Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > Want to go from Dallas to the beach - which one?
Notices

Want to go from Dallas to the beach - which one?

Reply

May 1st, 2003, 04:33 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 184
Want to go from Dallas to the beach - which one?

We will be visiting relatives in Dallas this summer. We'd like to spend a few days in Dallas and then three or four on the Texas Gulf Coast. Any suggestions on where to go?

We are looking for:
- a nice beach for kids ages 10 and 6
- good seafood restaurants that we could take the kids to
- our kids are content to spend all thier time on the beach, and we will sightsee in Dallas, so we don't need any touristy stuff - a quiet little town would be great.

Thanks
buttercup is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 1st, 2003, 10:55 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 70
topping
Blondie is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 05:44 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,709
Personally, I don't care much for the Texas beaches. The past few years we've gone (Port Aransas, N. Padre) there have been lots of seaweed and jellyfish. Supposedly S. Padre is the nicest, but it's probably a 9 - 10 hour drive from Dallas.

However, we still love the coast, and walks on the beach, hunting for shells, the sea air, etc. We go to Port Royal in Port Aransas (a quaint coastal town). They have the largest swimming pool in Texas (and maybe the Southwest). There is a slide, hot tub, and lots of other activities. It's on the beach, so if your kids want to spend the day at the beach, or part of it, it's there for them.

However, IMHO, the Port Royal is overpriced. While the condos are all nice, a 2 bedroom during the summer will set you back over $300! (It's gone up every year. We may not be back...)

You could opt for N. Padre Island, where you can probably find sufficient condos or apartments for much less.
Austin is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 05:46 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,709
Another suggestion is Rockport. I've never been, but others here have reccommended it.

By the way, Port Royal website: port-royal.com
Austin is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 06:24 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 22
Mustang island state park or the Padre Island National seashore. The park beaches are very nice.
goatguy is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 07:00 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,566
As Austin says, the nearest nice beach, Padre Island, is at least a 10-hour drive from Dallas. Of course, you could always hop a Southwest Airlines flight to Harlingen and rent a car from there. OR, you could check package deals to Mexico. Often, you can go to an AI resort in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen for the same amount of money as you'd spend to get to SPI...
ChristieP is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 07:25 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 23
Forget the Texas beaches and drive a few more hours to either Gulf Shores or Destin area. Worth the extra 4 hours of driving.
rcoxhorns is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 08:34 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,709
Isn't Destin in Florida? And where is Gulf Shores? Is that Mississippi?
Austin is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 11:27 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 216
Destin is in the Florida Panhandle, Gulf Shores is in Alabama. From Dallas Destin is probably a 10 to 11 hour drive. Gulf Shores would probably work for your needs since it's smaller and less touristy than Destin, not to mention a couple of hours closer to Dallas. I'd suggest you make reservations soon!
paige is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 11:28 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 11
I lived in Corpus Christi for 18 years--about 20 minutes from Padre Island (which isn't called North or South there) and grew up going to those beaches all summer. I agree with much of what others have said. The beaches on Mustang Island are unspectacular by California and Florida standards, but they aren't bad either by most other standards.

The waves are usually big enough to provide some fun for the kids (provided they are good swimmers) but small enough that mom doesn't have to worry too much. There are usually plenty of shells to find, etc. Things like jellyfish and seaweed are just hit or miss. You could probably find out online if they are supposed to be bad this season--I live in Austin now, so I'm no help in that department.

Port Aransas is a quaint town with some terrific seafood and shops. A place called Beulah's serves some of the best/freshest seafood in the country, but it is a bit pricey.

Port Royal is pretty cool but definitely overpriced. The best thing would be to rent a private condo from someone--there are dozens of them down there. Again, just do a search on google and I'm sure you'll turn up something.

Destin, FL is over 300 miles farther than Port A and Gulf Shores, AL is more than 200 miles farther. The better option would be to go ahead and drive the extra 115 miles down to South Padre which has prettier water and arguably better beaches than either Destin or Gulf Shores.

