Matagorda Bay Nature Park
Thanks to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Matagorda Peninsula is accessible by one of Texas’ last operating swing bridges. Even on crowded holidays, people congregate on just the first three of the 22 miles of beach. Beyond, your only company will be shorebirds and cows cooling off in the surf or grazing on the dunes, the only sounds the whisper of ghostly tendrils of blowing sand and thrumming of the gentle surf. Head to mile marker 10 or 12 for maximum remoteness, as the park’s far end is accessible by boat from Sargent Beach. The beach narrows and shell middens crunch under your tires (four-wheel drive required), and eagle-eyed beachcombers may spot Civil War or Spanish shipwreck artifacts among sundial shells, whelks, and driftwood. The waterway and mainland are visible from atop the dunes, but at beach level, you’ll feel blissfully apart.
Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Matagorda County, 800/776-5272, ext. 4740; www.lcra.org/parks.
From the June 2008 issue.