Everything You Should Know About Malaquite Campground

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Malaquite Campground in Padre Island National Seashore is one of the most beautifully located campgrounds in the National Park Service! After all, it is located right on the Gulf of Mexico, home to some of the best shorelines in all of Texas. This campground has so much to offer for anyone wanting to camp here. It’s a short walk to the beach, in fact, you can hear the waves crashing at your campsite.

Camping season

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Padre Island National Seashore’s Malaquite Campground is available all year.

Summer is here, the sun is shining, and soon we’ll be camping. But before you go exploring the great outdoors, be sure to prepare in the best way possible. This means packing your camping gear and supplies, of course, but also preparing your car for the journey. As the campground is your home for the weekend, you don’t want to arrive in your car and be left with nowhere to park.

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Type of camping

Malaquite Campground welcomes both tent campers and RV guests. Tent campers have the option of camping in their designated campsite or on Closed Beach, which runs directly in front of the campground. However, due to dense vegetation and sand dunes, it is not possible to walk straight to the beach from the campgrounds. Instead, after parking your car at your campground, you must get your gear to the beach along one of four dunes routes. Anywhere along the beach in front of the campsite is suitable for camping.

The campground is divided by a road that runs the length of it, with campsites on each side. Tent campers will like the big grassy areas on the coastal side of the campground (there are six campsites exclusively for tents). The campsites on the opposite side of the road only have asphalt parking areas, making them more suitable for RVs. However, because all campsites are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, RVers may be able to get ocean-view sites while tent campers may be forced to sleep on the sidewalk.

There is a cul-de-sac at each end of the campsite road, so visitors with large RVs should have no trouble turning around.

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Number of sites

The Malaquite Campground has 48 campsites. Tent campers and RVers can choose between 24 paved sites and 18 ocean-side sites. There are six more tent-only campsites on the ocean side (three at each end of the campground). A campground near the bathroom on the ocean side is dedicated for handicapped people.

Up to eight persons, two tents, and two cars can be accommodated at each campground. The driveways on the paved-site side of the campground are large enough to accommodate two cars side-by-side, so you may unhook your trailer and park your truck next to the camper. A gravel back-in driveway and a roadside parking area are available for the ocean-side plots. On the paved-site side of the road, single-vehicle parking spots are allotted to tent-only sites.

Amenities

Only a parking space and a picnic table are available at the paved campsites. There are no grills available.

A picnic table, a slatted umbrella (which gives some shade but does not keep the rain out), and a grill are available at the ocean-side campsites. A huge grassy space is also available for tent pitching. Because there are no fire pits, only grill fires are permitted. On the beach, campfires are permitted as long as a pit is dug. An above-ground bonfire is impossible to start.

Although there are no power or water hookups, a dump station is located at the campsite entrance. There are contemporary toilets and sinks in the restrooms. Frigid-water showers are available in a separate facility, however I found the water to be more mild than cold (in late October). Cold water showers irritate me, but these were pleasant. Inside, there are lights, but not all of them function. It’s possible that you’ll need to bring your own lamp. At the north end of the campground, there are also outdoor rinse-off showers.

The beach is reached through a boardwalk that runs alongside the bathroom and up and over the sand dunes. Sand trails may also be found at each end of the campground that lead to the beach.

There is ice in the Malaquite Visitor Center, but no additional refreshments are offered at the campsite. You must leave the park and return to Corpus Christi if you want firewood, food, or other basic camping supplies.

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Terrain

I can’t fathom how terrible camping at Malaquite Campsite must be during the summer when there isn’t a single shade tree on Padre Island and half of the campground is black tarmac. It was still warm when I went in late October, but not unbearably so for camping. There is no seclusion between campsites because there are no trees or other plants. The landscape is flat, so you won’t have any problems with uneven ground whether you’re in a tent or an RV.

Reservations

At Malaquite Campground, all campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no bookings allowed.

If your RV is your primary mode of transportation and you don’t have anything to leave behind at your campsite to indicate it as occupied while you go exploring Padre Island National Seashore, wooden OCCUPIED signs are available beside the toilet at the campground host’s campsite.

Fees

Malaquite Campground charges a fee for camping. Payment is made at the entrance’s self-registration pay booth. Find an unoccupied campground first, then return to the pay booth to complete a registration form and pay. Cash, check, or credit/debit card are all acceptable methods of payment. Fill out the form with your credit card details. When you’re finished, take off your receipt and drop your payment envelope into the drop box.

The camping cost is $14 per night (or $7 if you have a Senior or Access Pass) at the time of writing. However, see the National Park Service’s official Malaquite Campground web page for Padre Island National Seashore for the most up-to-date prices.

Campground rules

  • The last check-out time is 12 p.m.
  • Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days. You must leave the park for at least 14 days after 14 days of camping before returning to camp. There is an annual maximum of 28 days.
  • Generators are permitted, but only between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

How to get to Malaquite Campground?

Take Highway 358 east through Corpus Christi – one of the best Texas beach towns. Highway 358 becomes Park Road 22 after crossing the JFK Causeway onto Padre Island. Continue south on Park Road 22 for about 12 miles to the campsite on the left side of the road.

Additional camping options

Bird Island Basin Campground

The Bird Island Basin Campground is within a short distance from the park entrance. This is a rustic camping with breathtaking sunset views! There are no showers or flush toilets here; only the regular chemical toilet. There are RV and tent camping spots available, but no RV utility sites. The quantity of birds I observed in and around this campsite astounded me!

Camping On North Beach, South Beach, And Yarborough Pass

You must pay the park entrance charge and receive a free camping permit before camping on the beach. There are no services provided at this basic campsite. Before leaving the park, make sure to check the beach and weather conditions at the visitor center.

Be warned that even four-wheel-drive cars can become stuck in thick soft sand, so you must be self-sufficient and capable of getting yourself out of a tough position. Keep in mind that cellular phone coverage is difficult to come by on Padre Island National Seashore.

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Items to pack for camping

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Binoculars
  • Field Guides
  • Insect Repellent
  • Portable Fire Pit 
  • Beach Reclining Chair 
  • Sand Tent Stakes
  • Beach Towel That Dries Quickly
  • Kite
  • Beach Toys

Get some ideas about Texas souvenirs and gifts to buy for your friends and family when you come back from Malaquite

Padre Island National Seashore’s Malaquite Campground is one of the most beautifully located campgrounds in the National Park Service. Tent campers have the option of camping in their selected/named campsite or on Closed Beach, which runs directly in front of the campground. Malaquite Campground has 48 campsites and only a parking space and a picnic table are available at the paved campsites.

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