The Path Less Traveled – A 4x4 Excursion
What is it about going down the road less traveled? Tolkien’s famous line, “Not all those who wander are lost,” is a perfect place to start the journey for an off-road/nature enthusiast in the Corpus Christi area. Unique to our beaches, drivers are allowed to take their vehicles down miles of the largest undeveloped barrier island in the world, stretching as far as the eye can see. From Port Aransas down to the land cut of the Mansfield Channel, someone looking for adventure is in for great time. All that we ask is that you have a great time, and please refrain from driving in the dunes – it’s the law!
The zones of Corpus Christi where this type of adventure takes place.
If you’re looking for a more widely used route, close to civilization and within cell phone reception, we recommend any of the beach access roads that allow driving from Port Aransas down to Bob Hall Pier.
One of the few stretches of pavement at the entrance to Bob Hall Pier. The pier offers great fishing and if you want to have a meal with an amazing view, Mikel Mays Beachside Bar and Grill offers some really great food along the way.
During the summer, this stretch of beach, which is separated only by the Packery Channel, can be within a short drive from fantastic eateries, hotels and condominiums. If you’re heading south of Bob Hall Pier, be sure to fill up your tank and don’t rely on cellular service for much of the trek.
4x4 recommended sign just south of Bob Hall Pier.
For someone that is used to wheeling and enjoys getting off the grid, the Padre Island National Seashore is the perfect place to be. Protecting nearly 70 miles of coastline, this area is an outdoorsperson’s perfect spot. Not only does it teem with wildlife and fishing opportunities, it also serves as the hub for Kemp’s ridley sea turtle locating and hatchling releases.
In order to get lost on the trail, you need to head East on Highway 358 (S Padre Island Drive), which turns into Park Road 22. Follow the road for 10 miles until your reach the park entrance. A quick note – the last filling stations are located on either side of the road at the Whitecap/Park Road 22 (S Padre Island Drive) intersection.
The entrance sign makes a great photo opportunity to mark the beginning of your journey!
When you arrive at the park, there are informational signs galore, ranging from the unique history of the area, to important safety tips.
Infographics and wayfinding signage offer great information and put a perspective on this awesome area. Quick fact – Did you know on the other side of the National Seashore lies the Laguna Madre, which has salt content higher than the oceans? It’s referred to as hypersaline and boasts some of the best inshore fishing on the Texas Coast.
The park entrance displays the fees for traveling/use of the park. The rangers/attendants are some of the most knowledgeable and friendliest people you can meet as well. Ask them any question about the park, and they’ll have an answer! Side note: All photography from the vehicle was taken without any traffic impediment and with the Jeep in park! : )
Pay close attention to the rules and information of the park. And yes, you really might see a nesting sea turtle during certain times of the year! There is actually a group that searches for nests and turtles referred to as the Turtle Patrol. If you see a turtle or a nest, please report it!
When traveling down the National Seashore, the Malaquite Visitor Center and Camp Store is your last stop for refreshments/snacks. There also are really neat exhibits featuring turtle nesting and souvenirs. What off road wouldn’t be complete without a memento of the journey? The restrooms are always clean and very well maintained!
Words nor photos can express the sheer enjoyment and beauty of this magnificent park. Where a photo is worth a thousand words, this adventure will be worth several more stories and memories.
Fair warning – a four wheel drive vehicle is required to continue the journey. Towing services out here can get pretty pricy, not to mention the long walk back to cellular reception.
Sandy areas such as this look easy to traverse, but be careful, soft sand can give way and test your driving abilities. Obey the posted speed limit signs!
Debris wash up from around the world. Who knows where this massive tree came from – and the Jeep conquered it! Notice we are not in the dunes, grasslands or tidal flats.
No cell phone service? No problem! Just don’t forget the sunscreen and beverages.
This little crab didn’t mind posing for the camera.
While these are just a sampling of the off-roading adventures down the Padre Island National Seashore, we hope that you make your own memories. If you care to share, please feel free to post your family-friendly photos to our Facebook or Twitter pages with #SeeCC.