Port Aransas Texas’s best coastal secret
Discover “island time,” the laid back lifestyle on Port Aransas. Located about 200 miles southwest of Houston on the northern-most tip of Mustang Island, Port Aransas is the perfect place for a peaceful family beach getaway.
As we explored the island, we could not help comparing Port Aransas to other Texas coastal cities. It was quieter than Galveston, more family-oriented than Padre Island. Traffic was lighter than either one because everything is within walking distance; the island at its widest point is two miles across. Many of the islanders seemed to prefer walking, riding bicycles or hopping on Port Aransas’ trolley which taxis people around town for 25 cents. Because there are no crowds, cars are allowed on the beach; we didn’t have to tote our ice chest or chairs. The beaches are clean, and unlike Galveston’s, lead to crystal blue water.
There are plenty of hotels, condos and bed and breakfasts available, many with beach views. We stayed at the Tarpon Inn. Named after the large species of fish inhabiting the waters near the island, the Tarpon Inn is a favorite among fisherman. The walls are decorated with what appeared to be iridescent shells. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that these “shells” were actually tarpon scales that have been autographed by the fishermen who caught the great fish. One was autographed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who caught one of the large fish in the area waters. Many famous personalities have visited the area throughout the years. The rooms feature antique furnishings and long, covered porches. Balconies are equipped with ceiling fans and rocking chairs and surround the building; perfect settings for a romantic getaway.
There is no shortage of entertainment. Wildlife enthusiasts enjoy dozens of locations where they observe more than 100 species of migratory birds. Beaches, piers and jetties offer great fishing, along with many guide services for offshore adventures. Parks, golf courses and shops kept us busy through the day; we mingled with locals and enjoyed live music in the evenings at some of the restaurants and bars. However, the beach is the headliner here. Views are breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. Depending on the day, there are activities like yoga on the beach, community beach walks, and much more.
Port Aransas is laid back, but don’t think for a minute that it isn’t growing. There are many new developments in the works including new, upscale housing subdivisions with ocean views and a market street community similar to The Woodlands’. In addition, there are plans for a new golf course, boardwalk and nature preserve. If visitors or residents miss the buzz of the city, Corpus Christi is just 30 minutes away.
Port Aransas provides a little taste of paradise without straying too far from home. The most difficult part was getting back to real time from island time. But lucky for Houstonians, island time is just a short drive away.
Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce
The Tarpon Inn