Padre Island and area

I’ve decided to head down to Padre Island National Seashore for some warm time. Never been there. The info I’ve dug up so far looks promising: lots of places to camp (and this is their quiet season), mild night temps, good wildlife viewing, groceries and other supplies not too far a drive away.

Best of all, it appears that there’s quite a choice of paddling, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Laguna Madre on the other. The guy who answered at the NPS office told me 2- to 3-ft waves are typical on the Gulf side, though he raved about the afternoons when it goes dead calm and he takes his canoe out there. Water temps are now in the high 50s, and should be a tad higher when I go. I’m bringing a full wetsuit, neoprene cap, etc.

Reading the info garnered so far, I have a couple of questions:

  1. I’m slightly concerned about stingrays and jellyfish, incl. Man-of-War. Can they penetrate neoprene? I already know about the “foot shuffle” and “paddle blade stir” ritual and will do those, but if I capsize those actions won’t prevent getting stung.

  2. How hard is it to find a sea kayak rental near Corpus Christi at this time of year? I may bring my 10’ Prijon Twister (to paddle in the small surf) but would like to do some regular paddling as well. Not decided yet. (BTW, I did go to the link provided in another thread, and I’ve left Ken a msg asking about SK rentals. So that may be all I need.)

  3. Has anybody here paddled much from Padre or Mustang Island? Any standouts that are either “must do” or “must avoid”? Any good restaurants in the area (not fancy)?

    Any advice is appreciated.

Padre Island

You will have a great time

I do not know about sea kayak rentals as I always bring my own. Call a couple of surf shops and ask.

It is cool now but pleasant.

Food Well, again ask. Oyster bars are the best and oysters are good now, Usually they will have local shrimp, fish etc…again, ask around

I usually eay alot of raw oysters and bring my food…

Kayaking bay side is fun and get into the shallows. Sometimes you can find Indian artifacts. Pottery shards, arrow heads, sometimes a bit of Lafitte’s GOLD!!!

NOw, about the Gulf Varmites

Stingaree’s are small and will only strike if you step on them so shuffle through the water.

Man o War’s…they are really a hot summer pest but there are a few out there. Just look out for the blusish bubble floating. They have a 20-39 foot string rangs and believe me. IT HURTS!!!

Meat tenderizer is a good antidote. Takes the sting out. If you do get hit and run a fever and get to feeling ill, go to the hospital.

Padre Island continued
Jelly Fish

I have never been stung. Once I woke uop floating in a nest of them. They will attack if they think they are being attacked. Relax…they won’t hurt and you cannot eat their jelly

Crabs…the worst is a snip. Grab it and collect more and put them in a pot of crab boil and water…YUM…boil and eat!!

Cat fish…I cannot stress enough…If you get bit or the fin jabs you, the antidote is the catfish slime on the wound. GET TO THW HOSPITAL ANYWAY

Padre Island cont.
All these creatures CANNOT penetrate your boat…Don’t worry

Sometimes a fish might jump in but grab it and save it for the crab boil

The folks there are cool.` Respect their turf.

It is off season so you will probaly have the place to yourself…Be careful anyway

The commercial/resort areas are cheesy
But you don’t have to go very far to get away from them. Lots of quiet sand and water.

“Stingarees”? Is that what they call them down there? Cool.

Don’t worry about me wanting to eat jelly from jellyfish. Nope, not me. Even though I’m Asian.

One of the sites I read said it’s possible to find glass Portugese or Japanese globes in the water or washed up on shore. And a Park Service bulletin specified that recreational (noncommercial shell collecting) was allowed. It sounds like even on windy days there will be plenty to do. I’m bringing some books to burrow down with, too.

Do you mean anything specific by “respect [the locals’] turf”? I’m not planning to drive on the dunes or anything like that. And if there’s an area where the fishing is obviously prized, I’ll steer clear of it.

Just avoid talking about how much
better your state is from Texas and you’ll do fine.

Try the Lighhouse Paddle Trail

– Last Updated: Jan-04-08 10:15 AM EST –

up by Port Aransas,

We must have seen 20 or 30 dolphins up close in the deeper water and we were hand feeding pelicans (not intentionaly, they watch you fish and steal everything you catch if you are not careful) it was great.

