Tuesday, December 31, 2013
South Padre Island and Brazos Bend State Park
If you follow us, you will remember that we were at Padre Island National Seashore or North Padre Island, staying at the national park. After a few stops, we decided that we had to visit South Padre Island and see what all the excitement was about.
This road picture is a little fuzzy , but you had to see the signs warning you about the pelicans.
Even though the sign was flashing, we had no problem with pelicans on the bridge.
Still on the bridge, you get an idea of the popular section of South Padre. Reminds us a little of Cocoa Beach or other Florida beaches.
There are not a lot of choices for camping on the island. There is a KOA and Isla Blanca County Park.
Jan and I pick the county park and settle on a site where we can look out our back window to the Gulf and this statue of Jesus welcoming the fishermen back to port. Similar to other fishing ports there are names listed of those who lost their lives at sea.
Our campsite allows us easy access to the beach. We are at the south end and this is our access to a breakwater and the beach to the left heads up to the large hotels.
A little choppy with the red flag flying. But ,a nice white sand beach. This beach is quite flat and hard enough to ride bikes and in some places, cars.
Quite cold on this day, but we had hours off walking on Christmas with just shorts and t-shirts.
From our campground, you can see up the beach to the large hotels. An hour's walk brought us quite a ways up into the hotel section.
Right outside the entrance to the park are a number of restaurants. But, most of them do not open until 5:00pm. But, -----we see Dirty Al's.
How could you not want to try Dirty Al's?
Not only is it a seafood restaurant at the marina, but is also sells bait and tackle.
Two things caught our eye. "Hog Parking". We assume means Harley Davidson parking. And , if you look at the sign on the door , there are two numbers to call for a taxi. HMMMM?
It is an interesting restaurant inside. You can tell it would be quite popular during Spring Break. Our office manager at the campground was telling us that the bridge we came across--with no traffic---would be backed up 20 miles or so during Spring Break with people trying to get on the island. It takes him hours just to get to work.
I had to take pictures of these neon signs inside. Not the usual up north.
Our meal was great, by the way. Oysters on the half shell and fried. They are local oysters from Galveston way. Larger than Wellfleet , but very tasty. Also some wonderful fried shrimp.
Jan even opted for a margarita.
A number of posters from this past Spring Break line the walls and ceiling.
I like the sign. But someone will have to tell us what a Bud and Clamato Chelada is.
At this point, I think some of you can claim you do not know this lady standing next to the art relief.
But then again, yes----, that is Jan, Mom, and Grammy.
She is on the left, by the way.
As we are leaving, we have to take a second look at the sign in the window.
Out Lady Blue's back window.
We had to look twice, and then realized it was a pirate ship out for a sunset cruise.
Even more surprising was to see this huge ship , coming so close to shore on its way north.
This was also right from our campsite.
Leaving South Padre gives a nice view of the lighthouse leading on to Port Isabel.
This time, we travel north through Corpus Christi.
A nice view on our right of the USS Lexington with a number of planes to view , as well, on her deck.
This would be a nice stop at another time.
Excellent online reviews send us south of Houston to Brazos Bend State park.
Jan and I are glad we made this detour. Now it is one of our favorites.
It's the weekend after Christmas and we stop in without a reservation. But--we are lucky and get the last site.
All the sites are great with lots of room and privacy.
It is a large park , with everything well spaced. On a warm holiday Sunday, there are lines of people lining up to enter the park. But there are no crowds inside the park. Miles and miles of hiking and biking trails, a nature center with plenty of activities, and even an active observatory.
There are over 300 alligators in the park.
Lots of turtles are enjoying the sun.
One youngster also found a snake out enjoying the sun as well.
Some are larger than others.
I do apologize. But, Jan insisted that this picture had to be included.
The park is something of a wildlife refuge. Lots of ducks. These are ibis, with the long curved beak for picking in the shallow water.
We also saw a great horned owl flying from a close tree to another close tree.
We were riding our bikes for this adventure. The roads and paths were very good for walking or biking.
We also see 20 to 30 alligators on the far shores.
He's right along the path. Do you see him?
We very carefully go by. I stopped for a second on my bike to take a picture and then away we went.