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Posts Tagged ‘seabeans’

Quintana Beach County Park on the Texas Gulf Coast – So Many Reasons to Visit

Posted by Jody on June 5, 2012

Quintana Beach County Park:

Our family gives this 51 acre beach and park complex a definite “two thumbs up!”

“Natural” Quintana Beach County Park

Quintana Beach County Park is located on the upper Texas Gulf Coast on the tiny man-made island of  Quintana, the “Gateway to the Gulf.” We think it offers one of the nicest beach experiences on the Texas coast. Here you’ll find a “natural” beach that is maintained by the tides and weather.  Expect to see seaweed and driftwood strewn across the sandy beach. This simply means that Brazoria County leaves it to Mother Nature to care for her Gulf Coast shoreline. You won’t find the county regularly raking or “cleaning” the sand, and this just makes beachcombing that much more interesting.

There are so many reasons to visit Quintana Beach County Park! Here are just a few:

Sea Bean Collection from Quintana Beach County Park, Texas

1) While beachcombing on the 1/2+ mile of sands within the county park’s boundaries, we found a wonderful assortment of seabeans (also known as drift seeds), driftwood and delicate angel wings.

The Quintana jetty, locally known as the west jetty,  is the eastern border of the county park. It offers plenty of fun on its own!

2) The fine folks at the county park told us that the jetty measures about 1/2 mile long.  It’s a lovely walk. While strolling along the Quintana jetty, you can try to find the shape of the Lone Star State embedded in the concrete. I think it was our 5 year old grandson who spotted it first!

The Lone Star State

3) One of my favorite activities at the beach park was just sitting on the rocks of the jetty, watching the tugs go out and the ships come in through the Freeport Ship Channel.

Watching the Banana Boat

4) Our family doesn’t fish, but it was easy to see that surf fishing, pier fishing, kayak fishing, and fishing from the extra long jetty are all the rage at Quintana Beach County Park.

View from the Quintana Jetty

5) Birding, too. Most notably, we watched pelicans in flight and the regal great blue heron.

6) Swimming – NOT from the jetty! (of course), although there are no lifeguards at the beach.

7 & 8) Surfing and kayaking are very popular sports here.

Kayaks on the Gulf of Mexico

9) Clean, well maintained camp sites and rental cabins are available just off the beach. Special event pavilions can be reserved for day use, too.

10) There are lots of amenities and a few historic sites just beyond the dunes. Be sure to use the dune preserving crossovers! Nice washrooms and showers are available, along with picnic tables and vending machines.

Dune Crossover

Pick a reason, any reason, to visit Quintana Beach County Park and your family will have a great day at the beach, too!



Posted in Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Surfing Beach, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Cool Beans! Beachcombing at Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Posted by Jody on September 15, 2011

Are you beachcombing for Florida Fighting Conchs, Atlantic Giant Cockles, and Cayenne Keyhole Limpets? How about Common Sundials or Spiny Jewelboxes? These are just a few of the 37 species of  seashells that have been documented at Padre Island National Seashore. But the coolest beach treasures you may end up taking home are the seabeans, also known as drift seeds, that can be found at this National Seashore located in South Texas. Cool beans!

Hamburger Seed - seabean (Photo by BAxelrod/Wikimedia Commons)

According to the National Park Service: “Seabeans originate from trees and vines mostly found on tropical shores and forests all over the world. In these areas, sunlight is unable to reach the forest floor, allowing the seeds to germinate. Some plants have adapted to their environment by producing seeds that will float to where sunlight has a better chance of reaching them. These travelers fall from the parent plant into waterways, such as the Amazon River, and are carried into the ocean. A majority of the seabeans found on Padre Island originate in the Caribbean and Central or South America.”  Throughout history, seabeans have been used for everything from jewelry making to creating musical instruments. They’ve been held as good luck charms and they’ve been utilized to produce soap and shampoo. The Park Service even offers a handy little brochure for seabean collecting and identification.

Padre Island National Seashore is situated off the coast of South Texas, southeast of Corpus Christi. The park is located on North Padre Island, in the Gulf of Mexico. Padre Island National Seashoreis a 70 mile stretch of protected tidal flats, dunes, coastline prairie and unspoiled sandy beach all rolled into one very large nature preserve.  In fact, North Padre Island is the world’s longest undeveloped barrier island.

Padre Island National Seashore (Photo:PD- USGov'-NPS/Wikimedia Commons)

Only the first five miles of beach are accessible by two wheel drive vehicles, and even that is dependent upon current beach conditions. Most of the beach is accessible only by four wheel drive vehicles. Be careful beachcombing at Padre Island National Seashore as the beaches are Texas public highways. Only street legal and licensed vehicles may be driven in the park. Check for vehicle rules and regulations before heading out to the sand!

Also available is a really nice NPS brochure on the seashells for beachcombing at Padre Island National SeashoreHappy beachcombing! -J-

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

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