We may have over-extended our days on the beach at Port Aransas, but we weren’t too concerned cause we knew we weren’t going to come back there and its not like they can tow a big rig like ours!. The last morning though we did have a “beach patrol” drive by and check our beach parking sticker (on day 7) – which was 1 day past our allowable days. Did I tell you that it is $12 for the beach parking sticker? The general rules are that you are allowed to beach park/camp for 3 consecutive days in a row, and a total of 6 days out of 21. But we realized they have no way of checking that you are or aren’t there for longer than you need to be. We aren’t abusers of things in general, but it was so awesome camping on the beach that we didn’t want to leave! Regardless, after 7 days of beach camping, we needed to dump and fill…and headed to Mustang Island State park for 1 night to do just that. We weren’t even really in our camp spot for 10 minutes, and we had 4 separate visitors enquiring about our Ruby. Normally we don’t care if people come by and chat, but FFS let us at least pull in, setup and sort ourselves before you start firing questions at us. Anyway, I can’t complaint, we survived, and managed to answer all the questions, take a beach walk, ride our bikes, charge our batteries, fill our water tank, and hand out 2 bags of Hawkins cheezies to a desperate Canadian (living in Houston and camping here).
We left early the next day to head down to South padre Island; we were looking forward to this beach destination! Surprisingly it was almost a 4-hour driving trip from Mustang Island. We didn’t have a definite plan for where we were staying AND we found out it was American spring break….ugh….Dropped the bus at the visitor centre while we went to scope out beach camping in Trixie. South Padre is not as cheap to camp on the beach, as it is $12/day, but you can get an annual pass for $30. We checked out 2 or 3 beach access areas and determined that the beaches on South Padre are too soft for our Ruby – she would sink ….So we had to implement plan B – we didn’t have a plan B! Drove around the island for a bit trying to find RV camping options. Found out that the county runs 3 campgrounds on the island; only 1 offering boondock/dry camping which was at the Andy Bowie Park. This is funny though because we pulled up to Andy Bowie 10 minutes prior and the attendant says all dry camping is closed for spring break BUT when we got to head office, they said “hey, there is a spot open at Andy Bowie for dry camping for 4 nights”. We got on the computer and booked the ONLY dry camping at Andy Bowie and 20 mins later we showed the same attendant our campsite permit and he waved us through. Pretty sure that 1 camp spot was a glitch in their system as there was no other dry campers in the park. Basically, it’s a parking spot at the far end of the parking lot just off the beach dunes. We were 100 steps from the beach and about 350 sandy steps away from the “Claytons – biggest beach bar in Texas” – which could be good or bad as it was spring break! The first night was pretty uneventful, but we pulled out the lawn chairs, listened to some music and were entertained by fireflies for a few hours! This was cool, never seen fireflies before!
Also wanted to check out the SpaceX launch site down on BocaChica highway, which is east of Brownsville. IT was cool! We were so surprised how easy it was to drive in and access the entire site. There is a small town there, and according to google, Elon bought the town. There is also an airstream park there, where everything is perfectly perfect – I should have taken a video of it but didn’t. We weren’t sure if these were for the crew or if they were to rent, regardless, google wasn’t helpful on that.
Here is the video of driving to SpaceX: SpaceX
So back to South Padre Island – almost the entire month of March is setup for spring break and unless you are a college student and want to party, SPI tourism says don’t come here! We were warned by a few people that it was going to be insane, and this is an example of what people said we were in for:
Lucky for us, this is all the insanity we got to see: SpringBreak As the week wore on, the crowds did increase, but nothing to the amounts of what is in the picture above. The most annoying party day included a really bad daytime DJ playing terrible music (I know…. we are old) slamming F-bombs non-stop in the mic about absolutely nothing comprehensible. We could kind of hear it, but not really as i think the wind off the ocean was in our favour and we didn’t hear alot. But on the same beach steps away from this DJ was a small Christian group of people with a single speaker preaching to anyone that would listen to “drop your beer and pickup a bible”. We also saw a guy carrying the cross along the beach twice – its definately and eclectic grouping of people and ideas. Aside from spring breakers partying like rockstars, they also need a sober ride home. There are a bunch of churches from all over the area that bring there decorated white vans and they give free ride services to anyone that needs to get home safely – this is such a great idea!
After our 4 days at Andy Bowie Park parking lot, we found out from another full time RV’er that you can stay/park for 24 hours on the street in south padre island as long as you are in a marked parking spot. We had no real plans for the next 3 days, so we scoped out 3 different parking spots to make sure there was space for our Ruby, and every 24 hours we moved to a different spot. The best thing about our new locations was that we were in the middle of the island (it is only ½ a mile wide) and you can see both the sunrise and sunsets!
Here’s a few things we learned about South Padre Island and about Spring Break:
- spring breakers bring their own beer/drinks to the beach but they don’t bring a cooler to store them (so basically drinking warm beer….ick) (yes open alcohol is allowed)
- spring breakers don’t bring sunscreen, towels, chairs, food or anything else that sounds logical
- keep your eyes peeled for girls flashing their chichi’s from the back of a truck bed to passersby
- we are glad that we are old enough to know to bring our own chairs, music, drinks in a cooler, food, games and anything else we need on a beach
- love that you can walk around anywhere with a fancy drink in your hand!
- you can camp/park in designated street parking spots and no one will report you / care!
- the island is VERY pedestrian friendly – there are bike/walk lanes everywhere and we used these daily
- the island is still Texas, so everyone is still friendly and glad you are here
- there are A LOT of rules on the island (beach parking, street parking, land use, etc), if you come here make sure you know all the rules as there is NO shortage of code enforcement, sheriffs, highway patrol and police patrolling 18 hours a day
- did I mention the sunsets?
Spent our last two days at the beach – and wow is it a long beach, full of people. Have never been to a beach that is so full and also so active, such as football, baseball, spikeball, volleyball and of course we are making BONES famous!
We realize that randomly staying on the street is not for everyone, and even we can only do it for a short time. Its hard not to get excited that staying here doesn’t cost us a cent but its also like prime real estate and we get the best views, which is so very cool! At this very point in time, at this spot on the island, drinking our fancy drinks on the street, waiting for the sunset….is frickin amazing! We are so blessed to be here and experience this…
Also I need to give a shout out to Todd’s amazing handmade Wagyu burgers that he BBQ’d one night on the street…with all the toppings!
Followed by the meatballs with broccoli that we needed to have queso poured onto… just another reason to have queso… for those that know about queso, man this is a whole new food category that for some reason, we didn’t know about. Sometimes we even add brisket to it! We have managed to ask each other on a daily basis want some queso with that?
Since we are at our most southern point in the trip, it means we are on a northerly uturn….our next stop is along the Rio Grande, so stay tuned for our next adventure!