Padre Island National Seashore is 60 miles of beach on one side and bay on the other. It is located in the Gulf Coast between Corpus Christi and Brownsville in south Texas. There are many amazing things about this beautiful place, and I am grateful that we got to experience some of them. We originally intended to stay at the Malaquite campground inside the park, however, things do not always go as planned, and we have learned to be flexible with our plans as they often change on the spur of the moment. The campground was complete,y full when we arrived, so we studied the map for a few minutes, drove to the other campground on the bay side, and hen decided we would take the trailer right down to the beach. There are no amenities when camping on the beach, but the view is amazing and the price is reasonable (free!). It is possible to drive the entire length of the beach, but 4 wheel drive is recommended after the 5 mile marker, so we only took the trailer down about a mile or two. We found a great spot, backed in, and set up camp. I can’t think of anything better than camping on the beach in a national park in January. It was awesome.
No trip to San Antonio would be complete without seeing the River Walk and the Alamo. Although we had already visited both when we lived here before, we still wanted to take the kids to see them. Since it was December, the River Walk was decked out for Christmas and the kids loved seeing the festival of lights. We decided to spend more than we normally do since our vacation came in way under budget, so we paid to take a ferry on the river. Though the pictures didn’t come out too good because of the poor lighting we really enjoyed the half an hour tour on the river. It was neat to get little tid-bits of information about all the buildings surrounding the River Walk. Across the street at the Alamo the kids loved learning about the history of the state. We went into the church and had a look around, but they don’t allow pictures to be taken of the interior. In the gift shop at the Alamo there is a huge diorama of the battle that took place showing all the soldiers that is quite impressive. It is tricky to find cheap parking to get to the Alamo and River Walk, but it is worth it and I recommend if you visit San Antonio taking the time to check it out.
Texas is big. I mean really big. So it is only fitting that it’s national park has big right in the name. We headed south to Big Ben after spending a few days in the Guadalupe Mountains. We took our time getting down to the park. We spent a couple of nights in Van Horn, and a night in Alpine before finally reaching our destination. It had been pretty cold in the northern part of the state and didn’t warm up much until we got down to the border. We stayed in a campground that was literally on the border, it was a really nice campground. It was so big! There were about 100 sites, but no RV hookups. It did have a place to get water and a dump station though so we were happy. The weather was great when we arrived and we could finally take off the coats and hats.