Last Updated on May 30, 2023 by Adeymius
Looking for a great place to camp, whether it’s an RV or tent, National Seashore Park is a place you can go to feel “one with nature”…but not too close. This park located North of Padre Island is home to a wide range of wildlife with a stretch of beach that provides a more relaxing comfort than their counterpart South Padre Island with the spring breakers and more.
North Padre Island Seashore Park is open 24 hours and includes Rangers and visitor centers such as Malaquite as well as a list of accommodating supplies and activities you can do while at the park. Ice is available for purchase along with t-shirts, sandals, sodas, and water at the visitor center which is open from 10:00a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. There is no fuel of any kind for purchase or food, so be sure to bring what you need prior. Sodas are in vending machines that are locked after hours but the restrooms and showers are available.
Kiosk for payment
When arriving at the Malaquite campground, across the way from the 4 way stop is a “kiosk” that gives some info and has envelopes for payment. These envelopes have a section you can tear off, fill in with your vehicle info and such, and place in the corresponding number that matches your camping spot. Each camp spot has a number marked either on the picnic table or pavement and that number is where you will place your envelope stub. Please note you cannot make reservations, it is on a first come first serve basis.
Before park entrance a fee must be made to enter the park, for one day it’s $10. Here is a link you can visit for more information about fees. https://www.nps.gov/pais/planyourvisit/basicinfo.htm
How do the showers work?
This is a common curiosity for people at the campsite, do you have to pay for the showers, are they first come first serve, do you need to let anyone know you are going to use them, do you need a key, is there hot water? So let’s answer these shall we, we visited the place and it was our second time going to this campground. The showers are free and you don’t need a key, in the simplest of it, if the door is open it’s available but knock just to be sure. And there is no hot water whatsoever, not even at the visitor center showers, it’s really cold water the kind that when it hits you it takes your breath away…literally. There is a sign that states when the showers and restrooms will be closed for cleaning daily at the shower and restroom location. Some of the restrooms have baby changing stations and are handicap accessible.
There are no electricity or restroom hookups for RVs, or tents at the numbered camp spots. The camping spots for tents do have a grilling station and picnic table with a slotted covering. RV spots only have a picnic table that is uncovered.
Despite having a numbered campsite, you can still camp on the beach if you want to without losing your campsite. As long as it’s paid for, you’re good.
Having a tent is great but if you have never camped on the beach or near the beach then might we make a suggestion? Spend a little more on finding a waterproof tent and maybe breathable too. The moisture factor is insane during the night and will leave you feeling sticky and maybe wet and maybe resulting in a very uncomfortable night for some…or all. It’s unavoidable, however, you can take preventative measures to help reduce this. Sand is also going to get in your tent, especially with no tent covering and it just meshes, yeah, good luck. But all of this goes with being part of the beach and camping on it or close to it.
Nighttime was the hardest when we were sleeping, as it’s not summer yet, the air is colder at night and with moisture, it’s a bit more uncomfortable, feeling cold and then sweating does mix very well. One way we found that helps a great deal when its cold is to make sure you have no vents at ground level or openings close to the lower portion of the tent. If you do, cover them up before you sleep and make sure to have a vented opening atop and you should have a warmer night, comfort is up to you. Moisture is going to develop at the top mid-center of the tent, of any tent and that moisture will drip on you, so be aware.
Pop-up privacy tent, electric generator and solar panels
We all have those bathroom visits and the need to change right away and sometimes those facilities are in use and you can’t wait. We invested in what is known as a pop-up privacy tent and it’s pretty neat. Ordered off of Amazon and it arrived promptly and was very easy to…pop open. Just need to make sure it’s anchored down very well and try to find one with a removable floor.
Warm showers and what to use
Nothing could be more satisfying than taking a warm or hot shower after you’ve been sweating and smelling funky. But what if the place you’re at doesn’t offer warm showers? What do you do if you’re in a tent or camper with no shower stall? Do you run into the lake or river or across the beach and into the water hoping for a good ol’ rinse? Nah, you buy a portable shower, maybe a black 5-gallon bag that works with gravity, or a propane shower. They also have these rods you can place in a 5-gallon bucket, fully submerged in the water it heats it using electricity, and then you have to figure out how to run it to you, maybe gravity again?
Some people have been using black PVC pipes with pressurized water in them to shower and clean hands, dishes, feet, and more. These are pretty awesome to use but they are long and would be better suited for an off-road vehicle.
So what to use for a shower? Our advice is a 5-gallon jug that’s gravity-fed and painted a matte black for heat absorption to warm up the water fast. You can even use the pop-up privacy tent to shower in. On Amazon, they have 5-gallon shower bags that are already black that you can use. Below are two examples to use, one is tankless with propane to heat water and the other is gravity fed, just fill it with water hang it up and go.
Food, it’s awesome
When it comes to food we can all agree that potato chips and dip or gummy bears and cokes aren’t exactly hot items for the menu when it comes to a good meal. What we did is meal prepped everything for the number of days we were going to be out and when you’re camping, meal preps are good. This method gets most of the work out of the way plus it also ensures good nourishment for camping. Because of raccoons and coyotes, you do have to put your food away and maybe even lock it up because these critters will get into it. Raccoons tried to get into our chest full of food, lucky for us it was locked down. Try to refrain from leaving food in your tent overnight while you sleep, that way you avoid critters coming into your tent and saying hi to you.
Overall it’s a great place to go to and the campground host is very friendly and helps out a great deal. There is always one available should you have any questions.