Texas isn’t exactly known for its beautiful beaches, but they exist! Introducing Port Aransas, Texas: a small beach town outside of Corpus Christi with white sand and enough charm to keep you coming back year after year.
Where is Port A? Just 3.5 hours south of Houston sits Port Aransas on the Texas Gulf Coast. Accessible by car, in the final stretch of the drive, you can opt for a scenic ferry ride or take a quick detour through Corpus Christi — your choice. It’s far enough away from the city to feel like a quiet beach town, but with enough restaurants and activities to keep you busy for days.
Tell me about the beaches: Port Aransas has miles of coastline. Any spot you choose is bound to be beautiful, the water warm and the sunrises spectacular. My personal favorite is Mustang Island State Park, a 5-mile park with a pristine beach, picnic tables and bathrooms. Because it’s a Texas State Park, there’s a small entrance fee — but this also means it’s cleaner and less crowded than your average beach.
What is there to do? When you want a break from the beach, check out these activities:
- Go fishing: Port A is a renowned fishing spot, with dozens of fishing charters to choose from — private, public, three hours, all day, etc. I recommend Fish Tales led by Captain Jackie, who makes it easy and fun for everyone! We fished off her boat from 4-7 p.m. and caught several fish, which Jackie filleted for us. We were treated to a spectacular sunset on the water and tons of dolphins. Bonus: her boat has a bathroom!
- Watch birds: Bring your binoculars and get ready to be impressed with the huge variety of birds who call Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center their home. This 700-foot boardwalk with an elevated lookout point offers plenty of open space to watch, take photos and enjoy the beautiful views. I’m not a bird aficionado, but it was neat to see dozens of different birds all in one place.
- Ride horses: A 30-minute drive from Port A is Horses on the Beach, where you’ll be matched up with a gorgeous horse for a memorable stroll along the coastline. Pay a few dollars extra and you’ll go home with a professional photo of the experience.
- Walk trails: Whether you head over to Community Park, Charlie’s Pasture or stick to the beach, there’s plenty of walking spots.
Where to eat? There are many restaurants in Port Aransas, but expect to eat a lot of local seafood and a wait on the weekends. Several restaurants will also cook the fish you catch. These were my favorite spots:
- Tortuga’s Saltwater Grill: One of the nicer seafood restaurants in town. We got gulf shrimp and crab-crusted local fish — both were delicious!
- Fin’s Grill and Icehouse: Burgers and gulf fish are their specialties. I had the fish tacos and they were outstanding! This is one of the few restaurants on the water in Port A, overlooking a marina.
- Surfside Sandwich Shoppe: Sandwiches are the perfect beach meal! Grab one here and then head to Mustang Island State Park, which is just a couple minutes away.
- Coffee: Coffee Waves has a drive-thru or swing and sip on Barefoot Beans‘ tiki-themed patio.
In the comments: Have a question about Port Aransas? Ask away and I’ll find you an answer. Or, tell me about your favorite Texas beach. And if you’ve been to Port Aransas, what was your favorite restaurant or activity?