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Population: 3,300+Region: Gulf Coast|
Located off Interstate Highway 181 via State 361
Port Aransas - located on Mustang Island - is one of the most popular vacation spots on the Gulf Coast. It can be reached by 24 hour ferry service or via the causeway. Lodging is available as cottages, hotels, motels, rentable condos, and beach houses.
There are numerous restaurants with a variety of cuisines, lots of sea food and night spots. In the downtown section you'll also find art galleries, boutiques and - my favorite - the best candy store for miles around where you can fill up bags of your favorite sweets. There is also a US Cost Guard station located in Port Aransas as well as The University of Texas Marine Science Institute - a working research facility (visitor center for tourists).
With miles and miles of beautiful beaches you'll never be at a loss for something to do. Watch dolphins playing in the channel, go swimming, kayaking, kite-surfing, jet skiing, surfing, para-sailing or beach-combing. Port Aransas also ranks near the top of favorite places to watch birds. The Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureas sponsor a celebration of Whooping Cranes & other birds in February see number below.
For the fisherman, each season offers different varieties of fish. Free fishing is allowed from the beaches and jetties as well as the lighted piers that extend into the Ship Channel. Other piers charge only $1 a day. Catches may be red snapper, shark, redfish, sand and speckled trout, gafftop, croaker, sheepshead, drum and skipjack. There are group boats that provide bay and deep sea fishing. If you are a boat owner, you will also find free launch ramps and docking facilities available. Port Aransas also hosts several fishing tournaments during the calendar year - typically June to September. And the Deep Sea Roundup held in July is the oldest fishing competition on the Gulf Coast.
While in Port Aransas be sure to visit the Mustang Island State Park - 5 miles of beach front offering camping, fishing, swimming, shell collecting and surfing. You will also find multi-use campsites w/hook-ups as well as areas for primitive camping. Amenities include picnic areas, showers, rest rooms, showers and dump station.
The Tarpon Inn - Historic Inn, wooden structure circa 1886 - completely restored. Features signatures of notable visitors including Franklin D. Roosevelt. Has 26 rooms with private baths.
Mustang Island State Park - over 3,000 acres of sea oats, sand dunes along 5 miles of beach frontage. Perfect for seaside camping, fishing, surfing, shell collecting and swimming. Admission Fee. For information: 800-792-1112
University of Texas Marine Science Institute - Visitor Center with aquaria with Gulf marine life and plants. Also has poster displays, exhibits and gift shop. Located along the ship channel between Mustang and San Jose Islands. Open weekdays. For information: 361-749-6806
Port Aransas Visitor Center - open daily (except Sunday). Located in Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce at 403 W. Cotter. For information: 800-452-6278
Birding Information - 361-749-5919
Cities within 50-60 miles:|
San Jose Island
In 1855 an English settler built a house here which later developed into a fishing village. Over the years the continued popularity of the area grew into the Port Aransas of today.
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