2023 First Day Hike: Mustang Island State Park

Spending the first day of 2023 at Mustang Island State Park. First day hikes are a great initiative to get folks outdoors and start the year!

When the weather forecast said it wasn’t going to rain the button was pushed to book a room for the night for New Year’s Eve in Port Aransas, TX. The beach seemed like a perfect backdrop for fireworks, and the vicinity to Mustang Island State Park would be the ideal place to start the new year with a first-day hike on the beach.

Mustang Island SP Park Map

As the sun set the excitement for the fireworks grew. The snack tray was out, the Ignik Firecan was keeping everyone warm and the first blast could now be heard off in the distance. The first 5 blossoms or color popped in the night sky with the crashing waves hitting the nearby jetty.

Within 10 minutes of the fireworks starting the fog sheeted the island and blocked out any hope of watching the fireworks. Well, at least there’s the ambiance.

The next morning the fog was still making its presence felt. Grey skies, and everything wet, the 8 a.m. The Ranger-Led hike would not be happening.

Instead, bellies were filled with continental breakfast and some early black-eyed peas for good luck.

Mustang Island SP is a wonderful place to get away from the crowds of Port Aransas beaches, but still offers everything you need for your beach experience.

Picnic area in the day use area at Mustang Island

This state park isn’t really built for hiking on foot, but the paddling trails here bring in plenty of people to traverse the Texas bay.

The coastal side of Mustang Island state park is where the day-use area, primitive camping, and RV locations are. It’s also the side where the reopened visitor’s center is.

There was excitement for the reopened building, but that was pushed out upon entry. While the nearby Padre Island National Seashore does a ton of work to educate visitors about the area, (it’s a national park so it should), the visitor center didn’t have much to see as far as information about the park.

They had a handful of souvenirs, beach items, and soft drinks.

Upon arrival the park ranger mentioned that the sand was too soft for 4X4 vehicles, so stick to the parking area, but there were plenty of folks near the park jetty that braved the small section of soft sand.

This is where most of the time was spent lounging and fishing and enjoying the Texas coast. While not a traditional hike, it’s always fun to spend time at a state park. Especially one where the view is the ocean.

For a full recap of this state park and surrounding parks, check out this post.

Did you get out on a first day hike? Post your favorite in the comments:


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