Galveston and South Padre Island

Nov 5th, 2001, 09:45 AM
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Galveston and South Padre Island

My Mother wants me to take her for a drive along the Texas Gulf Coast, from Galveston to the end of South Padre Island, on Thanksgiving Day. Can you give me an idea of how long a drive that might be? We would then go to San Antonio and Austin. We have been to San Antonio and Austin many times, but never along the Texas Gulf Coast. BTW, we are from Northwest Florida. How does the scenery compare to our Gulf Coast? Thanks for any advice.
Nov 5th, 2001, 09:51 AM
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I think a drive from Galveston to South Padre would take ALL day, seriously. AND, the scenery is awful compared to your Florida coast. The water is down right ugly until you get to Corpus, then it's only 'okay'. Can't think of a more boring drive. You may get other opinions, but for my two cents, If your mother wants to see the Texas coast, I'd start in Corpus and then continue to Padre. Skip Galveston and in-between all together!
Nov 5th, 2001, 09:59 AM
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Ally -- Your advice is just what I'm looking for. I may be able to talk her into just the Corpus to Padre route. Thanks.
Nov 5th, 2001, 10:50 AM
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Unless there is something really important about Padre Island and Thanksgiving day, you might want to reconsider. The weekend after 9/11, a barge hit the bridge to Padre Island and several sections fell. They are not planning to have it rebuilt until after Christmas. They have free ferries. See for more info.
Nov 5th, 2001, 11:17 AM
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To ccc: It isn't that we have to see South Padre Island. Here's the deal: Mom is 74, Dad is 80, so I'll be doing most of the driving. The length of the trip isn't a problem -- we've driven across country many times. But, timing is important, as I will only be able to be off work from around Nov. 21 through Nov. 26. So, we need to squeeze in Austin, Crawford, San Antonio, and the Texas Coast in 5 to 6 days. Despite their age, they tolerate long periods of time in the car well. Mom won't really spend that much time getting out along the coast, just sight-seeing from the car.
Nov 5th, 2001, 12:21 PM
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I agree that the drive along the Texas Gulf Coast is not thrilling. I might just drive between Corpus Christi and Rockport. I don't know when whooping cranes migrate, but you can see them in the winter in Rockport, along with a lot of hummingbirds.

My parents live beween South Padre Island and Brownsville. They say that it's been a real pain using the ferry and wouldn't recommend it if you aren't going to stay a few days on the island.
Nov 5th, 2001, 02:11 PM
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Galveston to South Padre is about 400 miles, and Corpus is about halfway. The area from Corpus to Padre is very flat ranch land (ex.-King Ranch) with very little tourism or commerce. The lower Rio Grande Valley (Brownsville-Harlingen-McAllen area) can be a great place for bird watching, if it is the right season, and a trip to Mexico is just across the bridge. Padre to Austin is about 350 miles, with an additional 80 or so to Crawford. You mentioned you have been to Austin and San Antonio many times. If Crawford and Austin are a must, you might want to consider skipping the coast and focus on the Hill Country (Kerrville, Fredericksburg, etc). The Hill Country is perfect for leisurely driving and visiting. Of course, these may all be repeats for you.
Nov 5th, 2001, 03:38 PM
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It is about a 3-3 1/2 hour trip from Corpus to San Antonio. It is another 3-4 hours to South Padre from Corpus. North Padre is very close to Corpus and there is a wildlife sanctuary on Padre Island nearer the north end. There are more refineries from Galveston to Corpus than in Florida so not a real scenic adventure. If you do decide to go, when the sign says this is the last gas station for -- miles, they aren't kidding (King Ranch).
Galveston area is nice to see because of the Strand and the old mansions. Also, between Houston and Galveston is the NASA area and the Space Center is a definite plus to see.
Nov 13th, 2001, 05:53 AM
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Mom now wants to drive from Galveston to Corpus Christie, but after reviewing your responses and studying a more detailed Texas map, I'm trying to talk her into seeing Galveston and the immediate surrounding area OR Corpus Christie and the immediate surrounding area, but not both.
I need your input again to help with that choice. Mom enjoys pretty scenery, but isn't interested in wildlife, i.e. bird watching. She is leaning toward Corpus Christie. I prefer Galveston just because it seems to be a shorter drive. Finally, where is the bridge out? Is it at Corpus Christie or South Padre Island. Thanks again.
Nov 13th, 2001, 09:49 AM
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The bridge from Port Isabel to South Padre Island is the one that's out.
Nov 17th, 2001, 10:00 AM
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Jeannie,the above posters are correct about the bridge to South Padre Island. However, they are not current. The bridge will open on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Altho the ferry was a pain, it actually was fun. Some went out of their way to take it. However, now it will not be an issue. In my humble opinion, Galveston is a waste of time.One of the only cities in Texas to not be growing or progressing. Corpus is pleaant but has no beach to be proud of. SPI does have a magnificent beach and is great for walking on or just sight seeing. Lots of condos, not as plush as Fl. but in some ways more scenic because you can drive right up to the water. Lots of trashy tshirt shops, but fun to look at. My advice-see Austin or San Antonio, skip Crawford (just brush country) and Galveston, take I-35 to San Antoio, I-37 to outskirts of Corpus and onto US77 to SPI turnoff. You might want to make time to visit Brownsville if you go to SPI (about 20 minutes). Matamoros Mexico is across from Brownsville.Or come directly to SPI after getting off on I-10 in Houston and then go thru the upper Rio Grande Valley to McAllen (on US83), stop in Progresso Mexico (halfway between Brownsville and McAllen, to see the spectacle of tens of thousands of winter tourists there every day shopping for prescription drugs and curios, enjoy the warm weather and the tropical vegetation, stock up on grapefruit that makes Florida grapefruit look anemic. Stay in McAllen (3rd fastest growing area in US) for a night and then go up US281 to San Antonio and back onto I10 back to Fl.
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