Another plus to South Padre is that you are very close to Matamoros, Mexico. You could hop over the border and do some shopping and just take advantage of this unique cultural experience. Just stay sober, walk back across the border well before dark, and if you take the kids (better not to), don't let them out of your sight. It's a fun day trip and will be safe as long as your are smart and don't make bad decisions.

I'd be willing to bet you'll get better hotel deals at South Padre too, because there's more competition and it's more of a major tourist destination w/ lots of promotions, etc.

South Padre gets my vote, then Mustang Island, at a private condo.
Livin4theLord is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 12:59 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 68
You have not been to Destin if you think that Padre has prettier water OR sand. Destin is far and away much prettier. It closest thing in the US to a Caribbean beach. Go to www.destin-fwb.com. Cycle through the pictures on the main page. The beaches are truly beautiful.
carte005 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 01:44 PM
  #12
OliveOyl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
When we lived in Dallas and wanted a beach break, we didn't bother with TX beaches, but went to Destin. I was thinking this as I read through these responses...but we would go for 5 days at least. If you have to drive back to Dallas to fly out after 3 days, I don't know that I'd do Destin!!

The sand and water in Destin is the prettiest there is in FL, IMHO, and we now live near the Clearwater area which also gets rave reviews. Destin beats this area, but they get more of a winter so are not as good for early spring, late fall or winter trips.
 
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 01:52 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 445
Olive Oyle is right. If you have 3 days then are not going to want to drive to Florida. There is nothing wrong with Texas beaches. Are they as nice as Florida? No. Can you have fun in Port Aransas, Mustang Island, Padre Island National Seashore? Sure, it's the beach of course you'll have fun. I loved the Padre beaches as a kid. And by the way, nothing is more disapointing than shelling out the dough to fly to Destin or drive all the way there and find the beaches and water there covered in red seaweed. They've got it there too.
Kath is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 02:43 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 184
Thanks for all the replies. We're thinking of the Destin of Gulf Shores area now. We are driving to Dallas from St. Louis, so instead of going back to Dallas, we're thinking of a long circular route - Dallas, beach, back home. We're also thinking more like five or six beach days.

Thanks again.
buttercup is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 03:37 PM
  #15
OliveOyl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Perfect. Definitely do Destin over So TX beaches! You'll be amazed at the water color and clarity, and the white white sand. We were fortunate in many years of going, never to have hit it during a period of seaweed, but it can happen anywhere.
 
Reply With Quote
May 2nd, 2003, 07:16 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 184
Olive,
Our beach vacations are usually in Sarasota - sounds like Destin is closer to what we're used to.
Thanks again
buttercup is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2003, 05:10 AM
  #17
OliveOyl
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes!! Much closer. Destin's beaches are even prettier than Sarasota's, nicer sand, clearer water, and color of water as good or better than Sarasota. You won't be disappointed...but Destin can get pretty crowded in the summer. (Otherwise, it'd just be too good to be true). Secrets like that one don't last.
 
Reply With Quote
May 13th, 2003, 03:29 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 801
>
Rockport, TX.
The other day I was watching Bob Phillips' Country Reporter (local TV show) and he did a story on Hoopes House Bed & Breakfast. Sounded & looked wonderful > >
http://www.hoopeshouse.com/
Tess_Durberville is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 30th, 2003, 11:33 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 139
Have you considered going to the Lake instead?

Lake Travis in Austin---about four hours away from Dallas has clear blue water and white sand shores---not as good as the Carribean but beats the heck out of the Gulf. It's surrounded by Hills. There are several good restaurants near the water like Iguana Grill.

Stillhollow Lake in Killeen is similar. It is a little closer to Dallas, but it is much less populated than Austin. It doesn't have much to offer in the way of restaurants or watersports.

Also, you might consider going an hour further down from Austin for tubing in the guadulupe rive in New Braunfels. Kids love that.
Catmomma is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 30th, 2003, 12:19 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 140
Catmomma be right--the lakes in Texas are more fun and closer. One reason why you'd need to travel far south on the gulf is to get away from the pollution from the Bayshore refineries around Houston and Galveston.
Brooklyn_Bomber is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 07:42 PM.