Goose Island State Park I Texas State Parks and Wildlife
Goose Island State Park is a beautiful secret being kept not far from its neighbor, the more well known Mustang Island SP. Mustang Island wasn't up and running come Spring Break 2018 and our family was yearning for an affordable trip to the coast so we made a reservation at the mysterious Goose Island, and we were so happy we did!
It was a quick 3 hour drive from San Antonio, the kids were ecstatic to be headed south which gave us a reason to stop at In N Out Burger and load up on fresh and delicious burgers, fries and shakes! YUM!
We arrived at the State Park in the evening after the front office had closed and the park ranger at the gate was more than helpful in checking us in and giving us tips on the best campsites to choose from. The ranger handed us a map with some suggestions and let us pass to scout out the best site for us. After some driving around and discussions we decided on site 134 (also our home address number!). We pitched our tents and let the park ranger know we had made our decision. We all settled in for the night, convinced the toddlers it was completely normal to be sleeping outside and drifted off for the night.
In the morning we busted out our cooler full of food and got to cooking breakfast over an open fire. We brought our very own goose eggs from the farm to have scrambled for breakfast on Goose Island! We also had homemade bread, bacon, and coffee over an open fire. Most of our bigger camping equipment items were tents, 2 cast iron skillets, a fire grate (for cooking with multiple cast iron skillets), and headlamps. Leading up to the trip we provided both of the older boys with a backpack of personal outdoor essentials, Walmart has a great section to stock up on these items at very budget-friendly prices. We were able to get each boy a one-man tent, personal campfire stoves, a one-man cast iron skillet, a compass, machete, a hydro flask, and lighters at incredibly low prices. Equipping the big boys this way really sparked their inner outdoors-man and being prepared gave them the ability to feel self-sufficient 'in the wild'. They practiced in the woods at the house for weeks before the trip.
This was our first time camping with toddlers and there were a few things that helped the experience go smoothly. Before we left I stocked up on Dollar Tree essentials. This included glow sticks, bubbles, sand toys, and snacks! Interestingly enough, the kids opened up a glow stick and poured it into the bubble jar making 'glow in the dark' bubbles. Camping at night was a little off-putting to the little ones and I'm so thankful we planned ahead and thought to get plenty of solar-powered lights and some other fun stuff to bring our campsite to life. The solar rope light was a huge help at dark. We hung it along the outside of the tent and it acted as a great night light at bed time for the toddlers. We also used a solar powered rock speaker that had blue tooth capability to stream Spotify at night with lullaby music. This really helped to create a more home-like environment and muffle the sounds of the older children nearby at the campfire. This rock speaker was really the best buy of the trip. We used it during the day and around the campfire also for all kinds of music at the touch of our phones.
The first day we spent nearby in Rockport. We visited the local Rockport beach and it had a pier, great sand and small tiki cabanas for shade. The state park provides fishing poles on a loaner program (awesome) so the boys got to work on the pier while the kids and I enjoyed the beach and the waves. Later that day we visited another public fishing spot and the boys finally started to have some luck.
On our second day we decided to make the 50 minute drive to Port Aransas. This drive landed our car on a ferry and everyone was intrigued. This is the only way to access this beach from where we were. The beach we landed on was beautiful and right by the actual port so the kids were able to see many large ships coming in to port. It was quite a sight. I ordered sunscreen ingredients for the entire summer ahead of time to make homemade sunscreen. This allowed those who chose to apply it safe from brutal beach sunburns. It can be assumed that some hard headed older children did not partake in moms all natural home made sunscreen and paid the price. My darling husband went home with some special markings imprinted on his back that he is still dealing with!
We ended our day in Port Aransas by visiting a few tourist shops and searching for someplace to eat. We checked with local reviews and opinions and ended up having dinner at Iries Island Food. It was delicious, affordable enough for a family of 8 and LOCAL. The boys indulged in the local seafood special and I had a delicious chicken rice bowl with veggies and asian sauce.
We absolutely LOVED Goose Island State Park. My favorite part was that the camp sites were actually wooded so you didn't have to deal with the inconveniences that come with camping beach front. I also used several of the community establishments in Rockport: Wal-Mart, HEB, the local laundry mat and it is a lovely little town to spend time in. We will definitely be returning to this state park after we mark a few others off our list!