I have forever lost a piece of my heart to the Texas coastal bend area. It feels like home and I’ve been finding myself daydreaming about it. Am I actually homesick? Wow. I’ve only visited a handful of times, but the most recent two-week stay did me in.
Rockport is a city without any direct beach access, but is built around channels that feed into the ocean. We rented a house here once and loved it so much it led to further visits. The house was built in reverse from those I usually see – walking into the house from the driveway brings you into a hallway with bedrooms and bathrooms. At the end of the hallway is a lot of light coming from huge windows and glass doors leading from the kitchen and living areas onto a deck built out onto the channel where a boat could be docked, you could fish, or whatever. Reversing the typical floor plan where bedrooms would be in the back of the house allows a clear focus on the waterways from the main living areas. Very nice.
Surfside Beach is a city made up of houses in every color of the rainbow, all built up on stilts because they’re in the immediate Gulf of Mexico flood plain. Entry into the town is from a sky-high bridge. As you come down off the bridge, bam, there’s the ocean spreading out in front of you! The beaches here allow dogs, vehicles, tents, horses to roam freely. This is a highly casual beach town and there are a lot of houses that can be rented right on the beach, which we have done several times. One summer, we rented two houses and took my husband’s extended family for a one-week stay. Needless to say, nobody wanted to go home.
Port Aransas is the only town on a coastal island named Mustang Island where wild horses roamed many moons ago. What a romantic idea! We’ve stayed on Mustang Island three or four times now and still haven’t done everything there is to do. Entry to the Island is either by ferry from the North or by a causeway bridge from the South. The beaches here are clean and rarely crowded, again, allowing dogs and vehicles in a family-friendly atmosphere. We’ve gone parasailing here – gone dolphin watching, deep-sea fishing, bird-watching, the list goes on. I’m convinced I’ll never get tired of this place.
Aransas Pass is a city inland across the ferry channel from Port Aransas. To me, this feels more like home than any other coastal bend city I’ve visited. They have all of the comforts of home, and my husband and I have actually looked at some real estate in the possible interest of a future purchase. This would put us about twenty minutes from the Port Aransas beaches, but far enough from the ocean to feel comfortably protected from unpredictable tides and weather that often plays havoc with easy maintenance of a home. Boats, RV’s, palm trees, and gardens abound.
Brownsville, Port Isabel, and South Padre Island are the most commonly traveled tourist locations in South Texas. While we’ve visited both Brownsville and Port Isabel, we’ve stayed overnight in South Padre and it has fabulous food, it’s beautiful, and it has beaches that have the most seashells I’ve ever seen – even on the East Coast. This is all fabulous, but there are more people here than in any of the other locations I’ve listed above. For me, I’m looking for a little more elbow room, but love visiting. Always the palm trees in the background!
Bottom line, I want to live in Aransas Pass, Texas. LOL. We’ll see if any other place in upcoming travels beats it out. On the other hand, I still want to go back to Hungry Horse, Montana, too!