Thursday, July 13, 2017

North Padre Islands, TX

After San Antonio, we went to Padre Island National Seashore on Padre Island to go camping. The island itself is known mostly for South Padre Island, a popular vacation and tourist spot on the more developed part on the island all the way at the bottom. Where we stayed was North Padre, and the National Seashore itself is over 60 miles of just seashore! You can camp anywhere you want along the seashore. Malaquite Campground has been voted one of the top campgrounds in the US and is tucked in behind the sand dunes and at the entrance before driving onto the beach, so if you don't want to be fully surrounded by sand this campground is for you. These sites are on a first come basis and from what we noticed for the week we were there they were always reserved.

The first night we picked somewhere out in the open on North Padre Beach but the high winds kept causing our tent to blow over, we ended up sleeping in the car but the next night we were able to go down the beach more and found a little opening in between a couple sand dunes so we were able to get out of the wind and it was perfect. There really is no better feeling than going to sleep and waking up to the sound of the ocean. It was so peaceful and relaxing. At night we saw things crawling all over and so we went to check it out and it was ghost crabs. They were fun to try and catch some of them were pretty good sized too.

One of the most special activities visitors can take part in on North Padre Island is a PINS (Padre Island National Seashore) Kemp's Ridley Baby Sea Turtle Hatchling Release.

The Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle is the rarest species of sea turtle and is critically endangered. The Padre Island Seashore National Parks Service has established extensive conservation efforts through the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Recovery Project.

Witnessing this beautiful phenomena is, for most, a once in a lifetime experience. Here are a few tips on how to increase that likelihood of getting to experience this wonderful event! While we were there the turtle schedule said we would be able to see hatchings everyday but actually we only got to see the turtle release twice. So just keep this is mind when booking you trip even though they show turtle releasing during a specific time sometime conditions stop that from happening and you may not get to see a release.
  • Plan to visit sometime between June-August
  • Call the Turtle Hatchling Hotline for exact release details call (361-949-7163)
  • Be prepared to wake up early!
​Releases usually take place at 6:45 am and last 30-45 minutes.

For more information on the baby turtles and hatchling releases, visit the PINS website. 

Has anyone else been lucky enough to catch a sea turtle release? What did you think?

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