On Mustang Island,
reached by causeway and free 24- hour ferry service; one of the most popular tourist
destinations on the Gulf Coast. English settler built ranch house on site in 1855;
later developed as fishing village. Summer visitors swell population by
thousands. Hotels, motels, resorts, bait and tackle shops, superb open beaches,
shrimp boat port, U.S. Coast Guard Station.
Port Aransas lies along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail which
extends from Brownsville to Orange along the Texas coast. The trail is cosponsored
by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Department of Transportation.
Texas has four of the country's top 12 bird watching sights, and the
Port Aransas - Rockport area is one of the best. Local and migrating birds find the
wetlands a perfect habitat. Vegetation pockets in the center are designed to attract
hummingbirds as they migrate in the spring and fall. A brochure is available from
the Port Aransas Visitor's Center (see below) listing species of birds likely to be
viewed. In addition to bird and plant life, the center is home top
"Boots," a six - foot alligator, who is occasionally seen basking ion the sun.
It's also home to a family of nutria. Open daily. Center is off Cut -
Off Rd. on Ross Avenue.
Advertised as place "where they bite every day," each
season offers variety of species to tempt anglers. Free fishing available from
beaches, south jetty, and Station Street Pier; catches may include redfish, speckled and
sand trout, sheepshead, flounder, croaker, skipjack, and drum. Group boats provide
bay and deep sea fishing; charter cruises available for offshore sport seeking
tarpon, sailfish, marlin, kingfish, mackerel, ling, pompano, bonito, red snapper, warsaw
and others. For boat owners, docking facilities and several free launching ramps.
Series of fishing tournaments span calendar from June to September, including
tarpon, billfish, and surf fishing tourneys.
Historic Inn:Tarpon Inn-
Vintage wooden structure dates from 1886; still popular and now 80%
restored. Famous guests have included Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Duncan Hines
who spent his honeymoon there. Seafood Restaurant; 26 rooms with baths.
Mustang Island State Park-
3474 acres of sand dunes, sea oats and beach morning glory with 5
miles of Gulf beach frontage offering the best of seaside camping, fishing, surfing,
fishing, swimming and shell collecting! Multiuse campsites with hookups plus large
beach area for primitive camping. Other facilities include picnic arbors, restrooms,
showers, dump station, nature trail, and fish cleaning station. Rewarding bird
watching for abundant shore and migratory birds. Fourteen miles south of Port
Aransas on Texas 361; admission.
University of Texas Marine Science Institute-
Laboratory and research facility. Displays include Gulf
marine life, plants, and fascinating introduction to oceanography. Along ship
channel between Mustang and San Jose Islands. Open weekdays 8 a.m. - noon, 1 - 5
For additional information for accommodations, dining, events and
area facilities, stop by the Port Aransas Convention and Visitor's Bureau at 421 West
Cotter, or call 1-800-452-6278.