Port A, Your Way 

Port Aransas – Live the Island Life

Port A Your Way

Port Aransas is one of the most beloved spots on the Texas coast.

Proudly anchored in tradition, generations of Texans have made the laid-back coastal town their annual vacation destination.

It is not uncommon for children to grow up visiting Port Aransas, affectionately known as “Port A,” then continue the tradition of bringing their own kids back to the 18-mile shoreline to run on “Island Time” as they get older.

History, Arts & Culture

While widely known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas” for its outstanding fishing opportunities and delectable seafood at establishments around the island, Port Aransas also has a lesser-known, rich history.

One of the historic must-visit locations is The Tarpon Inn, constructed with surplus lumber from Civil War barracks in 1886.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a Texas Historic Landmark, the inn has also served as a storm shelter for many area residents over the years, perfectly encapsulating the hospitality and goodwill of the Port Aransas community.

Other notable historic landmarks include the Lydia Ann Lighthouse and historical cemetery, the World War II Coastal Defenses at Aransas Pass, and the Port Aransas Museum, which is a joint effort between the Port Aransas Preservation and Historical Association and the City of Port Aransas.

The island was recently designated a Music Friendly Community by the Texas Music Office in 2021 and boasts numerous live music venues to explore.

Music lovers can grab a glass of wine at Island Wine, relax with a beer at Shorty’s Place, or explore Port A’s several other live music venues to experience local sounds.

In the fall, visitors can enjoy the island’s signature Port A Live Music Fest, featuring a weekend of live music and unparalleled talents at venues around Port A. 

Shopping, Restaurants & Events

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Whooping Crane Festival in Port A. The four-day event celebrates the annual return of the cranes to their winter habitat at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Taking place February 24–27, 2022, the festival will feature renowned speakers, birding trips, boating trips, nature tours, photography workshops, a trade show, and much more. 

The whimsical fishing town is also home to the nation’s largest native-sand sculpture competition, Texas SandFest. Each year thousands of international visitors flock to Port A to witness master and semi-pro sculptors craft jaw-dropping works of art along the coast.

The event raises funds for local charities and scholarships for high school students, and for the less artistically inclined there’s also food, live music, kids’ activities, and shopping. This year’s competition will take place from April 8–10, 2022. 

From unique home decor to island-inspired fashions and gifts, Port Aransas is filled with locally-owned shops, galleries, and boutiques to explore. Four times throughout the year shoppers can enjoy a ‘Shop Around’ at participating stores, featuring great deals, special offers, and events.

After a full day of sun, sand, and shopping, Port Aransas has a foodie scene sure to curb the cravings. The laid-back island atmosphere is best personified at one of the numerous outdoor eateries, including flip-flop-friendly establishments like Lelo’s Island Bar and waterfront views of the marina at Fins Grill and Icehouse.

Mouth-watering Italian dishes can be found at Venetian Hot Plate and Seafood & Spaghetti Works, and more traditional seafood offerings abound at local joints including The Crazy Cajun, Moby Dicks and Trout Street Bar & Grill.

Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without ice cream, and Port Aransas has some of the best around, whether that involves a giant scoop of ice cream at Island Scoop, a banana split at Desserted Island Ice Cream or a delicious milkshake from Port A Creamery.

Hotels, Lodging & How to Get Around

The best (and most fun) way to get around the island is in one of the iconic beach golf carts. Numerous quality vendors across the island rent golf carts by the day, making it easier than ever to haul your group and their gear to the beach and beyond.

From four-passenger brightly-colored carts with bumping Bluetooth speakers to family-friendly eight-seaters with top-of-the-line safety features, there is a golf cart for everyone in Port Aransas.

Many lodging options around the island are newly renovated following Hurricane Harvey, including The Dunes and Sandcastle Condominiums.

Visitors can also score a more private beach house through one of the property rentals on the island such as Port A Escapes, Sand Key Realty, or Beachcomber.

Tourists can also take a retreat to Balinese Spa Suites, featuring an onsite yoga studio as well as a spa and boutique, or book a room at the historic Tarpon Inn. With so many options, there’s a rental property fit for every budget and party.

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