Texas Gulf Coast
June 11, 2013 11:18 AM   Subscribe

What are some of your favorite things to do in Port Aransas, TX? Some friends and I have a house-share over 4th of July weekend and we were wondering what all there is to do there, good places to eat, stuff to see. Most of us have never been there (imagine that, most of us being Texans). We will all be traveling from Austin. Thanks in advance for your recommendations.
posted by ATX Peanut to Travel & Transportation around Port Aransas, TX (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about Port Aransas specifically, but you could go see the Lexington in nearby Corpus Christi. It's really impressive. Maybe they'd even have something special going because of Independence Day weekend.

That's the one suggestion I can make from personal experience, but Corpus Christi is close, so there may be other things to do there, too.
posted by KinoAndHermes at 1:07 PM on June 11, 2013

You've got a pretty good shot at seeing a Sea Turtle Release during that time.
posted by IanMorr at 1:54 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Marine Science Institute is awesome.

Sleeping on the beach is awesome.

I can't do seafood, but they have a lot of seafood restaurants.

I don't do a lot of touristy stuff but I have been there a couple of times.

I haven't been to it, but there is a little gallery. I liked the pedestrian-friendly small town vibe. And the beaches.

Did I mention they have great beaches? With fantastic weather?
posted by Michele in California at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2013

The wildlife refuge there is fantastic if you're into naturey things.
posted by colin_l at 6:26 PM on June 11, 2013

Skip the paid dolphin boat tours. You can sit on the wall at Roberts Point park and see them for free. They love to play in the wake of the cargo ships and ferries.

There is a trolley that goes all around town. You can use it to get the lay of the land and then go back to places that seemed interesting. The drivers are good guides to what's neat.

There's a local newspaper/events calendar thing that they have for free in the grocery store and at the visitor's center. It will tell you what events are happening and it lists all the restaurants and attractions.
posted by erloteiel at 7:11 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Paddling in the intercoastal is super fun. I have my own boat so I am not sure where to advise you on renting a kayak, but if you do, you can paddle to the Lydia Ann Lighthouse and into the marshes behind there (take a map!) or stop along the beaches on the way there and have a dip in the water. Last time I did this (last fall) I saw 2 sea turtles and probably 30-40 dolphins. They LOVE the paddlers.

If you find a rental place you can probably also find a guide.

When we go we like to stay in the dog-friendly and inexpensive Laughing Horse Lodge, which is walking distance to the beach. You can also camp on the beach at Magee Beach Park.
posted by Brittanie at 12:02 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

St. Jo's island just north of Port Aransas. The only access to the island is by a jetty boat so don't miss the return trip! It's completely undeveloped so no restrooms or trash pick up, please pack out whatever you pack in. You can picnic, fish and sunbathe in (relatively) solitary glory ... very nice indeed. We took my daughter when she was quite small and one of my fondest memories is of her at the end of the day, sturdy little sunburned body marching to the jetty boat with a seagull feather in her long blond hair ... I could weep for the beauty of that memory.
posted by Allee Katze at 12:58 PM on June 12, 2013

Seconding the Port Aransas Wildlife Refuge, although it's the wrong time of year for whooping cranes.

In fact, I came in here to heartily encouraging you to try some birding.

When I was in Port Aransas for a few days, I used the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail maps. There are tons of birds, all over the place, of all kinds - I got to see roseate spoonbills! Since you're from Texas, maybe you see spoonbills all the time, but I thought it was really cool.

So if you have binoculars, bring 'em!
posted by kristi at 10:32 AM on June 13, 2013

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