This year's Christmas vacation started with a short overnight stop to check out a new lake house and campground on Lake Bob Sandlin before heading to our Dallas daughter's house to celebrate Christmas and then head south to some warm winter weather.
First stop was Barefoot Bay Marina located on the shoreline of Lake Bob Sandlin just outside of Pittsburg and it's home to an RV park, cabins, a lake house, marina, and sports bar. A number of the full hook-up RV sites are less than 75 yards from the lake, the cabins are small but perfect for a couple or small family and their back porch overlooks a cove and the marina, and the 4 bedroom lake house is fully furnished and sits on a bluff about 100 yards from the lake. The sports bar is great with a pool, shuffleboard, sand volleyball, washers, food, and live music on the weekends. Read our review of Barefoot Bay Marina to learn more.
The highlight of the visit to Barefoot Bay Marina was an excellent dinner in a unique vineyard with some excellent award winning wine at Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Our food was great but I really enjoyed the "sweet tasting block" which was a sample of 6 of the vineyards sweet red and white wines. Some of the wine descriptions included: wild floral aromas and racy fruit flavors; a real Texas sweet treat with wild berries and cotton candy throughout; and a French style sweet white with a refreshing Texas twist of fresh fruit! Wow that was good and Mrs.Texas Outside had to drive home.
With a fuzzy head we (ok, I was the only one with the big head) headed to Dallas for Christmas. I won't bore you with the Christmas details except to say:
The day after Christmas we packed our bags, headed home to Georgetown, unpacked, and repacked to head south for a couple weeks to meet up with our daughters family for a few days in South Padre Island to escape the cold weather.
We stayed at South Padre Island KOA and had an RV site and a two bedroom cabin with a loft rented. The campground is in a perfect location sitting on Laguna Madre Bay and within walking distance to the beach, restaurants, and Schlitterbahn. Plus they have lots of amenities - rec room, ping pong, pool, playground, hot tub, and more. Read our review of South Padre Island KOA to find out why it is on our list of the Best Campgrounds in Texas.
Turns out that for the week we were in South Padre we had one and a half semi-warm days with no rain - the rest of the time it was in the 40s, windy, and rainy. We had to cancel riding horses and ATVs on the beach, parasailing, a round of golf, a dolphin tour, and lots of bike riding. However we did:
After the first couple days of cold weather and several hours in the motor home, I decided we needed to search for the best margarita and since we only had 4 days left we narrowed our search to find the best "beach bar margarita." Turns out that South Padre Island has lots of fun beach bars and that it's also hard to just have one margarita at each beach bar! I lost track of how many we visited after 9!
The winner was the margaritas at Clayton's, the "biggest beach bar in Texas!" The loser was me - gained 15 pounds, went into debt, and downed a lot of aspirin.
Our daughter and her family left for home and we headed a few miles north to the Rio Grande Valley in hope of finding some sun and warm weather and spending time outside the camper - nope! More rain, temps in the 40s, and windy. To get out of the camper we ate out a lot, went to a movie, and visited two museums.
We stayed at Llano Grande RV Resort & Country Club in Mercedes for 3 days, most of which were cold and windy. This RV park is huge with over 400 sites and it's a very popular Winter Texans park because of all of the amenities and activities (poker, golf, woodworking, pot lucks, dances, etc). When it was cold we found the fitness center, played some pool, and sat in the hot tub in the rain! Read our review of Llano Grande RV Resort.
When the sun came out one day, we immediately grabbed the clubs and got in 18 holes at Llano Grande Golf Course followed by a bike ride around the campground. We weren't expecting much but the course was fun, in pretty good condition, and even had an island green! Here is a link to our review of Llano Grande Golf Course.
After three days in Mercedes we moved a few miles up the valley in search of the sun. We pulled into Canyon Lake RV Resort in the rain, but it was a tad warmer so we hiked around their lake, played a game of pool, and then went to another movie. Cold and rainy the next day so we went to the International Museum of Art & Science and the Museum of South Texas History - another first during a vacation. The links will take you to our review of the museums.
The next morning we awoke to blue sky and rushed to Shary Municipal Golf Course and got in 18 holes before it started raining again - just as we were putting on the 18th green! Click on this link to read our review of Shary Municipal Golf Course.
With the windshield wipers working overtime, we drove to Laredo in hopes for a sunny day to play golf. Couldn't believe it but when we got to Casa Blanca International State Park and it was warm enough to get the bikes off the bike rack, spray off the mud, and wipe down the seats and head out to ride one of the trails. The bikes were all smiles and if they could talk they would have been screaming for joy! Then it started drizzling and getting cold so it was back to the bike rack and the bikes weren't that happy about it! We did have a good authentic Mexican dinner in a cute house - Las Kakis.
The next morning the sun was out and we immediately booked a tee time at Casa Blanca Golf Course which has a pretty good layout but the conditions were horrible thanks to a broken irrigation system, some neglect due to lack of funds, and horrible weather over the past year. But it was fun getting out of the camper and seeing the sun.
Casa Blanca International State Park is huge and has primitive, full hook-up, and water/electric sites all of which are spacious and most have a view of the lake. The Park is located in town and close to everything that Laredo has to offer and Casa Blanca Golf Course is across the street. They also have lots of amenities some of which include: swimming beach, boat ramp, volleyball, baseball field, tennis courts, and playgrounds.
The reason we came to Laredo was to play the Max (review of the Max) which is the newest golf course in Texas and was rated as the Best New Course and Best Municipal Course in the US. Loved it - great layout, challenging but fair, memorable holes, excellent conditions, and the sun was out all day, little to no wind, and temps in the 70s. Hard to beat all of that and a perfect end to a cold but fun Christmas and New Years vacation.