Light Displays on the San Antonio Riverwalk and Christmas at Padre Island National Seashore

After leaving Las Cruces we headed south(east) for some rest and relaxation on the beaches of Padre Island where the daytime temperatures were in the 70s and night times a balmy 55. En route however we broke up the diving with a stop near San Antonio, which Tom informed me had a lovely promenade along the river. Looking it up online I discovered that this time of year the Riverwalk was lit up with Christmas lights and so we decided to time our visit for the evening. As it would happen we were there Christmas Eve which was a delightful way to spend the holiday. There were a lot of people milling about, eating at the sidewalk restaurants, milling about, and gawking at the light displays but everyone was in such a joyful, relaxed mood that it was a completely enjoyable experience, even for us crowd-avoiders.

The light displays were all really beautiful – tasteful rather than all-out gawky – but what I was impressed with was the architectural design and the detail work put into the bridges, each of which were each unique. It was definitely a pretty neat experience and totally different from what I expected. It also scratched my Christmas itch and indulged my desire to be immersed in a festive atmosphere.

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Christmas morning we finished our drive to Padre Island where we set up camp just behind the dunes, well within earshot of the crashing surf. We then spent the next 3 1/2 days taking walks on the beach, reading books, and enjoying happy hour beer. Christmas turned out to be the warmest and sunniest day and I’m glad I took advantage of it by getting into the water. I tried to entice Abby, but she’s just not a swimmer and prefers activities such as chasing and herding. The next few days were cloudy at best but offered some very comfortable conditions for walking; the pockets of sunshine and heat here and there were fully appreciated too. We even had an afternoon of rain, but we took advantage of that by going to town to sample some delicious beer at the Lorelei Brewing Company.

Despite the foggy days I was able to capture some lovely sunrises the two mornings following our arrival but the last morning had an incredibly dense cloud layer over the horizon that blocked the sun. The mist cover did however provide me with an opportunity to sneak up on and photograph 3 deer in the pre-dawn. Weather aside, the few days we spent on the beach were really just wonderful – a perfect mix between miles of beach walks, playing with Abby, and lazy hours of reading and lounging. For me, the days of quiet, peace, and listening to the waves truly nourished my soul, allowing me to spend some uninterrupted time journaling and continuing to mull over some end-of-year thoughts.

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