Port Aransas is the sole settlement on the 18-mile long Mustang Island, a four-hour journey from Austin. Because of the myriad of amazing things to do in Port Aransas, it’s known as the crown jewel of vacation sites along the 367 miles of Texas coastline for over a century.
“Port A” has traditionally been a popular summer destination for visitors looking for a mix of superb seafood restaurants, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions such as boutique stores, cafes, and art galleries, thanks to its pleasant year-round weather. Want to know what to do and where to go when visiting the beaches of Port Aransas? Continue reading to find out.
Order Some Seafood
You don’t need to fish to eat some of the best seafood in the world while visiting Port Aransas. The renowned lobster tostada at Black Marlin Bar & Grill and the wahoo or Mahi-filled handmade tortillas at Irie’s Island Food are two examples of the island’s excellent Tex-Mex cuisine. (mango salsa and a sweet-and-spicy slaw are also included.)
Stay at a Seaside Resort
The Port Royal Ocean Resort is a 25-acre property with 210 beachfront condos and various activities to get tourists on island time. Guests can relax on the beach (accessible by a private boardwalk), swim in the lagoon pools, and work up a sweat playing golf or tennis.
Enter a Fishing Tournament
It’s no surprise that the “Fishing Capital of Texas” hosts tournaments for all skill levels practically every weekend throughout the summer months. There are various offshore excursions to explore, including fishing the back bays and channels, for those who prefer a more leisurely fishing experience.
During the summer, consider going to the Deep Sea Roundup, a family-friendly saltwater fishing contest on the Gulf Coast, the oldest of its kind.
Go Birding Watching
Port Aransas is home to hundreds of bird species, with thousands flocking there each year due to its excellent location along the Central Flyway (a significant migratory bird route). The island is home to six sites on the Great Texas Birding Trail, making it simple for ornithologists to appreciate the plethora of birds in the area.
Make a point of visiting the Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond and the Port Aransas Wetlands Park. Just remember to bring your binoculars!
Experience Deep-sea Fishing
As you explore the port area immediately off Cotter Street, you’ll find lots of options for everything from tarpon to tuna.
Professional outfitters are waiting to deliver the best deep-sea fishing on the Texas coast. Once you’re on board, you’ll get a taste of the open sea and, with luck, the catch of the day. Fin’s Grill and Icehouse, located next to Deep Sea Headquarters, will make you feel right at home by cleaning and cooking your catch for you.
After you’ve finished, unwind on their open-air patio with a cool beer while professional chefs cook the fresh food you caught yourself.
Check out Texas SandFest
The world-famous Texas SandFest is an extravagant sandcastle-building competition held each spring in Port Aransas and is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Enjoy the festival on the pristine sands of the beaches named “Top United States Family Beach” in 2019!
Are you unable to attend the festival because you are not in town at the time? No worries: making your own sandcastle should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Port Aransas.
Rent a Jet Ski
When you go on a jet ski for a day on the water, you’ll be greeted by the sun, water, wind, and waves. Both Port A H20 in Port Aransas or Nauticool in nearby North Padre rent jet skis for the day. For availability, bookings, and pricing, call ahead.
Try Out Parasailing
Soar 200 to 300 feet high above the ocean, sitting in a parasail.
In the Lydia Ann channel and the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll witness breathtaking ocean vistas and even dolphins swimming just beneath your feet once you’re in the air.
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Have you ever envisioned yourself riding a horse through the ocean waves?
Horses on the Beach, a family-friendly ranch located just south of Port Aransas on State Highway 361 and a couple of miles south on Park Road 22, offers daily guided horseback rides in the warm Gulf of Mexico’s sand and surf.
One of their professional photographers will shoot your photo when you’re in the middle of a splash! Riders aged eight and up are welcome.
Meet Dolphins and Pirates
A trip to Port Aransas isn’t complete without a swim with wild dolphins in the open sea. Your holiday will earn an ” A ” from the kids when you add in the thrill of “actual” pirates.
Step upon the Lydia Ann or The Red Dragon’s twin decks, replicas of 17th-century pirate ships, and get ready to defend your loot from enemy pirates while dolphins join you on your adventure! Both ships are equipped with everything you’ll need for a few hours at sea, including contemporary GPS and Coast Guard-mandated safety equipment.
Keep your valuables safe from getting wet by placing them in a neoprene bag, which is made with water-resistant materials, perfect for meeting dolphins out in the open without worries.