Sweet Freedom - The Journey to Mustang Island
Back in 2009 my best friend, Amy, and I had just spent several days in San Antonio with my family. We were looking forward to hitting the road and heading towards the coast for a girls trip to the Gulf of Mexico. We had our sights set on Port Aransas, a beach town situated on Mustang Island just north of Padre Island. The trip took a little over 2.5 hours in our bright red rental car. The scenery was wide open and sparse with many tumbleweeds and ranches along the way.
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At this point in my life, I had never seen the ocean. Once we arrived we quickly checked in and made it our top priority to go down to the beach for a look. We were also hungry after our drive and thought we would come back up to the restaurant to eat before going for a swim.
Our lodging was located right on the beach with stairs that took you down to the dunes. We walked across the beach to the ocean’s edge where the waves splashed our feet. I had the strongest urge to jump in! When I looked at Amy, her eyes were bright and we decided right then that we were no longer hungry. We needed to swim! I needed to experience the ocean, it was calling my name.
Port Aransas Beach
We ran back to the room, threw on our suits and were back on the beach in a matter of minutes. We swam and played in the surf for hours. I was not prepared for how truly salty the ocean was. I have been in different parts of the ocean since then and have not experienced water as salty as the Gulf of Mexico was that day. Eventually, we gave in to our hunger and headed back up to the restaurant.
The beach was not crowded on that first day. However, it did fill up over the weekend. There were lots of families, popup tents, kites and coolers. The beach had a fun vibe and attracts a much different crowd than the beaches of South Padre Island.
Of course, we returned to the beach after eating. We spotted dolphins and schools of fish within the waves. A lot of time was spent watching the tiny crabs and mussels dig their way back underneath the sand after each wave. That evening we walked the beach, taking in the sounds of the waves at night. We came across a fisherman who had just pulled a shark out of the water. I am glad we enjoyed that first day out in the ocean because after seeing that shark Amy was done swimming.
Things to do on Mustang Island
Mustang Island State Park - We only had a few days on the island and tried to see as much as we could while still enjoying ourselves. One of the attractions we had planned on visiting was Mustang Island State Park. Amy and I are both avid nature lovers. We spent some time walking on the beach while watching the pelicans.
Drive on the Beach - There are portions of the beach that you can drive on. We enjoyed the freedom of being off-road. Keep this in mind if you plan any large picnics or tend to carry a heavy cooler.
Walk the Piers - We stopped at the Horace Caldwell Fishing Pier to get out over the water and take in the views. Even though we don’t fish, we didn’t mind paying the small entrance fee to just walk around. You could also visit Roberts Point Park. This location doesn’t charge a fee and looks like a great place to spot dolphins based off of the reviews.
Explore Port Aransas, Texas
Port Aransas is a touristy town but in a beachy, low-key way. We enjoyed checking out the beach supply and souvenir shop, mostly because you have to enter through the giant mouth of a shark! (Destination Beach & Surf - featured on RoadsideAmerica.com) There were also many other shops for local crafts, candy, etc.
We treated ourselves to a nice dinner on our last night. We were looking for delicious food with a fun island atmosphere - we found that at Shells! I am happy to see that they are still in business ten years later. The food was creative and fresh, it was a perfect ending to our mini-beach vacation.
Inspiration - Mustang Island, Texas
Spending time with my life-long friend on Mustang Island was a treat indeed. We had never traveled alone together and I am glad I got to experience the ocean with her by my side. Much like our time in Texas, female friendships can be beautiful, colorful and fill you with warmth.
Cheers! To fun girls everywhere!
This trip took place during the fall of 2009. When planning your own adventures, please be sure to check for any current travel alerts or changes in destination conditions first. Keep in mind that businesses mentioned may no longer exist or offer the same products recommended in this post.