With gas prices high and summer right around the corner you might be looking for an affordable place to take the family for a fun vacation. Maybe you should consider a short road trip. When I say short road trip, I mean approximately 4 hours from Austin, San Antonio or Houston, Texas. That’s right! For less than two tanks of gas you can take your family for a fun filled holiday to Port Aransas, Texas (Port A). Port Aransas is located on Mustang Island and is about 30 miles east of Corpus Christi. It is connected by a 6 mile long causeway bridge. Coming from the east, it is about 20 miles south of Rockport and accessible by a short free ferry ride. For those of you who live too far away to drive, consider flying into the Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP) only 35 minutes away.
Port Aransas is a very small beach community of about 3,900 residents and covers about 12 square miles, 3.3 square miles of that covered by water. Years ago it was highly rated as the best place for Tarpon fishing. In fact, the town used to be called Tarpon, Texas. In 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt traveled here to see if he could catch one for himself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idMSHeZWEAs
Roosevelt was successful trip and his catch is documented by an autographed Tarpon scale currently on display in the lobby of The Tarpon Inn. The Tarpon industry dried up some time in the 1950”s; however, fishing in general continues to be a favorite sport on the island. Anglers are known to call Port A the “Fishing Capital of Texas.” So if fishing is on your list of things to do this summer, whether it be surf fishing, deep sea fishing or fishing from one of four public, lighted piers, this is the place for you.
If you’re not into fishing, that’s okay. Port Aransas has an abundance of other activities available for all ages. Bird enthusiasts can catch a free guided birding tour every Wednesday 9:00 AM at the LeonabelleTurnbullBirdingCenter. If the kids want to learn to surf, Quiksilver & Roxy offers weekly and daily summer surf camps, June – August. If you’re into water sports or parasailing, head to the marina and visit Jet Ski Rental or Port A Parasail, and enjoy one or both of these two fun filled family activities.
Are you one of those vacationers that believe a vacation is not a vacation without a round of golf? Well, you’re in luck. Port Aransas is home of Newport Dunes Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer signature golf course which was ranked #2 in best high-end golf courses in the state of Texas and #2 in the United States by the National Golf Foundation in 2012. So grab your golf clubs and hit the greens. But if relaxing is the only thing on your “TO DO LIST” spend the day soaking up the sun or bike riding on one of the largest beaches on the Gulf Coast.
Consider ending your day with a Sunset Cruise – Dolphin Watch. It is always a crowd pleaser and a nice way to wind down. The whole family can enjoy this trip. And don’t forget to bring your camera because Port Aransas dolphin’s love to show off.
Accommodations in this little town are plentiful. You can find whatever type, size, or style lodging you prefer from camping in a tent on the beach or in an RV, to renting a condominium, hotel, motel, or single family home. The choice is yours. The same goes for dining and whatever your budget allows, from casual to upscale. Breakfast, lunch or dinner – there is plenty to choose from.
Coffee Waves located on Hwy 361 in Port A’s answer to Starbuck’s. The barista’s know their coffee and can whip up a “mean” café latte! The atmosphere is relating and Wi-Fi is available.
For lunch, if you are interested in something besides the newly built Whataburger or Subway, check out a local favorite, Liberty Hall – Inferno, located on the corner of E. Cotter and N. Alister. It is owned and operated by Chef Guy Carnathan. His menu offers a wide variety of delicious burgers and sandwiches from Mississippi pulled pork to sushi grade tuna burgers. Keep in mind when planning your visit – they are open Tues-Sun 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM.
If you enjoyed a delicious lunch at Inferno, then you don’t want to miss a fine dining experience at Guy’s dinner restaurant, The Pelican Club, which is located on the harbor. It operates a full bar and fine wines are available. The dinner menu offers a variety of choices including steak, specialty meats, seafood and sushi. In addition, there is a menu change daily, depending on the available fresh catch of the day. So if you’re in the mood to treat the family, The Pelican Club is an excellent choice.
Other local dinner options include Café Phoenix which serves Mediterranean food, prefers reservations (bring your own wine) or Venetian Hot Plate which serves delicious Italian cuisine. Both are located on Beach Ave. Or you might visit Lisabella’s Bistro, located in Cinnamon Shore off 361. They are open for dinner Tuesday-Saturday 5:00 PM.
To satisfy your shopping needs be sure and stop in at Gratitude located at 316 N Station St. where you’ll find “Accessories with Attitude” and be sure and tell Sally I said hello.
So that’s a wrap. If you consider making Port Aransas a potential summer vacation spot or plan to travel there any other time of year, I promise you won’t be disappointed. But don’t wait too long. The secrets out!