Port Aransas is a small coastal town near Corpus Christi. Since it is home to miles of beaches and a number of great attractions, this city has become a popular destination among beach dwellers, fishermen, birdwatchers and tourists alike. Simply referred to as “Port A” by locals, Port Aransas is a great escape from the busy areas of South Padre and Corpus Christi. Experience the Texas coast through these eight best things to do in Port Aransas, Texas.
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Soak up the Sun at the Beach
The main attraction that draws people to Port Aransas is the beach. In Port Aransas alone, the beaches stretch for 18 miles. Therefore, a visit to the beach is a must during your time in this coastal city. Build a sand castle, search for seashells, or simply sunbathe near the shore. However if you’re interested in activities like kayaking, jet skiing, and windsurfing, you’ll find rentals and guides here too. Now there are a number of great beach parks to explore that have certain amenities like drinking water and bathrooms. Visit Port Aransas Beach or IB Magee Beach Park, two of the best beaches in Port Aransas.
Port Aransas offers some of the best coastal fishing in the Lone Star State. Simply fish from the bay or beach, or even take a boat out to enjoy offshore fishing. There are plenty of fish species found in the waters near Port Aransas, such as tuna, red snapper, trout, marlin and even shark. One of the most popular fishing spots in the city is at Roberts Point Park. This park is home to a number of events throughout the year, since it has a pavilion and amphitheater. However, every day fishermen head to the park to catch fish from the granite jetties or along the fishing pier. To catch fish in Port Aransas, all fishermen must obtain a fishing license with a saltwater stamp.
Explore Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center
Port Aransas is home to numerous bird species, therefore birdwatching is a popular activity here. Although birds can be found along the beach and in town, one of the best birdwatching spots in the city is at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. No matter what time of year, you’re bound to see many bird species during your trip to this birding center. Some guests have even claimed to have seen up to 100 different bird species in one visit. This 10-acre center is home to a boardwalk and a 25-foot observation tower. However, be sure to check with the City of Port Aransas as the center may be open with limited access due to damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Visit the Port Aransas Museum
Learn about the history of this Texas town at the Port Aransas Museum. Showcasing the town’s early days to now, you’ll definitely leave this museum with a deeper appreciation for Port A. Complete with exhibits, photo galleries and video presentations, the museum tells the story of Port Aransas, which covers the early Karankawas peoples, the wild mustangs and the development of the town itself. A visit to this museum is great during a rainy day in Port Aransas.
Experience Mustang Island State Park
This 18-mile island near Port Aransas is a unique state park perfect for those wanting to birdwatch, fish or enjoy the beach. Visit Mustang Island State Park via ferry or the JFK Causeway. This state park is also a popular spot to camp or picnic too. The five miles of beach are sure to please beach dwellers, while the 600 species of fish are what draws anglers here most months of the year.
Search for Seashells at San Jose Island
San Jose Island is another barrier island near Port Aransas. Spanning 21 miles long, San Jose Island is actually a privately owned oasis. However, part of the island — specifically the beach — is open to the public. Birders will be pleased with the diverse amount of bird species living on the island. San Jose Island also is a top destination for shell collectors, since unique seashells like sand dollars and lightning whelks are typically found on its shore. Access this island via a short ferry ride from Port Aransas.
Visit The University of Texas Marine Science Institute
Learn about the Texas coast and the research done here at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute. This science center is home to seven exhibits that are open to the public. With exhibits on coastal ecosystems along the Texas shoreline to demos on how to preserve coastal wetlands, a visit to The University of Texas Marine Science Institute is sure to be both educational and fun.
Play a Round at Palmilla Beach Golf Club
Enjoy a round of golf in Port Aransas at Palmilla Beach Golf Club. This gorgeous golf course has 18 holes and traverses through native dunes. Since the course is located on the coastline, expect challenges like wind and rolling grassland. However the native elements and challenges were all considered while constructing the course, therefore you’ll find these obstacles to be fun instead of daunting.