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Old 06-24-2009, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Austin TX
959 posts, read 4,244,385 times
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Well we ended up going to Port Aransas - it was soo pretty. Seaweed was definitely not an issue, there was some but a very narrow strip of it, not continuous and far back from the water. But we did encounter a LOT of jellyfish and saw two portuguese man o' wars (which btw are not jellyfish and you should not put vinegar on b/c it makes the sting worse). Two guys both touched a portuguese man of war (grr after I told them not to and why) and got small stings. The hubby got jellyfish or man o' war stung on his leg and chest/neck while in the water and got rashes out of that.

I was body boarding Monday night and while gliding along on a little wave the top of my foot went sliding across the top of something squishy. My foot swelled up some so I had to take my toe ring off. And then yesterday my other foot felt stingy and swollen too so I must have gotten some of the microscopic little stingers on it overnight. And then by rubbing my feet I got them on my hands http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif (broken link) It wasn't awful, just a bit uncomfortable and stingy/rashy feeling.

But the man o wars are pretty scary b/c some people are allergic and can stop breathing so look out for those if you go - they have transparent bodies with blue tentacles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portuguese_Man_o'_War

The Port A water is very shallow for a long distance so very safe for kids. There are some waves that knocked them over once they were waist high but there are none of the huge waves that anyone would go surfing on. It's very silty water so you can't see your feet - a downside b/c you can't see if you're near an underwater jellyfish, or anything else. In the evening the fish would jump and skip along the waves - one theory is that they do that just for fun http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif (broken link) It sure looked fun. The Port A beach is very very wide so tons of room for sand castle building and digging holes, running around. The surf goes in and out in a very satisfactory way. Water is more gray than blue so that's one downside if you've seen blue water before but it's beautiful in the evening http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif (broken link) We went three times in the evening and that was my favorite time of the day to go - between 6pm and 9pm. The one time we went during the day (10am to noon) the hubby got super sun burned and was pretty miserable the rest of the trip. That was despite putting suntan lotion on him and not getting in the water during that time - guess he sweated it off? He was making a sandcastle with the little boys. He now has little blisters on his shoulders http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_eek.gif (broken link)

We took one day to go to Corpus Christi and visit the Texas State Aquarium (be sure to catch a dolphin show - the 3pm was still pretty hot - not much shade) and USS Lexington (hubby's favorite part of the trip). We didn't go to the beach there (it's so much narrower than PA's and has tons of little crushed seashells in the sand and not as natural looking with all those tall buildings behind it) but rather beat it back to PA for an evening beach trip that day http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif (broken link) But first I insisted on checking out Beach Access 3 (we were usually at zero). It was GORGEOUS with very few people and at that point you can drive right up to the water. But not planning to go right onto the beach or anything our low to the ground minivan got stuck just on the little access road where some sand had piled up http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif (broken link) We got it out with a couple people helping us to push, putting our beach mats in front of the back tires, and good use of a sturdy little sand shovel to dig out the front tires hehe. But another family tried to go out onto the beach in their Suburban and got VERY buried. A Jeep had to come get them out. Only trucks with the giant monster tires were out on the actual beach. Despite the two big trucks on it, it looked a lot more beautiful/natural because there weren't the pylons blocking the beach from car traffic and all the cars parked behind them. But also no showers/portapotties like there are at Beach Access 0 (the northernmost one on Mustang Island).

We stayed at the Holiday Inn (two very short blocks from the beach but we still drove and parked) in a suite which I LOVED. We've stayed in the beachy style condos before and I prefer the clean modern hotel room look and free breakfast http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif (broken link) It had a kitchenette (cabinets, drawers, mini fridge, microwave, sink, paper towels, coffee maker w/ coffee and tea) so I brought tons of food and we only ate out twice. Washer/dryer on each floor ($1 to dry, $2 to wash + $1 for detergent). Big fish tank in the lobby viewable from breakfast area too. All the boys slept in the living room (sofa bed and portable crib) so we got the bedroom to ourselves http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif (broken link) Holiday Inn breakfast was 6 to 9:30am - boiled and scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, three cereals, yogurts, biscuits w sausage gravy, three juices, tea, coffee (decaf too), milk (skim too), toast, butter, jellies, bagels, cinnamon rolls, oranges or bananas. The pool was gorgeous and very small kid friendly. There's a 6 inch depth baby pool with three little fountains, a bench seat that goes all around the main pool that our kids loved walking on - part of it backs to a fountain that is a mini waterfall into the pool, steps and shallow area are 3 feet so our 6yo could walk in that and 4yo almost could. There's also a hot tub. The pool/hot tub area is enclosed by the hotel on three sides - one side had a tall fence so was cozy There's no water view from the hotel so you might want to ask for a pool view. And top floor if you can to avoid little feet jumping above you. It felt awesome getting in the pool after being at the beach. Beach parking is $4 but we never did pay for it b/c the one time we were there in the morning we didn't notice them parked there collecting money (oops) and they were never collecting in the evenings when we mostly went to the beach. One time we drove by just to see the beach on our way to Corpus and saw them parked.

I highly recommend the Pizzeria Port A, on the road between the ferry and Beach Access 0. They have a buffet between 11 and 2 and 5 and 9:30 - $6.50 for adults, children are 40 cents times their age, 3 and under eat free. Pizza, dessert pizza, salad, soup, pasta, soft serve ice cream. They make everything from scratch and you can tell - yummo!

