Rachael Kay Gleason

REPORTER | EDITOR | PRODUCER

Beaches and tubes: First adventures floating the Frio, beach camping in Port Aransas

There's nothing more Texan than floatin' the Frio River during Fourth of July weekend — and getting severely sunburned.

I spent the holiday with friends from West Texas. We tubed the river on Friday for four hours, losing sunglasses, jumping off rope swings, tossing footballs, sharing beers and making friends along the way. I fell asleep at one point — head back, sun shining and cool breeze blowing.

The Frio is a spring-fed river west of San Antonio, and it has the most beautiful scenery: Tall trees, blue-green water and rolling hills in the distance. It was my first real taste of Texas Hill Country.

In late July my boyfriend and I spent the weekend on the beach in Port Aransas, soaking up the sun near Mustang Island State Park and camping at Goose Island State Park.

By August I was ready for a solo trip: Just me, a bottle of whiskey and a campfire. I fell asleep stargazing (on a picnic table) and woke up to a river paradise. I had no choice but to jump in. Freezing at first, the clear water — and wintergreen hues — slowly warmed with the sun. I floated for what felt like forever.