Matagorda Beach can be a tough place to drive due to the soft sugar sand we have. The beach conditions change every day, so one day the driving conditions are good and cars can get miles down the beach. The next day the sand is soft and those same cars don’t make it more than 10 feet off the pavement. If you are planning to drive on the beach, these tips should help you.
- Carry plenty of water. If you do get stuck way down beach, it could be a while before you are rescued. Make sure you are prepared.
- Carry a shovel if possible. If you have 4x4 and a shovel, you can get out of almost anything on the beach.
- Most vehicles will handle the sand better if you disable the traction control on your vehicle. There is usually a button on the dash that will do this.
- Let some air out of your tires. When the conditions are soft, we air our tires down to 20PSI. This will make the ride better and you will float on the sand rather than dig into it. Beware of running lower pressures unless you are experienced as your tire can come off the rim. Stanley’s has an air compressor you can use to air back up once off the beach.
- Keep your vehicle moving in the soft sand. If you do get into something too deep and you feel like you are bogging down and losing momentum, then stop. Do not continue to hit the gas once you have lost momentum. This will only bury your vehicle to the frame and guarantee that you need that shovel mentioned above. If you have not let your tire pressure down, this is a good time to do it. Sometimes lowering the air pressure in your tires and shoveling a little sand out of the way is all you need to do to get unstuck.
- Know the tides. Just because you are able to drive down beach on hard packed sand does not mean you can come back that way. When the tide comes up, often the soft high road on the beach is the only way back and only 4x4s will be able to push through it.
- If you follow a trail over the dunes, beware of the mud. Some of the mud on the backside of the beach is very thick and you will not escape without calling a tow truck. If you have to call a tow truck to a back area of the beach, plan to spend in excess of $500 to be rescued. Check the emergency info page for tow truck contact information.
- It is ok to run a little fast on the beach in areas where nobody is around, but when passing people parked on the beach, slow down! Many people have dogs and kids that can run out in front of you. If you hit someone’s kid or dog doing 40mph down the beach, plan to go straight to jail.
Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy your next trip to Matagorda. The last thing I will mention is don’t be an idiot. If you get stuck or have a problem on the beach while acting like a fool and doing donuts up and down the beach or speeding by parked cars and groups, no local is going to help you. If you get stuck while acting like an adult, chances are someone on the beach will give you a hand and save you the towing fee.