Park Preview-Galveston Island Beach Pocket Park #2

11745 San Luis Pass Road
Galveston, Texas 77554
409-797-5102 or 888-425-4753 ext 102
http://www.galvestonbeachinfo.com/pocket_parks.asp

The Scoop

While it doesn't have the most glamorous name, this beach pocket park more than served its purpose for our short day-trip. Located on the west end of Galveston Island, Pocket Park #2 is a short distance from some of the island's main attractions, but quiet enough to feel like an escape from all of the hustle and bustle. Its ammenties include restrooms, outdoor rinse-off showers and chair and umbrella rentals.

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What We Loved

This was our first time on the beach in a few years and while it may not be the most beautiful of beaches (a person can get slightly spoiled after living in Hawaii for a few years), there is something very humbling about standing at the water's edge and looking out at water and sky as far as your eyes can see. It was a clean, relaxing place to spend a few hours with young kiddos. 

Promising restroom and shower facilities...too bad they were closed. 

Promising restroom and shower facilities...too bad they were closed. 

What We'd Like to See Instead

When we arrived, there was no attendant at the park entrance. Usually, there is a parking fee and we were happy to hang onto our few dollars, but a lack of staff meant amenities were limited. We didn't realize the restrooms were locked until we were getting ready to leave and needed a place to change and take care of business. Restrooms are key with little ones in tow. If we were to visit again, we'd make sure the restrooms were open before getting settled. There are numerous stops along the shore, so we'll probably explore other parts of the island rather than make a repeat trip to this location. 

Campsite of the Month-Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area

2820 Co Rd 414
Spicewood, TX 78669
512-473-3366
http://www.lcra.org/parks/recreation-areas/Pages/muleshoe-bend.aspx

The Scoop
 

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area is an LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) park located on Lake Travis. It is best known for its mountain biking trails, but boating, camping, horseback riding, swimming and fishing are popular actives within in the park as well. All camping (including RV sites) in this park is primitive. There are composting toilets within walking distance of all campsites. Flush toilets, potable water and outdoor showers are located at the entrance to the park. 

View of lake travis from our camsite

View of lake travis from our camsite

What We Loved

We were amazed at the size of the campsites here. There was enough room for our tent, a picnic table, fire ring, and BBQ pit. Our dogs were staked onto 30-foot tethers without any obstacles in their way and the boys rode their bikes all around our set-up without even going near our camp neighbors. We were grateful for all of the space and loved our unobstructed view of the lake. The bike trails were fun and scenic. They were a little technical for our young riders, but we enjoyed exploring them anyway!

best patch of bluebonnets in the park

best patch of bluebonnets in the park

What We'd Like to See Instead

We have been spoiled by great campsites with lots of trees and while the sites here were spacious, they were not very private. Plenty of trees did provide shade, but no real "living fence" between camp neighbors. Our other minor disappointment was the bluebonnets. After seeing some gorgeous photography of Muleshoe's 2015 bloom, we'd hoped for a thick, lush field. Fortunately, the Texas drought is a distant memory and the entire field is back underwater.  We did still get some great pictures along the shoreline. Muleshoe is a wonderful park and we'll definitely be back!

Camping With Dogs

Last weekend was a first for the LIN Crew-we took our dogs camping with us....

For many people, sharing their experiences in the great outdoors with their pets is a calm and relaxing experience, but when one dog's standard MO during thunderstorms is to gnaw on door frames (we've had to replace three) and the other tucks his tail and runs when someone sneezes, you swallow your outdoorsy pride (and a couple hundred bucks) and drop the pups off at the doggie hotel.  So, when Curby suggested that we bring the dogs with us for this trip, I was a little nervous but knowing we'd put it off long enough, I didn't object.  We packed the car and headed out-two adults, two kids, two dogs.    

The dogs' view of Lake Travis from our campsite.

The dogs' view of Lake Travis from our campsite.


