Port Isabel is nestled in extreme south Texas just 2 1/2 miles from the pristine beaches of South Padre Island and all the amenities of a coastal adventure.
Port Isabel’s deep roots in Texas history are reflected in the historic lighthouse that graces the center of the town square.
Built in 1852 to protect maritime traffic entering the Brazos Santiago Pass between Galveston and Tampico and the relative safety of the Laguna Madre Bay, the lighthouse remained in operation until 1905.
In 1872 the town was platted around the Lighthouse Reservation and the result is a lighthouse surrounded by specialty shops, restaurants, bars, a visitor center, a museum, an art gallery and book shop, fishing charters, eco-tours, and the longest lighted fishing pier in Texas.
The historic Port Isabel Lighthouse is open 7 days a week, weather permitting. Tickets may be purchased in the Lighthouse or at the Keeper’s Cottage Visitor Center.
It’s a self-guided tour, 75 steps up a winding staircase, and two short ladders to the top observation deck.
The view encompasses the Laguna Madre Bay (one of the largest hypersaline bays in the world), the Queen Isabella Causeway, South Padre Island and beyond to the Gulf of Mexico, Boca Chica beach and SpaceX.
When the structure served as a maritime beacon it was announced in coastal newspapers as a beacon with a 16-mile reach.
As one of the oldest cities in south Texas, Port Isabel, has a long and interesting history dating back to 1519 when it was charted by Spanish explorer Alonzo de Pineda.
The Charles Champion building is home to the Port Isabel Historical Museum and features a mural with over 200 images of marine life and birds that are found off the coast of Port Isabel and South Padre Island. It was painted in 1906 by a local angler.
Port Isabel is known for small-town charm where visitors can feel like they are at home while away from home.
The Visitor Center can help with planning your Port Isabel adventure and help you find the perfect accommodation.