The Gulf beaches here in Texas are all pretty similar - long flat stretches of sand with low scrub dunes - so our visit to Padre Island didn't really deliver any surprises. It looks very much like Mustang Island, but with no commercial development, which is nice of course.
Along the one road into the National Seashore there are some informational plaques about the cultural and natural history. Several Native Americas tribes lived here, and later there were cattle ranchers and cowboys.
A stop at the Visitor's Center (which looks a lot like a corral, doesn't it?) and a talk by one of the rangers explained a lot about the sea life we have been seeing intermittently on the beach. Right now the sea turtles are having trouble with the cold water temperatures in the Laguna Madre (the large shallow body of water between the islands and the mainland) where they forage. The Seashore runs daily rescue missions out into the lagoon and brings cold stunned turtles back to their facilities to revive and then relocate them.
All the beaches in Texas are considered roads, so driving on them is the norm. Rick, Ms. Subaru and I have a hard time getting our heads around that, but we did it anyway. Seems sacrilegious somehow. This was Ms. Subaru's first sand drive, and she earned her stripes. We'll be calling her Captain Subaru soon.
On both the gulf and the lagoon sides of the island there are several minimal service campgrounds right on the beach that look nice even for big rigs. At "Bird Island" there is also a marina and a wind surfing launching area. We explored a little bit and saw lots of gulls and white pelicans.
On our way out we got our pictures taken (I presume) along with everyone else passing in or out the park gates. Do you think NSA has enough cameras here?
Today we're going to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, so I hope to get some good pictures of wannabe wildlife there. Stay tuned.