Know Your Way Around: Mustang Island
Why travel miles and miles to beaches in Florida or California when we have beaches right here in Texas! The Gulf Coast gets a bad rap from other states, but fear not! Not all of the beaches along the Texas coastline are plagued with jellyfish, trash, or party people. Beyond Corpus Christi is a nice, clean beach called Mustang Island that I recommend every native Texan visit at least once in their lifetime.
How Do I Get There?
Mustang Island is roughly three hours away from San Antonio, depending on where you’re coming from in the city. It’s one of the closest beaches and it’s a quick day trip; only three hours means you could drive down and back in a day. Mustang Island is located right outside of Corpus. You can enjoy the food and convenient stores that Corpus has to offer without having to enter the notoriously jellyfish ridden beach of Corpus Christi.
Online, it seems as though you have to pay to enter the beach. However, if you take the first beach entrance, there isn’t a fee to drive up to the beach, so make sure you get there early! Otherwise, there is a $5 fee for adults to enter the beach and children 12 and under are free. One of the coolest things about Mustang Island is that you can drive your car right up to the shoreline!
I’ve Been to Other Beaches- How Does this Compare?
Now, remember, this is a Texas beach, so you will still be getting gulf water. Also, since Mustang Island is so close to Corpus, it technically resides on the Corpus Christi Bay, so there are some jellyfish washed up along the shore- be careful where you step!
That being said, the waters are not going to be Florida clear or California blue. The sand won’t be white and pristine. Compared to other Texas beaches, though, this is one of the top-ranked! Why? Because traffic to this beach is relatively low. The majority of people headed down this way enter Corpus Christi beach and not Mustang Island.
There are trash cans posted along the shore making the trash disposal easy and convenient. The sand is a nice consistency and, since it isn’t riddled with trash, sandcastles are yours to build! While other Texas beaches such as South Padre have a lot of commercial activities along the Bay, Mustang Island doesn’t see any companies providing umbrellas for sale or banana boat areas sectioned off. That being said, make sure you take your beach tent or umbrella because there is no shade at all- it is just a beach!
Great! Any other tips I should know about before I go?
Mustang Island isn’t just a beach. It’s an entire state park offering camping, paddling, hiking, bird watching, fishing, and swimming. Currently, the air quality is not the best over Mustang Island. If you have children with asthma, hold off going until the air quality index reads better. Because it is Texas, it is very hot with the average temperature in July being a warm 94 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re not a fan of Corpus and what the city has to offer, Mustang Island is also located right below Port Aransas, so you could enjoy the food and shops of Port A instead. Another reason Mustang Island is a relatively calm beach is that the island is a barrier island stretching miles and miles of sand and beach access. People can easily park away from each other and give everyone their own little section of the beach to play around in!
For the most part, the beach is shallow and doesn’t get deep until about 25 yards out. There’s plenty of space to stand and the waves are great for boogie boarding. There isn’t a lot of surfing potential at this beach, but they boast about their diverse wildlife including fish and birds. Finally, this beach does not offer lifeguards along the coast so make sure you are always close to your children- especially since tides can swoop in unexpectedly and cause small children to drift away.
How Important is Sunscreen at the Beach?
Don’t just pack your sunscreen: use it! Because sunscreen has to be applied 30 minutes before entering the water, be sure you and your kids start applying sunscreen in the car on the drive up. If you have more than one kid, make sure they help each other because there’s no way we can properly apply sunscreen to our own backs! Make sure you pack your sunscreen and remember- having fun in the water is awesome! Just because you put on sunscreen once doesn’t mean you can forget about reapplying.
The rules for reapplying sunscreen change when you are sweating or swimming. If you go to the beach and just lounge, reapply your sunscreen every two hours. However, if you’re splashing around in the sun, you should reapply immediately after you exit the beach. Make sure you towel dry before you apply sunscreen so that the active ingredients will fully bind to your skin and provide maximum protection.
You Mentioned Camping Earlier- How Good is That?
Camping on Mustang Island State Park is considered the best in the area! As previously mentioned, this is a state park- so there are RV campsites as well as drive-up spots along the beach to camp. Drive-up spots will cost $10 per night and offer no electricity as they are “primitive” camping spots. Camping sites with electricity are $20 per night and offer water hookups as well as a picnic site. These are not directly on the beach but are a short drive around sand dunes. The state park offers a central location with bathrooms, showers, and drinking water. MGR wishes you happy camping and safe travels when visiting Mustang Island!