Anyone that has lived, or even visited, Texas for any amount of time knows that the heat and humidity can be suffocating! We’ve had multiple record breaking days this summer with heat indexes of up to about 117 degrees. Weeks on end of triple digit temperatures, with no relief in sight, prompted our spontaneous decision to head to Port Aransas, Texas where it was 20 degrees cooler for a quick beach overnighter. We were also about to “take Mavis down” to prepare for the Ujoint Offroad 6″ lift and 4 wheel drive conversion, so we wanted to get one last trip in.
Get there early… or late!
Our trip from central Texas to the Gulf Coast took a bit longer than we expected. Mavis is happiest traveling <60-65 mph, in regards to fuel mileage and temps. What normally takes about 5-1/2 hours, took us closer to 7 hours. We weren’t in a hurry, so we enjoyed the road trip. We left around 11am and had a wonderful drive, almost completely free from traffic and construction- we love back-roads!
When we got to the ferry in Aransas Pass, normally there’s quite a wait to board (we’ve waited over an hour, or close to 2 hours, on previous trips), and we hardly had any wait at all on this trip. Mavis has quite a large rear end, so we took up both lanes on the ferry.
Back on land, there’s still visible devastation from when Hurricane Harvey hit in August of 2017, but they’ve made quite a come back and tourists are still swarming.
I think driving on the beach is one of the biggest attractions for tourists at Port A- there are 18 miles of public shoreline. Yes, our 10,000+ pound ambulance did amazing on the beach (it’s really hard-packed sand). The beach was cramped with campers, day use vehicles, and people galore! Unfortunately, I failed to get a picture of just how busy it was.
We decided to grab a bite to eat to let the crowd die down. I pulled up Yelp and read some fantastic reviews for the Beach & Station Street Grill. It’s a tiny family-owned restaurant with a bit of both inside and outside seating.
We got there at the right time because we were seated inside immediately and soon after the place was filled to capacity. I could see how the atmosphere would be fun with a group of friends; however Jeremy and I were famished at this point and ready to put down some grub. The wait was incredibly long, from drinks, to ordering our meal, to receiving our meal, etc… No problem, it was our fault that we went to a restaurant hungry, right? It definitely isn’t a fast food restaurant.
Anyway, the food was absolutely delicious! I had the stuffed flounder (which I highly recommend) and Jeremy had the crab legs. The ultimate question with any restaurant is: would we go back? And the answer is: yes, absolutely! We just wouldn’t wait until we were starving, and we wouldn’t visit during peak times.
Camping on the beach
I grew up coming to Port A for a week every summer. My dad would pack up our pop-up camper and off we’d go! Some of my best childhood memories are from these summer trips. We always camped right on the beach, went to sleep staring at the moon through the pop-up camper’s tent screen windows, and listened to the waves rolling in. But I digress….
You can obtain a parking permit from multiple locations: gas stations, the grocery store, some of the souvenir shops, or the information center, for $12. This allows you to park anywhere on the beach. There are certain areas that are free to park, but we bought a permit so that we could camp where ever we ended up.
You’re allowed to camp on the beach 3 nights out of a 3 week period. They also allow small fires, less than 3′ x 3′, but it was too hot for us to even think about a fire.
They previously had decent showers, but the hurricane seems to have wiped out that building. There are still rinse stations located in multiple points along the beach.
When we finished eating and got back to the beach, it was much less crowded. We drove down quite a ways because we knew we’d be running the ambulance all night in order to run the air conditioner (nope, we’re not boondocking ready yet- see: 5 Lessons Learned: First Night Boondocking), so we wanted to be as far away from anyone as possible so that we didn’t disturb them. We had an amazing evening!
Instagram sunrise shot
When we woke up, it was so humid that we didn’t want to even step outside. The above photo was taken from the passenger side seat with the window cracked. It was really beautiful and I’m glad that I got it on camera.
This was the actual view from the ambulance! No open doors with the waves at our feet in this shot because the humidity was unreal. The instant a door or window was opened, you could feel the sand and salty air cling to you. Don’t believe that the Instagram famous vanlifers wake up to beauty 24/7. Life happens- roll with it and enjoy every second.
Restaurant San Juan
For breakfast, we went to Restaurant San Juan. There were a lot of people there, but they had plenty of seating, so we had no wait at all. The waitress was on the ball with drinks and our meal. We both had migas and they were fantastic. We’d definitely go back to this restaurant as well!
We had a short, but much needed beach getaway and can’t wait to do it again! Next time we’ll have a 4 wheel drive (or whatever you call a dually that has 2 drive shafts…) and we’ll be 6 inches taller. Mavis turned a few heads on this trip, but she’s going to turn many more on the next go around!
Thanks for reading!
We can’t tell you how much we appreciate you visiting and look forward to bringing you along on many more travels. I grew up with the beach being my happy place. Now that I’ve seen the majesty of the mountains, it’s a close call. Where is your happy place? We’d love to go there sometime!
Simplify. Get outside. Live free.