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If you're planning a relaxing coastal getaway full of sun, sand, surf, and fun, Mustang Island State Park should be right near the top of your list of must-visit destinations.
Located just to the south of Port Aransas, this 3,954-acre park sits on an 18-mile-long barrier island on Texas' Gulf of Mexico coast. Boasting more than five miles of pristine coastline, it's the perfect spot to hit the sand, get wet, and enjoy the refreshing Gulf breezes.
Mustang Island State Park offers swimming, fishing, surfing, and kayaking for lovers of all water-based activities, as well as great hiking, mountain biking, and bird watching on land. And with 98 campsites to choose from, many of them right on the beach, the park is easy to explore in a rental RV.
Given the park's beautiful island location, it should come as no surprise that much of the activity in Mustang Island State Park centers on the beach. With over five miles of coastline to enjoy, there's no shortage of beach and water-based activities on offer.
If you want to do a little beachcombing or just enjoy a relaxing walk, the wide sandy beach is the perfect place to take a stroll. You can find a quiet spot to spread out a towel and catch some sun, or maybe take a dip in the ocean if you're happy to swim in an area where there are no lifeguards.
On the western side of the island, kayakers can tackle the 20-mile Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail. The trail leads you around the shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay, leading you past secluded coves and into a number of great fishing spots.
The other main attraction that draws plenty of visitors to the park is the chance to do some wildlife watching. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico are home to five different species of sea turtles, and two of those species are commonly seen in the park. The rarest of those is the Kemp's ridley, which comes ashore each year from April through late July to lay its eggs in the sand. If you're on the beach at Mustang Island during this period, keep your eyes peeled for turtles on the sand.
Bird watching is also a popular pastime, with more than 400 feathered species identified in the area. The aplomado falcon and reddish egret are particular highlights, so keen birders should remember to pack their binoculars.
If you want to camp with an RV in Mustang Island State Park, search for an RV rental in Nueces County and then start to think about where you'd like to stay within the park.
There are two types of campsites to choose from. The first option is to reserve one of 48 campsites with water and electrical hookups. Located approximately 400 yards from the beach, these sites sit behind the sand dunes and protected from the ocean breezes.
Outdoor grills, picnic tables, and shade shelters are provided, while restrooms with hot showers are located nearby. However, please note that these sites do not have fire rings.
The second RV camping option in Mustang Island State Park is found right on the beach, where 50 primitive campsites sit along a 1.5-mile stretch of sand. These drive-up sites are undesignated, and can be closed from time to time due to unsuitable weather conditions.
Drinking water is provided and campfires are allowed, while restrooms with cold showers are anywhere from 50 yards to 1.5 miles away (depending on where you set up camp).
If you're looking to hit the road and explore a little further afield, there's plenty to see and do in this part of Texas.
Padre Island National Seashore, known for its spectacular undeveloped beaches and rare wildlife, is just 15 minutes away. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which offers excellent bird watching and fishing opportunities, is a two-hour drive to the north.
If you'd rather leave nature behind for the comforts of a city, make the 25-minute drive to Corpus Christi. While you're there, make sure you check out Texas State Aquarium — it's a must-do for anyone who wants to get up close and personal with a wide range of fascinating underwater creatures.
Of course, with so much beautiful scenery to explore in Mustang Island State Park, you might decide you'd like to stay put in the park for as long as possible. But that's OK — all the other nearby attractions can wait until your next RV vacation.