Our wonderful dogs' lovely list of personality traits and accomplishments:

~Failed obedience school

~Won't poop on a leash

~Afraid of manholes and storm drains

~Been in a dog fight

~Jumps fences better than most fleeing criminals

~Unfazed by shock collars

~Escapes electric fences

~Digs up gardens and shrubs


The four-hour drive was pretty non-eventful.  Aside from the random barking at people on motorcycles or walking along the street, the dogs were pretty quiet, sleeping most of the trip.  When we arrived at our campsite we knew we'd made a good decision to bring them with us. The sites were spacious, shady and set back about 25 yards from the road.  We staked the dogs to the ground on a 30 ft chain, began to unload and set up camp. It wasn't long before "the barking" began.  Zilla (yes, like Godzilla, a name we'd chosen before even bringing her home) barks at leaves blowing in the wind, so we knew that keeping her quiet was going to be an issue. While there was a lot of space between campsites, you could still easily see people (and other dogs) moving around and Zilla was determined to let everyone know that we'd arrived. And so began the weekend-long chorus of "Quiet, Zilla. No, Zilla. Zilla, hush. Zilla, that's enough." It wasn't long before the boys were shushing her so much that we had to tell THEM to keep their voices down!

Saturday morning started off a little rough when an un-leashed dog on his morning walk, decided to come and check us out. We're still a little apprehensive when unknown pups approach Zilla since she was attacked and bitten pretty badly about a year ago. Thankfully, the situation was under control quickly and the owner was very apologetic. Plus, I couldn't help laughing at the dog's name, Ricky Bobby! The rest of the weekend went, surprisingly well.  The dogs enjoyed morning walks along the lake, sniffed the bluebonnets, and joined us on a couple of bike rides.  Since they were so active during the day, I noted to Curby late in our second day that the dogs hadn't napped at all, they slept soundly at night. 

On the Mountain bike trail

On the Mountain bike trail

zilla walking along the lake, looking for something to bark at

zilla walking along the lake, looking for something to bark at

Texas BLuebonnets!

Texas BLuebonnets!

Astor cooling off-This was about as far in as he would go, though! 

Astor cooling off-This was about as far in as he would go, though! 

We decided to have the pups sleep in the garage attachment of our Kingdom 6 tent. Staking them on their leashes kept them in the garage with all barking targets out of sight.  They were close enough to us to sense our presence (read: didn't howl all night) and we didn't have to worry about restless pups waking up sleeping kids or long doggie nails tearing holes into the tent.  

All in all, I must say that our experience was positive.  We had no major mis-haps, saved a bit of cash and everyone enjoyed having our furry family members with us.  We'll definitely bring them along again! 

 

Park Preview-Matheson Park

1240 Ulrich Road
Tomball, Texas 77375
281-290-1400
http://www.ci.tomball.tx.us/index.aspx?NID=340

jerry matheson park-view from parking lot

jerry matheson park-view from parking lot

The Scoop

Commonly referred to as "Tire Park," Jerry Matheson park is a small, 10-acre park located in Tomball, Texas but don't be fooled by its small size.  This little spot boasts an AMAZING playground, picnic pavilion, baseball field, lighted tennis courts and swimming pool.  

One of two firefighter poles!

One of two firefighter poles!

What We Loved

We fell in love with this park immediately.  The zip lines, TWO fireman poles, and ladder hidden in a rocket ship were enough for the boys to want to stay at this park all day.  From the looks of it (won't open for the season until May), the swimming pool is well maintained and spacious. The baseball field looks like the perfect place to take the kiddos on a Sunday afternoon for a game of catch. 

rocket ship ladder and climbing wall

rocket ship ladder and climbing wall

What We'd Like to See Instead

The park was in definite need of a fresh layer of mulch.  It had rained the day before so there were some spots near the rope swings/zip lines that were a little muddy. It didn't put a damper our trip at all, but one of the boys did have a fall that resulted in a pretty dirty backside!    

view from back corner of playground

view from back corner of playground


Swimming pool

Swimming pool


Ball Field

Ball Field