Padre Island National Seashore
The Padre Island National seashore is on the southern end of north padre and is roughly forty two miles from the Corpus Chrisiti international airport. This area is vast and stretches all the way south to the port Mansfield jetties. There is a park entrance on park road 22 which is about 10 miles from the kennedy causeway bridge. There is $10 per vehicle entry fee which is good for seven days or a $20 annual fee and the park is open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. The Park has a visitor center with a bookstore and small concession store. If you plan to travel to remote areas of this part of the island, which spans for sixty miles, a four wheel drive vehicle will be necessary to avoid getting stuck in the sand. Also, the beach conditions change here frequently so it is a good idea to check the park center for updated driving and weather conditions.
Padre Bali Park
Just north of the Padre Island National seashore and south of Packery channel is Padre Balli Park. This park is also located off of park road 22. Bob Hall pier is located at this location and is a favorite spot for surfers and fishermen. There is paved parking next to the pier with picnic benches and no parking sticker is required to park here. Right across from the pier are restrooms and fresh water rinse showers. There are also designated campsite areas here with water and electric hookups. This area is one of the most popular spots on north Padre so be prepared for crowds during the summer and on holidays.
Packery channel is located north of the seawall and is where the JP Luby surf pier used to be. There is a north and south jetty with the south jetty beach only accessible from access road 3A and the north jetty beach accessible from highway 361. There is excellent fishing here on both jetties and this is also a favorite spot for surfing because the jetties block the wind and current. These are some of the most popular beaches on north Padre and can become very crowded during the warmer weather months of spring and summer. There is no paved parking, restrooms or showers here at the jetty beaches and a beach parking permit is required here to park your vehicle.
Seawall and Whitecap beach
Located just south of Packery channel, the seawall was built several decades ago to help protect the condominiums and hotels located behind the concrete structure from storms and swells. The top of the seawall has a walking area stretching the entire length, which is roughly one mile, and is perfect for biking, skateboarding and walking without getting wet or sandy. Right next to the south end of the sea wall is whitecap beach which is at the end of Whitecap blvd and stretches for about two miles to the northern end of Padre Bali park. Driving is allowed in both these areas but a beach parking permit is required to park.
If you are interested in hunting for seashells while beachcombing, then North Padre has a lot to offer. There are many varieties of seashells that wash up onto the beaches of North Padre, including sundials, lightning whelks, bay scallops, crab shells and the ever popular sand dollar, among many others. You can find shells almost any time of the year but there are some locations that can reap better rewards. Areas close to jetties and piers can be the most productive for shells as well as the Padre Island National seashore, where there are miles of pristine shoreline that can produce some great shell hunting.
When deciding when to go shell hunting, use the tides as your guide. High tide washes the shells onto the sand, and the receding low tide leaves them exposed on the beach. The best strategy is to go in between the tides or as the high tide is receding into low tide, leaving the shells in plain sight. When you go searching for shells, bring a bucket and digging tool to help dig for partially buried shells and the bucket to carry them without breaking any. Following these tips and with a little luck, you’re chances of finding great sea shells while on North Padre is almost guaranteed!
Events feed courtesy of Corpus Christi Caller-Times.