Filed under: Family Day Trips, Family Weekend Trips, Kid-Friendly Trips, Nature & Wildlife, State & National Parks
Padre Island National Seashore
We are currently enjoying being parked near the ocean on Padre Island National Seashore. If there is one thing that our family loves, it is being on the beach! We love everything about the ocean, from the warm sand between our toes to the roar of the waves!
The entrance to Padre Island is through Corpus Christi, TX, and the visitor’s center to the National Seashore is located about 15 miles down the island, over nicely paved roads that are accessible to any size rv. The Padre Island visitor’s center offers many activities throughout the week, and everyone is welcome whether you choose to stay on the island or in one of the many private rv parks located in Corpus Christi. Right now, Jan. through about April, is one of the best times to visit Padre Island! Be sure to stop at the visitor’s center, where they daily offer a beach walk starting at 11am, and a deck talk at 1pm. They also offer many other activities throughout the week – everything from birding lessons to advanced birding walks, to evening amphitheatre talks about ocean animals, -they even have nighttime star observation activities.
We love that the beaches here are so open to use! There are people fishing from the beaches (we were even invited to a campground-wide fish fry!), riding their bikes up and down the shoreline, walking their dogs, and even driving. The beaches along P.I. are considered Texas freeways, but be sure to observe the speed limit of 15 mph!
Of course you all know my family’s fetish with the National Park system’s Jr. Ranger program! Padre Island has a great one! Since we are parked here for over a week, we were able to take our time with the program. We went to deck talks, beach walks, amphitheater programs, and talked extensively with the rangers. We learned so much!!! One fun and interesting animal we learned about is the Gafftopsail Catfish; most people have heard the legend of the sand dollar, but have you even seen a Gafftopsail catfish? This catfish has the most unusual skull…
Can you see the depiction of Christ on the cross? And, when you shake the skull bone, there are little bones that rattle inside; many say that this is in remembrance of the dice that the soldiers threw when they cast lots for the robe that Jesus wore. We found that so intriguing, we love to get ranges that personalize their talks based on who is there! On the way home from the talk (about a 10 min. hike down the beach), God blessed us by placing a ‘Crucifix Catfish’ (as it is often referred to) skull right in our path – where there weren’t any other shells or debris! We don’t save many keepsakes in our travels, but this one is hitting the road with us (after a good bleach soak!).
The kids turned their Jr. Ranger booklets in this morning and received their coveted Jr. Ranger badges, and also embroidered patches for participating in helping to clean up the beaches by picking up bags of garbage.
Whether you are looking for an activity that allows you to enjoy the scenery from the comforts of your toad/tow vehicle or would like to get in on the action with an informative and informal tour on foot, whether you are a vacationing family or seasoned snowbirds, a visit to Padre Island National Seashore is sure to be a hit!