Lonesome Lone Star Coast
Back on the mainland, you'll have to drive through the King Ranch to reach the rest of the coast. Visit the gift shop for one of the world's largest arrays of leather goods. But for a more authentic beach experience, continue south to the tiny hamlet of Port Mansfield. Here you'll have two primary amusement options: watch the gangs of fearless 10- and 12-point bucks that rove neighborhood streets each evening and devour garden hibiscus "Hell, I hand-feed 'em flour tortillas right out my front door," says fishing guide Howard Steussy or you can fish. Due to lack of development and the absence of a major river emptying into the bay, the hyper-saline Laguna Madre retains a clarity rivaling the Caribbean and provides fly and lure fishermen with speckled trout, red drum and flounder. Offshore anglers battle tarpon, marlin and other catch-and-release fighting fish.
At sunrise, Steussy zips fishermen across the water in a flat-bottomed "scooter," a vessel that hums across even the Laguna's six-inch depths. After limiting out, he might scoot you by the Nature Conservancy's Green Island one of many rookeries for blue heron, roseated spoonbills, ospreys and snowy egrets or take you deep into the Laguna's marshy inlets, where thousands of coots and ducks will sprint like Jesus across the water in front of your boat (210-944-2339; around $300).
For lodging, rent a house along North Shore Drive. Each comes with a streetview for deer-watching and a 300-foot fishing pier for angling all night under the lights (Seaside Rentals, 210-944-2635).
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Laguna Madre Travel Q&A
What's your favorite hike? Where's the best campsite? Join the conversation! Ask Your Question