next stop was Dellanera RV Park in Galveston, Texas. The park sits in a quiet area on the west end of Galveston and is separated from the ocean only by sand dunes. This was the view out our back window for an entire week: a cute dog, sand dunes, and the ocean. What more could we ask for?
Speaking of cute dogs, Noah says that Galveston is one of the best places we have been so far. He has some degenerative issues with his hind end, as many large senior dogs do, and this limits how far he can walk. Because we were parked just steps from the beach while we were at Dellanera, Noah was really able to maximize his beach time that week. On one particular day, he didn’t even wait for us. As soon as we put his harness on he headed off on his own to explore.
Another reason Noah loved Galveston so much is because Suzanne’s friend Megan from Event 360 invited him over to swim. Megan’s family has a beautiful backyard with a pool just three miles from the RV park, so Noah went over there one afternoon for a doggie pool playdate. He loved relaxing on the floatie while the younger dogs played ball and wrestled each other.
We eventually said goodbye to Galveston and continued down the coast towards Port Aransas, Texas, a beach town near Corpus Christi that we had heard about from other RVers.
Along the way, we stopped for a stretch break and to switch drivers in a little town called Blessing (Fun Fact: when the town was founded in 1903, the residents wanted to name it “Thank God” but the United States Postal Service vetoed that, so they ended up calling it Blessing instead). There’s not much happening in Blessing, Texas, but there is a small hotel with a coffee shop so we wandered inside in search of caffeine.
We discovered that the Hotel Blessing Coffee Shop is actually a dining room at the back of the hotel. We were there too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, but we were able to help ourselves to a cup of coffee for 75 cents each, which we were instructed to drop into the ‘cash register’, a small cup sitting next to the coffee pot.
Helen Feldhousen, who has been the head cook and welcoming committee at Hotel Blessing since 1977, gave us a warm greeting and lots of information about the town. She and a few other locals who were chatting in the corner really made a strong argument for us to stay and enjoy Helen’s famous buffet lunch, but we had to keep going if we were going to make it to Port Aransas before dark. We told Helen we would take a raincheck and would plan for a longer stay the next time our travels take us through Blessing.
A few hours later we arrived at Aransas Pass, where we took the free ferry across Aransas Bay. Suzanne had been driving up until this point but she handed the wheel over to Kevin. It’s a short trip across the water and there are several small ferries running back and forth. A 30-foot trailer plus truck packed onto a small ferry means the cars are really close together. Kevin handled it like a pro, as always, and soon we were on our way to the beach.
When we first arrived at Port Aransas we thought we might never leave. There is a large open area at the north end of the beach were it is free to boondock (camping without electric/water/sewer) and we were able to back The Bullet right up to the water. This is not our photo, we stole it from the internets, but we did add the arrow to give you an idea of where we parked. It was beautiful.
One of the best parts about being parked at Port Aransas was getting to watch all of the ships come and go. And although we didn’t get any good pictures of them, there is a pod (or maybe several pods) of dolphins who enjoy frolicking in the waves created by the ships as they come through the channel. We saw the dolphins on multiple occasions and they seemed to be having fun escorting the ships in from the ocean.
Alas, as the weekend wore on, we discovered that although Port Aransas makes a fantastic first impression, it is not the perfect camping spot that we thought it was. It was busy. Very busy. Like, comically busy. Very few people were actually camping there, most were coming to fish or walk on the seawall or sit in their cars and stare at the water for 60 seconds and then leave. It got to the point where all we could do was laugh. This 8-second video we found of a busy parking lot at night will give you a good idea of what the Port Aransas seawall is like on a weekend.
When we left Port Aransas we said goodbye with no hard feelings. It is beautiful and we may return someday, just not to camp. We headed south in search of a quieter place to settle down for a few days and found what we were looking for just 30 miles further down the coast at Padre Island National Seashore, the “longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world.”
At first we didn’t think we were going to be able to stay at Padre Island. We were getting zero cell reception at the main campground and, since we are both working at the moment, cell phone service and internet connectivity are a must. But before leaving the park, we decided to check out Bird Island Basin, a smaller campground on the bay side of the island. Even though it was just a few miles away, for some reason we had perfect connectivity there. Plus, there was a spot for us right on the water for a mere $5 a night. We quickly made ourselves at home.
Padre Island was everything we had been hoping to find. It was quiet, we had really nice neighbors who had really cute dogs, and we could kayak just steps from our front door. After following the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas, this was the perfect last stop for us as we prepared to tear ourselves away from waterfront living. We’ll pick up here with our next blog post. For now, we’ll see you on down the road.
Additional photos from our time along the Texas coast: