Friday, January 26, 2018

Lamar, Port Lavaca and Magnolia Beach Texas

Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE beaches.  I got googling the other day for the most affordable beach towns in the USA, and according to Coastal Living, the #7 most affordable beach town in the US is less than an hour from here, in Port Lavaca.  ROAD TRIP TIME!  We took an afternoon and drove up there, stopping along the way to see Goose Island State Park in Lamar.

Driving into Lamar, we were slowed at a site where they were loading Hurricane Harvey debris into dump trucks.  Yes, that Hurricane Harvey that happened 5 months ago.  So many of the towns in this area were hit really hard, and will take a long time to recover.

Goose Island State Park has only partially opened.  It was open for fishing and for day use, but the campgrounds were still closed.  It would be a beautiful place to camp.  The sites are right on the bay and I can imagine the sunsets would be amazing.  They all have cute little shelters for picnic tables.

The pelicans and other birds were hanging around the fish cleaning station, looking for some scraps.

The park is interesting, because it encompasses a few roads within the town itself.  When you drive from the camping/boating/picnic area through the town, you can find The Big Tree.  The tree is a coastal live oak that is over 1,000 years old, 11 feet in diameter, 35 feet in circumference, 44 feet tall, and 89 feet across the crown.  There were wires and braces helping the tree stay up, and it was surrounded by a fence so that people wouldn't trample on the ground around it and damage its roots.

From Lamar, we drove to Port Lavaca.  Our first stop was Lighthouse Beach Park, which is a city park and campground.  They also had waterfront campsites that were still out of commission from the hurricane, although their sites "on the hill" (maybe 4 feet higher than the water level) were in use.  Their fishing dock was still unusable, and their beach was a mere speck of sand.  Camping there was $30 for a site on the hill, or $35 for a waterfront site.  Seniors get $1 off discount.  Hill sites were $360 a month and waterfront sites were $360 for winter or $580 for summer.  Waterfront sites only have 30 amp service, while the hill has 30 or 50 amps.

Lighthouse beach fishing pier

We drove through their historic downtown area, which was only a block or two long and mostly closed.   Some looked like hurricane damage, others were just closed.  For people who like junk shops and antiques, there were a couple of places open.  Driving along the waterfront, we found that Port Lavaca has several waterfront parks, and a marina.  At the marina, we saw some boats still washed aground from the hurricane.

We also saw this guy, who gave me the side eye for interrupting his afternoon nap.

The park has a memorial from a Civil War battle that occurred here.

We drove further down the coastline to Magnolia Beach.  It was the first beach-like beach we found, although it was not soft and powdery sand.  Instead there were tons of shells along the waterline and mixed in the sandy surface.  Magnolia Beach boasts miles of FREE camping.  There are no hook ups, and only one restroom, but the hard-packed sand along the waterfront was perfect for spending some quality down time.  We spoke with some campers who said it was a wonderful place to stay.  Online reviews were mixed, with some people noting that it is a busy shipping channel and can be noisy.  We were impressed enough to consider trying a night or two here in March before heading further north. 

At least in mid-January, it was sparsely populated and very quiet.  We ended the day by driving back across the peninsula to go through Long Mott, which I thought would be a small town, but appears to be just a dot in the road where a chemical plant operates.  We finished the day riding west into an eerie looking sunset.


  1. Great summary. I found this information very helpful.

    Sending wishes for continued safe travels.

  2. Awesome write up! I've put it in my bucket list to visit! Thanks!


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