We had never boondocked before and were extremely nervous about doing it. Could we make it without shore power or hooked to city water? Could we boondock without solar and lithium batteries?
After the artic blast hit Texas and how we made it through that, we decided we needed to just do it! So, we packed up and made our way to Brazoria Beach near Surfside TX. When first arriving, we were cautious on where we drove and tried to stay as close to the dunes as possible. We have heard of people getting stuck on the beach because of high tide and we did not want to be one of those people. Strong winds or storms can significantly elevate tides and create hazardous conditions along the Gulf Coast. Considering that we were also towing the car we were slow in picking our camping spot. But we soon realized that the beach was hard packed sand as long as if you did not get too close to the dunes. Also, after talking with the locals, the time of year we were there was common for low tide. We highly recommend this beautiful beach (for Texas) because who does not love camping on the beach for FREE!
We made it 4 nights before we HAD to leave to make our way near San Antonio TX so Dora could fly back to Iowa for a doctor’s appointment. If we could have stayed longer on the beach we would have, and we are looking forward to going back. You too can do it if you do some preparation.
In our upcoming video Sunday, March 21 2021 we share with you our experiences while Beach-docking.
Other Beach-docking options:
We have compiled a few other boondocking options that we would like to share with you. Many Texans flock to the beaches of South Padre Island to escape the summer heat. But there are less-crowded beaches just a little farther north, where RV camping on the beaches of the Gulf Coast is permitted. Better yet, camping is either free or included with a low-cost entry pass.
Of all the free beach camping, Padre Island National Seashore provides the best opportunity to get away from it all – tune out the world and tune in to nature. At 60 miles long, this beach is the longest, remaining, undeveloped barrier island in the world. The beaches are beautiful and the surroundings all natural. Entry is $10.00 for a one-day pass or $20.00 for seven days.
Once in the park, follow the road past the visitor center to the beach camping area where you can camp for free. You may stay for 14 consecutive days and then leave for 48 hours before returning for a maximum of 56 days per calendar year. Just fill out a registration form for your vehicle at the entry kiosk when you arrive.
The farther down the beach you drive (usually conditions allow about 5 miles by regular two-wheel drive vehicles), the farther you will be away from any other people if that is what you are after. You will need to check beach driving conditions and be aware of the tides. This is true whenever you drive on a beach. We’ve seen others camping here several times in large fifth-wheels and even a few motorhomes.
Port Aransas requires a $12.00 annual beach pass is required to park anywhere on the beach except within the I.B. Magee County Park boundary. The pass is sold at the county park visitor centers, the local grocery store, and local convenience stores. It is a shame to have to pay to park on the beach, but it’s not so bad when you realize the pass also covers you for three nights of free camping anywhere on Port Aransas beaches with the exception of I.B. Magee County Park.
You can expect a lot more traffic than at Padre Island National Seashore, but the beach road is extra-wide, hard-packed, and maintained. On the main beach, the parking area is far enough back that you should not fear soft sand or the possibility of waves licking at our tires at high tide. Any size of RV should be fine here. If you prefer to drive and camp closer to the ocean’s edge, you can do so south of Beach Access Rd 1. Small campfires are permitted on the beach between beach markers 0 and 62.
Magnolia Beach is approximately 12 miles southeast of Port Lavaca. Located on an oyster-fishing bay, the beach is covered in broken shells – not the fine sand of the beaches of Port Aransas and the National Seashore. No matter what size of RV you are in, you should feel comfortable parking on this firm surface rather than the softness of a sand beach. This beach can be remarkably busy with RV camping so if you want more a secluded area, this beach may not be for you.
In the paved camping area, facilities include covered picnic tables, garbage cans, and public restrooms. The beach is clean and, although the restrooms are generally not very well maintained, they do have running water.
You can only walk the shoreline for about a mile before private property signs get in your way, but this shoreline is still relatively untouched by developers and tourism. It is a bit of a hidden gem and, so far, there is no fee or permit required to camp here. Although there is not a posted stay limit, we have been told that if you appear to be settling in for the long haul, you will be asked to move on.