Goose Island State Park is a beautiful park about 5 miles up the coast from Rockport. There is plenty of paddling in this area with two bays on either side of the park-San Antonio Bay and Copano Bay. The park doesn't have a beach to launch from, however it has a nice boat ramp. The bays are protected from the ocean waves by the string of offshore islands that protect most of the coast, so it's almost like paddling a lake.
After surviving the 32mph winds (gusts to 52mph) and 5 1/2" of rain early Sat morning (data from the park ranger), I headed out to circumnavigate Goose Island and explore a string of islands off the east end of the island. I launched from the Park�s boat ramp and paddled east to some shell islands about a 1/2 mile off the fishing pier into San Antonio Bay. The weather heated up to 76 that afternoon with little to no breeze, so the water was real calm. On the last island, I was able to get within a boat�s length of a large group of snow geese. I�ve seen them flying over, but never up close-they are really beautiful birds.
On the way around the south part of the island, I decided to paddle out to an old oil platform about a mile offshore. The water was still calm so the trip out was okay; however, the wind picked up on the way back and the swells made it a little scary, but well worth the trip out there.
On the north side of the island there is a series of canals into a housing addition. I paddled in there admiring the beautiful homes and power boats and wishing I had that kind of money! I had trouble finding the channel through the oyster reefs leading up to the fishing pier, so I paddled back into the housing area and pulled out at a nice lady�s house and walked the 50 yards to my truck. Later that evening as the tide went out, I saw the "s" -shaped path through the reefs-it�s not like the map shows! The entire trip lasted 4 hours.
Having several hours of daylight left, I wanted to do some exploring of the area, so I went to check out the nearest tourist attraction. Near the state park is the Big Tree, an oak tree estimated at over 1000 years old. Since there was plenty of daylight left, I launched from there and paddled back to the state park. Along the way, there are a series of wood and wire boxes about 50 yards offshore full of dead branches and many fishing piers that are privately owned. I saw a few birds-egrets and blue herons and some pelicans. I found out later that the boxes are for birds to nest in. I left my boat at the boat ramp and hiked back to the truck-about 2 miles. Both these are easy, beautiful paddles with some bird sightings and great scenery.
On Sunday morning, I went to paddle Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, but once there, I found out that you can�t launch nor land on the Refuge, so I spent the morning hiking and driving around the Reserve. I got to see a pair of whooping cranes through the telescope-sure would like to have seen them up close. On the way back to camp, I launched from the boat ramp at Tx 35 and paddled Cavasos Creek into a finger of San Antonio Bay. The Creek forms a channel through the marsh and grasses as it winds down into the bay and is really peaceful-I didn�t see another person nor animal the whole 2 hours I was out there. There was a little current and no wind, so both the bay and the return trip up the creek were very easy.
Goose Island State Park has many RV and tent sites and there are numerous hotels in Rockport, about 5 miles away.
There is a $2 entry fee/person/day into the park.
To get to Goose Island State Park take Hiway 77 south out of Victoria. Turn left on Tx 239 and right on Tx 35. You'll see the signs for the park. Park road 13 goes into a residential area-turn right at the stop sign to get into the state park. The paddling is around the bay and the island.
Cavasos Creek crosses Tx 35 near the Aransas Pass National Wildlife Refuge. The boat ramp is on the south side of the road.
The Photomap chart or a fishing chart will show all the channels, islands and water depths.