Texas cradles several beautiful small towns worth exploring. Rockport, which is honored as the second Best Coastal Small Town in the “USA Today” Readers’ Choice Travel Awards is one of them. It is home to less than 10,000 inhabitants who receive the blissful warmth of the sea breeze and the natural bounty of nurturing nature.
Rockport boasts of its clean coastal waters where you can engage in various activities like waterskiing, boating, swimming, fishing, and getting your fill of freshly cooked seafood. It is home to one of the top beaches close to San Antonio, Rockport Beach. Its pristine coastline blessing and pleasant weather are not the only assets of this town because it is home to historic buildings like the Fulton Mansion and Queen Anne-style Hoopes-Smith House.
A Brief History
Many people pondered developing the Live Oak Peninsula after the Civil War. Thomas H. Mathis and his cousin J.M. joined forces with Joseph F. Smith, who had created the nearby town of St. Mary’s in 1850. In 1867, Mathis, who worked as an agent for the Morgan Steamship Company, constructed a wharf at the location of what would eventually become Rockport. The same year, Joseph Smith’s relative Harriet Smith Fulton and Texas heiress George W. Fulton relocated to her sizable estate holdings on the peninsula. Along with building the town of Fulton further up the coast, Fulton was equally interested in the growth of Rockport. In 1870, Rockport was able to formally organize as a town because of the rapid expansion of a fledgling cattle-slaughtering and packing enterprise at the wharf, which got its name from the rock ledge that runs down the shore. Thomas Mathis was chosen by the governor to serve as Rockport’s first mayor. A year after continuing to flourish, the settlement was given “city” status in 1871.
Here are some of the best things to do when you are in Rockport
1. The Big Tree of Rockport
After winning the title of “Texas State Champion Virginia Live Oak” (Quercus virginiana) in 1969, The “Big Tree,” located close to the town of Rockport, Texas, became one of the most well-known live oaks in the entire world. Up until 2003, when a larger oak was found in Brazoria County, Texas, the tree held that distinction. One of the biggest living oak specimens in the United States is still regarded as the “Big Tree.”
The “Big Tree” withstood Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 hurricane that slammed Rockport on August 25, 2017, virtually unharmed despite the extensive, historically significant destruction of the area around it.
2. Fulton Mansion State Historic Site
This renowned mansion was constructed in 1877; it is still standing strong today and is available for visitors to explore. The architecture of the Fulton Manion State Historic Site, a second empire-style edifice built over two centuries ago, is one of the factors contributing to its popularity as a major tourist destination. People who appreciate history, art, and traditional architectural designs will undoubtedly adore this lovely historic home. This house has stunning ocean views, and the surroundings are captivating. Additionally, it is a fantastic location for photos. The furnishings and fittings within the mansion are likewise beautiful. With simply a phone app, you can offer yourself a self-guided tour. It is a fantastic location to teach you or your children about Rockport’s past.
3. Texas Maritime Museum
For those interested in learning about the past of various areas or towns, this place is a little piece of heaven. There are several displays in the Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport, which is a fantastic site to learn about Texas’ navy heritage. This museum covers everything from shipbuilding to oil drilling to pirate gear and history. It also includes a small but interesting outdoor exhibit that is well worth seeing. Visitors can also view all the models and displays from a reasonable distance from the observation deck. The lighthouse, taxonomy fish, gift store, miniature theater, and outdoor exhibitions are all highly recommended by visitors.
4. Watch the Sunset at Copano Bay
Copano Bay is a lovely bay with calm water that is ideal for yacht docking. The restaurant is especially well-known for its delicious meals and garlic bread. The bay is a great area to go fishing because there are lots of large fish there. The most spectacular views and sunsets may be found in Copano Bay. You’ll want to record these moments on video, so don’t forget to pack your cameras. It’s a terrific location to take the whole family or your significant other.
5. Water Sports
Little Bay, an urban cove with a beach, is the perfect location to participate in a variety of water activities that will satiate any thrill seeker. It is a beach park where, according to availability, you can partake in water sports like boating, banana boating, and more. Follow some tips for staying safe when visiting the beaches within the locality and the huge beaches of Texas like the beaches of Port Aransas. At Little Bay, you can swim in the ocean, keep an eye out for crabs, and look for seashells. It is a lovely cove with spectacular views and the ideal setting for a day out with the family. If you’re in Rockport, you must see Little Bay.
6. Rockport’s Vibrant Arts Culture at Estelle Stair Gallery
If you’re interested in art, Rockport is a great destination. The Estelle Stair Gallery should be at the top of everyone’s list of favorite art galleries since it is like a crown diamond tucked away among other treasures.
The gallery is home to a variety of artwork that beautifully depicts the sea, including paintings, photographs, and sculptures. It shows the creations of South Texas artists with pride. Over the years, the gallery has consistently offered top-notch service and only the most exquisite pieces of artwork. The educated staff will be happy to give information about local history to you at any point during your visit if you have any questions regarding the items on display.
7. Queen Anne-style Hoopes-Smith House
The Hoopes-Smith House is a late Victorian Queen Anne Style home built in Rockport, Texas between 1890 and 1892 by James M. Hoopes, a prominent local businessman and land developer (1839-1931). Between 1894 and 1930, the house was used as a boarding house.
In 1989, the house was designated a Texas Historic Landmark, and in 1994, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. the address of the house is 417 N. Broadway in Rockport, Texas, currently used as a bed and breakfast.