Fishing was great while I was down there last weekend, but I would not exactly call it the slow season. This is the time of year when Port Aransas and North and South Padre Island are home to thousands of "Winter Texans" from all over the country. Be sure to make hotel or camping reservations in advance as rooms, while fairly inexpensive this time of year compared to summer, they may be hard to come by without a reservation.

There are plenty of place to rent kayaks at Port Aransas and at South Padre, not sure about North Padre though.

Two nice place to eat for low $$$ are the San Juan Taqueria in Port Aransas (2 eggs, 2 bacon, 2 pancakes for 2.95) and the Big Fisherman between Aransas Pass and Rockport (seafood galore, tons of food for the money, their menu is on the web )

I would not worry too much about assorted jellyfish this time of year, they are usually heavy in late spring and sometimes the end of august and early september, but I did not see any washing up on the beach and none in the bay. Rays may be around though, catch a big one in a kayak and you get the ride of your life.

If you get to Port Aransas . . .
. . . paddle across the channel to St. Joseph Island. There is no road access to St. Joseph no one lives there and it is pristine compared to Mustang and Padre. In the winter you will have the beach pretty much to yourself no matter where you go. It is suppose to be in the 80s today.

Padre Island

I have found two Japanese floaters over the years. The shells are fabulous. Especially this time of year. Sanddollars too. Sometimes they are just laying there but as the waves go out you can see them before the sand covers them again. The dark brown and round sea beans are a treasure. The Karankawa Indians used them for trade.

Yes, we call them stingarees.

Most of the creatures you mention are more plentiful in the warm months.

Man o Wars washed up on the beach, although dead they still can sting you if you pop the bubble so don’t…Gee, sounds like FUN

The locals are quiet. Stay off the dunes and be yourself. Do not hesitate to ask.

Winter Texans
According to the ranger I talked with on the phone, their campground is uncrowded this time of year because the winter Texans are in RVs and want electric/water/sewer hookups, which NPS does not offer. So those crowded campgrounds you mention must be where they go.

For $8/site/night, I am perfectly happy to walk to a spigot and fill my containers, walk to the restrooms, use batteried lights, etc. I don’t like camping among towering walls of RVs anyway. Or crowds.

Mustang Island State Park is another possibility that sounds good.

CC Paddlers
I am with the CC Paddlers (Corpus Christi,Tx). If I can be of any help please use my e-mail link to send me any addtional questions.

There are several places where you can rent sit-on-top kayaks. Jerry B’s kayaks and Wind and Wave Watersports are both in Flour Bluff on

South Padre Island Dr. on your way from Corpus Christi out to Padre Island. I think Jerry B’s has one Hurricane Tampico 13.5 sit-inside rec kayak in its rental fleet. Wind and Wave is just Ocean Kayak (Malibu 2, Scrambler, Frenzy). There are a couple of places in Aransas Pass and Port Aransas, but they are farther from the National Seashore.

If you want to rent a touring kayak then Ken Johnson is your only choice. His website is

You can check out my pictures of the area at

The “Guys and Dolls and Dunes” album is from the Laguna Madre side of the National Seashore.

Please e-mail me for phone and other contact info if you are coming down this way.


I just got your e-mail
and printed it.

I am definitely coming down and will contact you with dates, my cell phone #, and any other details that might be relevant. I also got a phone msg back from Ken, so will be in touch with him about rentals.

Today I received the two maps I ordered. They are Fish-n-Maps of Corpus Christi Bay and Baffin Bay, and of lower Laguna Madre. That should give me more to go on than the park service brochure I already had.

You guys take a lot of kayaking photos! I have barely begun to view them (dial-up connection) but it looks great down there. I can’t wait to check it out. Am bringing a camera myself, of course!

But wait
Isn’t Colorado a Texas state park?

Sure is, most of belongs to Texas.
We just allow them to call it a separate state, same with NM. Just ask anyone on the slopes from December until March, most are from Texas.

Colorado and New Mexico…
are north Texas ski areas.


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