Ep. 121: South Padre Island | Texas RV travel camping

Ep. 121: South Padre Island | Texas RV travel camping


Hey friends, welcome back to Grand
Adventure! I’m your host Marc Guido, and welcome
to South Texas. We’re visiting South Padre Island in this episode, so stay
tuned! Our RV tour of the western half of Texas
continues. Our intention coming here had been to boondock right on the sand of
Boca Chica Beach, the southernmost point in Texas;
however, we opted to move over to Isla Blanca County Park on South Padre Island
for several reasons. For starters, it’s a whole lot hotter here in South Texas at
the end of September and beginning of October than we’d expected. We
incorrectly thought things would be starting to cool off by now, and an
electrical hook-up for constant air conditioning is practically a necessity,
even with an onshore sea breeze. There were also issues with Boca Chica Beach
itself. For one, there’s a lot of trash washed up on the beach here … and we mean
a LOT! Given the beach’s proximity to the Rio Grande, and the fact that most of the
rubbish has Mexican labels, we’ve surmised that much of this trash has
washed down the river with the recent monsoon rains. Finally, we had concerns
for our personal safety. We arrived at the southern end of the beach to find
the mouth of the Rio Grande only about 50 feet wide here, and waist-deep. While
we’re standing on U.S. land to take this shot, those cars are in Mexico, and if an
article from last month in USA Today is to be believed, drug cartels
completely control the spot where those cars are parked as a shipping point for
drugs. Given that it’s trivial to walk across the border here, and that the
southern half of Boca Chica Beach is all but deserted, we decided that we’re not
comfortable boondocking here. One unique thing to see adjacent to Boca
Chica Beach is SpaceX Corporation’s Texas launch site. It’s here, right alongside
the Boca Chica Road, that Elon Musk is developing the SpaceX Starship, a
long-duration cargo and passenger- carrying reusable spacecraft. Another
Starship orbital prototype is being built by a competing team in Florida.
It’s designed to be used for anything from satellite delivery, to a passenger-carrying transport to Mars. So after giving Boca Chica Beach a
boondocking thumbs-down, we’ve retreated to Isla Blanca Park, which occupies the
entire southern tip of South Padre Island, adjacent to the shipping channel
into Brownsville. This massive park operated by Cameron County includes 600
RV sites and, except for a handful of partial hookup sites outside the main
gate, they all have full hookups for prices ranging from $35 to $50 per night
in this off-season, or $55 to $70 per night in summer. We’re paying $200 per week for
this spacious, grassy site with full hookups, and at this time of year
there’s plenty of elbow room. All sites are within walking distance of the park’s
gorgeous Gulf of Mexico beach, while fishermen try to land redfish on the
bay and shipping channel. South Padre Island is a barrier island,
formed when the creation of the Port Mansfield channel split Padre Island
in two. The resort city of South Padre Island, a popular vacation destination, is
located at the island’s southern end. The island’s main industry is of course
tourism, with tens of thousands of college students flocking to the island every
spring break. In winter the island hosts snowbirds,
many of whom arrive with their RVs. North of town the island takes on a much more pristine character. Westerners began to settle the
area following the arrival of Padre José Niçolas Balli,
a priest and missionary who set up a cattle ranch here in the early 19th century. Padre Balli was driven out by the Mexican-American War, and was unable to return because of the American Civil War. Most of the island was closed by the National Park Service until 1962, after which settlement was allowed and
arrivals began to establish an economy on the island and in neighboring Port
Isabel. Today, the 2.5-mile Queen Isabella Causeway connects the two. Folks are allowed to drive right on the
beach in much of this portion of the Texas Gulf Coast, and dispersed camping
is permitted in many of these areas. Doing so, however, requires keeping a
close eye on both the weather and incoming tides. We’re working from the rig business
hours Monday to Friday, but this affords us the opportunity to get out and see
the area and recreate, too. After work today we’re going to drop our kayak in the
water at the Isla Blanca Park boat ramp, to paddle along some of the island’s
bay shore. For our final night on South Padre
Island, we’re venturing out to Laguna Bob’s, a colorful shack offering seafood,
burgers, and a full bar in a laid-back outdoor space, with a waterfront deck and
live music. We can heartily recommend their fried Texas Gulf shrimp basket. So we truly hope that you’ve enjoyed
visiting South Padre Island with us! In next week’s episode, we’re going to venture
north up the coast about three and a half hours to visit Padre Island
National Seashore. If you’re not yet one of our Grand Adventurers, therefore, now’s
the time smash that little red subscribe button down there in the corner, and ring
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down below! Until next week please remember … life is nothing but a Grand
Adventure! We’ll see you then.

53 thoughts on “Ep. 121: South Padre Island | Texas RV travel camping

  1. If we didn’t rush to Big Bend when we headed west in February, we would’ve visited. So glad we passed it up. True or not, it’s not worth safety issues or risking it. Thanks for showing us better options! Loving these Texas videos.