Between 3:30 and 4 or so the fishing boats come back with tourists at the white sign that says "Dolphin Watch" (and at various other fishing charter places) and you can go see what they all caught - various fish and sharks - they measure and filet them. There's a candy shop we didn't get to that apparently has great home made fudge. And I was dying to go into a shop called Popsicle Toes that specializes in anklets and toe rings but they were closed the one time we went by for Father's Day.

On our way home we drove all along the bay and through the little downtowns of Rockport and Fulton - very pretty. It's neat to see the big beach houses on the water as well - some have canals in their back yards. Rockport's beach was a bit small and doesn't really have waves (some very very gentle small ones) but that would make it very toddler friendly. It's also the only certified "blue wave" beach in TX - so very very clean and water is clearer than most. There's a playground and some covered beach areas and a natural saltwater pool.

At Fulton on the way home yesterday we stopped at a restaurant called Charlotte Plummers that was recommended to us. We sat in their upstairs outdoor area which had a view of the Fulton Fishing Pier (free to walk on or $2 per pole), a playground (which includes a handicap swing), and lots and lots of cute boats parked http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif (broken link) It was pricey compared to our usual fare (max entree was $20 or so but also lower priced items like pasta or cheeseburger) but did have a good kids menu ($5 average) - grilled cheese, fish and chips, etc. We then walked out to the end of the public pier and saw a dolphin jumping around and four kinds of jellyfish o.0 They were everywhere.

Then we came home http://www.austinmommies.com/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif (broken link) Exhausted lol. We were there four days (two were traveling days though). I think a week would have been best to really get to see all the side things I wanted to - Maritime Museum and Fulton House in Rockport, a beach day at Beach Access 3 (south Mustang Island) would have been great. We never got to check out Padre Island's beach. Didn't get to try that fudge or peek inside Popsicle Toes and tons of other neato looking shops in Port Aransas, Rockport, and Fulton Would have wanted to do a Dolphin Sunset Cruise (various ones at the different little towns) but hubby gets seasick.

Last edited by Indigoblue; 06-24-2009 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Jollyville, TX
4,173 posts, read 9,937,487 times
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Indigoblue - sounds like you had a good time! We just got back yesterday ourselves. While we did encounter lots of seaweed on the beach, we didn't see any jellyfish except the dead Portuguese Man O War on the beach. I had forgotten they seem to be prevalent during a certain time of the year. Sounds like you stayed in closer to the main part of town, while we were out between Access Rd 1A and 1.

I am very fair skinned and we've found that taking one of those canopy things helps a lot. We bought a 10 x 10 at Academy for $60 before we left. I wouldn't be able to tolerate the sun all day otherwise.

Port A is a neat little place. I'm glad you had a good time and now you know what to do on your next trip!
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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I'm glad you had a good time. Texas doesn't have the finest beaches in the world but they are still fun to visit. We go there at least once a year.

Ohh, those jumping fish are escaping from larger fish who are trying to eat them.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
959 posts, read 4,244,385 times
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Yikes please don't tell me I was standing among even bigger fish than the jumping ones around me b/c the jumping fish were huge - at least 12 inches. Wouldn't the next biggest thing be a small shark (gulp) or dolphin?

We saw a couple of dead Portuguese man o' wars but the one my 2yo touched that resulted in a sting/swelling was still alive - it was pulsating and trying to move on the sand. I'm sure it died soon after.

We definitely wished we'd gotten a canopy before we left - thanks for the Academy tip. We did get a big beach umbrella with aluminum backing which was great shade but that was AFTER the morning we were out that my hubby got sunburnt :/

I was so grateful for all the advice I got on here of what to do
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
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Another place to stay that was very family friendly was Pioneer RV resort on Port A. They have a few park models (1 bedroom plus loft type cabins) right on the beach, great porches to bbq on and have a drink on.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Quote:
Wouldn't the next biggest thing be a small shark (gulp) or dolphin?
My understanding is that you are very likely handing out among sand sharks if you are in at least three freet of water (waist deep or a little higher). Of course, sand sharks are not really interested in you at all, since you are way more than a mouthful. Most of the sand sharks in that close are 3' long or shorter.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
959 posts, read 4,244,385 times
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Yikes - we did see a deceased little shark about 3' long that someone caught. But if they are going after 12 inch fish couldn't your foot or hand look like a tasty treat?

One time when I was between waist and chest deep my leg brushed along something very solid feeling I assumed was a fish but maybe it wasn't o.0

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
My understanding is that you are very likely handing out among sand sharks if you are in at least three freet of water (waist deep or a little higher). Of course, sand sharks are not really interested in you at all, since you are way more than a mouthful. Most of the sand sharks in that close are 3' long or shorter.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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No, sharks are very aware of what they are going after and much more aware of their surroundings than you are (at least, in the water world ). Texas beaches, due to their turbidity, are one of the least dangerous areas for shark bite. The big, aggressive sharks do not like the warm, cloudy water.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Austin TX
959 posts, read 4,244,385 times
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Ah thanks, that's good to hear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trainwreck20 View Post
No, sharks are very aware of what they are going after and much more aware of their surroundings than you are (at least, in the water world ). Texas beaches, due to their turbidity, are one of the least dangerous areas for shark bite. The big, aggressive sharks do not like the warm, cloudy water.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:55 PM
 
8,240 posts, read 15,717,521 times
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Sounds like a classic Port A beach trip, wonderful!
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