Visiting the Texas Gulf Coast

| March 10, 2024

In Honor of Texas Spring Break, here’s what ChatGPT says are the best places to go and stay on the Texas Gulf Coast. Cross reference these with your favorite saltwater fly fishing grounds, and maybe, just maybe, you can have your cake and eat it too; you do what you want while family can find entertainment for days and days on end.

The Texas Gulf Coast offers a variety of vacation spots, each with its own unique charm. Here are some of the best spots to consider:

  1. Galveston – Known for its historic architecture, sandy beaches, and family-friendly attractions, Galveston offers a mix of relaxation and entertainment. Visit the historic Pleasure Pier, Moody Gardens, or take a stroll along the Strand Historic District.
  2. Corpus Christi – This coastal city offers miles of sandy beaches, great fishing spots, and attractions like the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum. You can also explore the Padre Island National Seashore, a pristine coastal wilderness.
  3. South Padre Island – Known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife, South Padre Island is a popular destination for spring breakers and families alike. Enjoy water sports, dolphin watching, and beachfront dining.
  4. Rockport – A charming coastal town known for its art galleries, fishing piers, and natural beauty. Visit the Rockport Beach Park, the Texas Maritime Museum, or take a boat tour of the surrounding bays and estuaries.
  5. Port Aransas – Located on Mustang Island, Port Aransas offers miles of sandy beaches, great fishing opportunities, and a laid-back atmosphere. Explore the shops and restaurants in the town center or spend your days relaxing on the beach.

These are just a few of the many vacation spots along the Texas Gulf Coast. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a bit of both, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes along the beautiful Texas coastline.

Isn’t It Interesting?

So ChatGPT fully misses South Padre Island, Texas! It’s interesting, but not surprising at all to me! After growing up “down there” and updating my knowledge by living there in 2022-23, I realized a few things:

  • The LOCAL* fly fishing population has almost no desire for “word to get out” about the fishery, and go out of their way to keep the Lower Laguna Madre secrets … “off the radar.”
  • The local governments have had plenty of good times with little self-promotion, and the result were – a gradual falling away of the spring break crowds that once overwhelmed the small island. Remember MTV’s weeks there? Now they are more actively advertising to bring back the crowds and offset the pandemic’s economic devastation.
  • It is still a long way from just about everywhere in Texas to South Padre Island.
  • Unfounded fear of drug cartels on the Island drove people away. There is more cartel movement UP the Gulf Coast than on South Padre Island.

Probably the first thing first-time visitors to South Padre Island, Texas, see is the sky-scraping condos. And when I showed the Island to the owner of the new Island fly shop, I started-up there, (who had only recently heard of South Padre Island)? Like so many, overwhelmed, simply overwhelmed by what he and they see. There are a lot of people, new Texans and old, who have no idea what lies south of The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas. I understand.

L-R: Cathleen Harris, Shannon Drawe and my sweet Mom. Our house, 3401 Gulf Blvd. South Padre Island on the left. (1965)

I guess I take the beauty of South Padre and my history there for granted. Up until the time I did the start-up, I assumed every good Texan knew about the Island. For me, it is ingrained like sand in a baby’s butt crack.

*LOCAL is a term thrown around pretty loosely. There are a number of fly fishing folks there that are not locals, except in current geographic terms. It’s just fine to me, and nowadays I find it mostly amusing and a factor (for some) of their own insecurities about not being a true local.

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Destination Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing World Destinations, Life Observed, Saltwater Fly Fishing Texas

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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