  2. I love South Padre Island, I’ve visited there a few times, one of which we stayed in the same campground as you, and the heat is unrelenting for sure! I’m looking forward to next weeks video at Padre Island, I have camped on the beach at Port Aransas in the spring and it was awesome!

  3. Fascinating look at the area. One of the first books I read on RVing talked about the Texas coast. Funny book, I'll have to find it. Cheers Marc.

  4. South Padre Island is definitely on our bucket list !! Thank you for the tour! Congrats on almost 28K subscribers!!

  5. I’d like to offer my sincere compliments to both your videos and the content you choose to give us. Both informative and entertaining. I’m sure glad to have found your channel sir! Thank you!

  6. I remember your kayak community post from a week or two ago, and was looking forward to seeing you paddling in the ocean. That looked like great fun, and some good exercise. Glad it wasn't red flag warnings that day, the surf looked pretty bad earlier in the video.

  7. Great video Marc. I loved the diversity. It reminds me so much of the various barrier islands off the Gulf Coast of South Florida. You guys are really doing the tour of south Texas. There is just so much to see and do there.

    Gord

  8. We are native Texans and are currently in Utah. We have been in Southen Utah since the end of August. There is so much to see here, and the weather is great. Thirty years ago South Padre was THE beach to visit. The dynamics have greatly changed, and people no longer know how to use trashcans. This seems to be a problem everywhere.

  9. Nice video – Great video on South Padre Island. Hope to not visit on my way to Florida. Looking forward to your next video

  10. Great video Mark! Drone footage superb as usual with perfect accompanying music. Beware the Fit, RV in their latest video James is wearing a n “ALWAYS SHOOT DRONES” shirt. It shows a figure with a rifle pointing at an airborne drone. Don’t know what that’s about as I’ve heard him say he wants to get a drone.

  11. Lots of contrasting features.. Beautiful blue waters , trash , shallow low surf , deep water channel.. Beautiful beaches and industrial buildings.. If you look this way nice look 90 degrees the other not so nice.. GA made the best of it.. Thanks for taking us along !!

  12. Great views. Back in May we drove the jeep 25 miles on the North beach to the jetties. Interesting drive, lots of art along the dunes made from trash.

  13. Seems like a bit departed from your usual venue but still enjoyable to see. I have been in and through Tx quite a bit starting my first visit with the train ride from LA to Lackland AFB compliments of U. Sam in ‘60 and finishing with a road trip across the state 10 or more years ago. Enjoy your time there… I will!
    Curt

  14. All that trash from other countries washing up on our shores … good thing the brainwashed liberal fascist hypocrites are outlawing plastic straws here in the United States 🤔

  15. Yikes! Definitely won’t be staying there on the beach either. We’ll be heading for Texas in February and are taking notes😋

  16. Interesting travelogue of the west Texas Gulf Coast beaches. But once you've experienced the sugar white sand and surf of the eastern Gulf Coast beaches, nothing else comes close (except maybe the Bahamas) IMHO.

  17. Thank You 👍 Getting ready to start my Great Adventure and South Padre Island was just add to my list ! I LOVE the Ocean, always have. Very nicely done videos

  18. https://www.wideopenspaces.com/public-land-texas-brief-history/
    Marc, this link will provide a good explanation as to why if anyone is interested.

  19. Another homerun video looks like a great time to visit. Really enjoy how you've captured the essence of the area and the kayak perspective is very appealing. Thanks from Pismo Beach CA.

  20. Those issues will end soon with the beautiful border wall that will bring peace and safety. It's madness to have a walkable border between the greatest country on hearth and a crime infested third world country.

  21. Thanks for another well-done video. We were planning to leave Toledo, Ohio TODAY except our chassis batteries decided to quit on us. It takes some work to replace them so our trek south and west will have to be delayed for a bit. Your video reminded us why we do this and right now I’m really grateful for your hard work! Safe travels!

  22. Smart move to stay out of the Cartel's playground. I hope you had a nice visit thru Austin area and will look forward to that video. Safe travels.

  23. Just found your site , I realy like the format of your videos. Very informative. I am going to binge watch your pass videos.

  24. I could almost hear the breaking bad intro music as you went up the beach but did you shout across the Rio Grand “ say my name “ sorry tv show is on my Brian still amazing how close Mexico is , wise decision taken not to hang around! Love that site sooo cooool and the beach to some great footage from your drone, the causeway looks great how long is it ? And that drive on the beach it’s a yes for me !
    Thanks Marc still learning amazing America Gavin

  25. Thanks from Germany for one another great video about one another beautiful area. I swear, no USA RV Vacation without the tips from "The GreatAdventure Man" 😉

  26. So summer is peak season? I would think with snowbirds it would be winter?? Your videos are 1st class, great content. Thank you.

  27. Hello from Texas!. We just got back from our first trip in our rv to palo duro canyon in the panhandle. We got the lanterns from your amazon store and they were awesome! Thanks 😊

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