Summertime is almost coming up and it might be time to start planning your vacations.
There are plenty of great spots in the Coastal Bend on the land and on the water.
“It is a lot of fun,” Captain Randy Vela, owner of Baffin Bay Floating Cabins, said.
Located 21 miles off the shore of Bluffs Landing sits Baffin Bay, home to the largest collection of floating cabins in the Coastal Bend.
Vela began his passion a decade ago.
“Started out about 10 years ago, I purchased my first one for just a personal use,” Vela said.
Now he is the owner of Baffin Bay Cabins, renting his floating homes to visitors and even builds some of his own.
“We build them on the land in a marina somewhere and then you tow it out here,” he says.
It comes with all of the amenities.
“We have a solar power system and a generator system and the water is brought in from the city,” Vela said. “ I have water tanks that we bring on the boat and then pump it into here so you have fresh water.”
Visitors hoping to build one of their own will not be able to. The leases are regulated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to prevent overcrowding.
“In 2001, the Texas Legislature decided to go ahead and give us the authority to regulate those … the number and the safety concerns,” said Lt. Bryan Baronet of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Vela said that limited leases are a good thing.
“If you leave it open to just purchase as many as you like, I think it would become very congested,” Vela said. “The cabin permits that are out there if you want to acquire one. You just have to find one that is existing.”
And you can’t just dock anywhere.
“They can’t be located within 500 feet of another cabin,” Vela said. “They cannot be on an oyster reef or blocking a waterway.”
Here at the mouth of Baffin Bay, I’m standing on one of the many floating cabins situated here in the middle of the ocean. These things are such hot commodities that they are going for a steep price.
“I’ve seen one go for right at $100,000 in the past,” he says.
But no matter the price, Vela’s not budging.
“They ask if they’re for sale, obviously,” he said. “But the answer is usually no.”