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STATE PARK ADVENTURES

Surf Texas


Back in the day, it was the hottest surfing spot on the Texas coast.

The Fish Pass Jetties at Mustang Island State Park produced waves that wouldn’t look out of place in California.

Since the pass silted up in the 1980s, the waves haven’t been quite the same. But when winter rolls in, they return to a semblance of their former glory.

“The jetties cause the waves to line up right there, and they kind of peel off going down the line, like a small point break,” says Cliff Schlabach, longtime local surfer and co-chairman of the Surfrider Foundation. “The waves are really good in the winter — ‘long left’ breaking waves.”

Surfers need structure for good waves. In Texas, that means jetties and piers, which slow down the current and create the sandbars needed for surf.

Mustang Island’s Fish Pass Jetties fit the bill, so wintertime offers prime surf.

“By November, we start getting our fronts moving through, and that switches our swell,” Schlabach says. “The swell switches from southeast to northeast, and that’s a whole different wave. It’s bigger, longer and cleaner.”

For Schlabach, Mustang Island offers an escape from the crowds that gather in Corpus Christi or Port Aransas.

“It makes you feel like you’re off on a real surf safari,” he says.

Grab a board and a wetsuit, and you, too, can go on your own Texas surf safari.  

At the beach

Mustang Island was named for the wild horses that roamed the island. The state park opened in 1979 and contains more than five miles of coastline.

Camping

Fishing/paddling

On the bay side, three paddling trails pass through some of the best shallow-water fishing areas in Texas and offer close-up views of coastal birds.

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Build a sandcastle

There’s plenty of sand to build your own castle or whatever you can dream up. Shells and sticks provide decorative touches.

Hiking

Accessibility

If you need mobility assistance, two beach wheelchairs are available for loan, free of charge.

Mustang Island State Park

  9394 Texas Highway 361 Corpus Christi, TX 78418

  Entrance fee: $5 Children 12 and under:free

  tpwd.texas.gov/mustangisland

  (361) 749-5246

Reservations are recommended for camping and day use. Spring and summer are the busiest months.

 Russell Roe   Chase Fountain | TPWD

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