If your idea of a weekend getaway or annual vacation includes sandy beaches, blue skies, rolling waves and exceptional coastal scenery then Mustang Island State Park is the place for you.
Situated in Southern Texas, just half an hour’s drive from Corpus Christi, the park was the former home of the eccentric multi-millionaire Ada Wilson, before it was sold to the state – via an unusual supreme court battle which she instigated!).
Boasting a five mile beachfront, mustangs once roamed this 3,954 Texas state park, however, they were gathered up by ranchers at the back end of the 19th century.
Today, it is best known as a place to swim, surf, walk and fish. While mountain biking, birding and geocaching are popular activities too.
The perfect place to visit for some good old fashioned R&R, Mustang Island State Park enjoys a mild year-round climate. It also has a terrific, modern campground in which to base yourself at too.
The park offers several different ways to enjoy its gorgeous landscape.
Here are just a handful of some of the many things you can do while you are there.
Swimming and Walking at Mustang Island State Park
Open all year round, as you would expect, the park’s main drawcard is the beach.
With five miles of golden sands to enjoy, swimming and walking are popular activities here.
Waves are generally moderate, so you should have no qualms about going for a dip, although as always it is worthwhile exercising caution and being aware of rips.
The sand is soft enough to enjoy a nice long walk, and perfect for sunbathing on a towel.
Close to the shoreline you will also find several chemical toilets dotted along the beach, as well as a convenient gift shop that sells books, headphones and other items you might require.
Fishing at Mustang Island State Park
Fishing is a popular activity at Mustang Island and you’ll be pleased to know you don’t need a license to cast a line there.
You’ll find two big jetties for angling at the park, located at the end of the Water Exchange Pass. One of which extends quite far out into the Gulf of Mexico.
As this body of water gets deep rather quickly, the jetties provide fabulous opportunities for both shallow and deep water fishing.
Some of the species you can catch all through the year include the likes of redfish, black drum, flounder, and trout. In the summer, jackfish, mackerel and sharks can all be caught too.
Should you want to fish at the park, be sure to bring your own rods and reels with you, as the park does not offer rentals.
Biking at Mustang Island State Park
Despite there being no mountains near this stunning stretch of coastal plain, it is well worth bringing your mountain bike with you to the park.
Throughout it you will find several opportunities for off-road biking. This includes the three mile long Holly Hike Trail, which is a fast trail that is great for beginners.
If you are looking for a more challenging trail you can always head to one of the off-trail loops, such as the Oso Creek Trail. Parts of this trail feature a pretty wild terrain that is very overgrown, so if you do tackle it, be sure to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.
Birding at Mustang Island State Park
While not in the water, birding is a popular activity at Mustang Island State Park.
As the area incorporates most features of a barrier island ecosystem – including sand dunes, marshes, tidal pools and grasslands – it is home to several different species of birds. Many of which come in the spring and fall migrations.
Be sure to bring your binoculars with you, as depending on the time of year you visit, you can expect to see Northern Shoveler, American Coot, Red Knot, California Gull, Roseate Spoonbill, Swainson’s Hawk and Ash-throated Flycatcher.
Pets at Mustang Island State Park
The park identifies as a dog friendly public recreation space. However, like most state parks in Texas it does place some restrictions on visitors who plan on bringing their dogs with them.
For further details, you might want to contact the park’s main office.
Camping at Mustang Island State Park
Showcasing magnificent views of the Gulf of Mexico, The Mustang Island State Park Campground enjoys a brilliant location just 400 yards from the beach.
Overall, it offers 48 RV and trailer friendly sites which are able to accommodate vehicles of up to 65 feet in length.
All of its sites come with a 50-amp connection for electricity, as well as a water hookup too. In addition, they also have their own picnic tables and grills. While amenities like flush toilets, hot showers and a dump station are also close by.
As well as these sites, there are also 75 tent campsites which sit along a 1.5 mile stretch of the beach frontage. There are no amenities here, other than chemical toilets, so these are best for self-sufficient campers.
One of the best things about staying in this campsite is that you can enjoy campfires on the beach. Just make sure you put them out properly when finished.
If you are unable to secure a campsite at Mustang Island State Park, you could always try Goose Island State Park and Lake Corpus Christi State Park. Both of which are less than an hour’s drive away and feature campgrounds with similar facilities and amenities.
Mustang Island State Park
Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Mustang Island State Park: