Saturday, November 26, 2016

Padre Island National Seashore

We left Goose Island SP on November 17. We drove about 80 miles through Corpus Christi in a fairly stiff breeze. I didn't mind because I was really looking forward to where we were going. We had been to Padres Island National Seashore one other time, but only stayed three days because the campground has no hookups and we did not have a good battery and solar set up. I was very eager to try out our new setup.

The campground is a first come/first served campground, but we were there by just after noon, so we were hoping for a good site. We scored site 9, which is the best site in the park in our opinion. Most of the sites are close together, but site 9 has a little space on the door side. This is still a tighter campground than we like, but the view out the back window makes up for it. We have found ourselves getting up early to see the sunrise.

We were planning to camp in the campground for a few nights and then move down to the beach. The campground is $8 per night ($4 if you have the senior pass). The beach is free camping. You can pick up the OTA TV stations from Corpus Christi, but the Verizon signal is weak at best. We could text, but phone calls will not work. In some ways the lack of communication adds to the experience of this place. We love it! This may go down as one of my all time favorite campgrounds. The first thing I noticed was the “vibe”. There is a totally different feel to the National Seashore in comparison to the SP's we have been staying in. The campground is full of people that like to live off the grid. It is just a different group than the RVers that want to have hookups. Everyone is very friendly without being overly so.

These two shots could be stitched together.

I came here to fish and I was happy to meet a number of other folks that were here to fish also. The surf fishing is very good this time of year and you can go to the back side of the island, that is a 4 mile drive away, and kayak and fish for trout.

The new battery and solar upgrade have worked very well. We do adjust the angle of the panel a couple of times each day to maximize the input, but that makes one panel enough. The advantage of more panels is you can just set them at one angle and forget them because the one time a day they are aimed perfectly, should be enough to recharge the batteries. We have only run our generator twice since we have been here. That was because I wanted to watch a football game on a cloudy day and my batteries got down to 75%. We leave a light on all evening and turn on what we need to without as much concern for running the batteries down. I may still add at least one additional panel, but we will see. I have talked to other Rvers in the campground that have solar systems and learned a few things from them.

I started the week with a few days of surf fishing. I really enjoy the fact that you could catch one of about 50 different species. It does become an issue to correctly identify what species you have and if it is edible or not. I have spent many hours in this pose.

We got in the truck and went down island. You can drive on the beach for 60 miles. We were looking at moving down to the beach for part of our stay. It is a bit dicey taking a rig as big as ours out on the sand. I am sure we would be fine, but getting stuck would not be good. We have decided that the campground is really good and we are going to stay on the safety of pavement. $8 per night with a bathroom and shower is a good deal. I need to remember this rate when I get to California and have to pay much more. I am hoping it will all balance out.

I fished for a few hours about 25 miles down the island at a place called large shell beach. Kim picked up shells and two trash bags full of trash. There is a bunch of stuff up in the dunes. Two currents meet off shore and pushes the trash up on the beach. There is an amazing concentration of shells at Big Shell Beach. 

On the way back we saw a coyote on the beach just walking along. We passed him and took his picture.

That was how we spent our first few days at PINS. In my next entry I will write about our second week and how long we are going to stay. If it was up to me, it would be a while. Wait a minute, IT is up to us.... Hmm, what will we do?


  1. Sounds great. I'm developing a case of hitch itch. Ya'll have fun, be safe.

  2. I'll be watching your posts closely. We may be in that area early April. Curious as to the bugs and internet (Steve works from the rig). I see plenty of free or pass campgrounds on/near the shore. We're considering a FHU County Park in Victoria for $12 a night. I'm still researching and probably won't decide for a couple of months still. Looks great though. Which CG are you at?

    1. I will try to report Verizon signal strength at each park we stay. This post is about the National Seashore. There is one campground, the rest of the camping is on the beach. There is only very weak signal out that far. We moved today to Mustang Island State Park and it has excellent cell signal and W/E and is $120 per week. Not a bad option to have walking access to the beach and jetty for fishing and swimming. Most of these coastal areas have enough wind that bugs are not bad until just before sundown. Let me know if you have any other questions.