Fishing is permitted above the water line, at the jetty along the shipping channel, and from the pier
Swimming is popular and generally safe here
Lifeguards are on duty daily from 11 AM to 6 PM during Spring Break and from Memorial Day through Labor Day and Thursdays through Sunday from 11 AM to 6 PM from Labor Day through Halloween and Spring Break through Memorial Day
Leashed pets are allowed
Surfing, Swimming, Sunbathing, Fishing, Birdwatching
Lifeguards, Fishing Pier, Restrooms, Shower, Beach Camping
Free to visit
Free parking nearby; $12 parking pass to park on the beach
Boca Chica Beach
Port Aransas, Texas is a popular tourist destination on Mustang Island, where you can find more than 6 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. The city is renowned for its amazing Texas beaches and holiday lifestyle, is considered Texas Fishing Capital, and provides everything you need for a memorable beach vacation.
This guide gives you the low-down on everything Port Aransas Beach, TX, and how you can enjoy your time in this sunny island town.
Port Aransas has a rich history that's shaped the beach and town into what it is today. It's believed that Port Aransas Beach began as sandbars about 4,500 years ago. Its first settlers were the Karankawa Indians in the 1500s. A Spanish explorer, Cabeza de Vaca is said to be the first European to meet the Karankawas.
Wild horses called mestenos were brought to the island by Spaniards in the 1800s. The area was first known as Wild Horse Island, before it was called what it is now, Mustang Island.
Around 1910, citizens began calling the town Port Aransas. Then, in 1970, Hurricane Celia wiped out most of the city and much of the Texas coast. Eventually, the area started to build back up, and sea turtle export became big business.
Today, the tourism industry is booming. Sportfishing is a major attraction, with various fishing tournaments organized during Summer and Fall. Bird watching and beach activities are other popular activities.
Where To Stay
Given how popular Port Aransas is, there is no shortage of accommodations for various needs and travel styles. From hotels and campsites to vacation rentals and resorts, there's something for everyone.
Best of all, you can find these accommodations conveniently surrounded by eateries, activities, and the beach.
Here are some top recommendations for where to stay near Port Aransas Beach:
- Camp Coyoacan: a unique, boutique campground with cabins, yurts, and tons of amenities.
- The Beach Lodge: a laid-back, pet-friendly hotel steps away from the beach.
- Tropical Island Resort: diverse lodging, including RV parking, hotel rooms, and cottages close to the ocean.
- IB Magee Beach Park: beach camping with tent and RV sites.
There is no shortage of activities to explore at Port Aransas Beach and away from the shore. Most of these attractions are at the beach or a short drive away. Whether you're looking to relax, get active, or a mix of both, there's something for everyone!
Port Aransas Beach
The 6-mile beach itself is easily one of the best parts of Port Aransas. Locals and travelers alike appreciate warm gulf waters, expansive soft sand, and sunshine.
Beachgoers like surfing, swimming, and sunbathing at Port Aransas Beach. Anglers enjoy heading to the Horace Caldwell Pier to catch fish on the beach.
Port Aransas is also a great place to walk and search for seashells. With so much space, it's also the perfect spot to settle in beach chairs and birdwatch, bask in the sun, and rest. Be sure to catch the sunrise or sunset if you can, too!
If you're looking to stick around, you can camp on the beach. You can also find restrooms, shops, and restaurants nearby.
Roberts Pointe Park
This 50-acre waterfront park is just around the corner from Port Aransas Beach. It's a fun place with a playground, observation tower, and pavilion. Many people enjoy checking out this park because you can spot sea turtles of dolphins. It also holds local events.
Speaking of dolphins, dolphin tours are integral to the Port Aransas region. You can experience amazing views of the aquatic wildlife, including up-close interaction with the marine life, via a protective underwater tank.
You can also go on a sunset cruise for unmatched ocean views or an educational tour to learn about the marine ecosystem. We highly recommend this adventure on your trip to Port Aransas!
Mustang Island State Park
If you're looking to venture away from Port Aransas a little bit, head about 14 miles south to Mustang Island State Park. It's an incredible park well worth a visit!
The park offers over 5 miles of breathtaking beachfront with various recreational activities perfect for enjoying with family, friends, or alone. You can find surfing, hiking, swimming, mountain biking, and fishing opportunities at Mustang Island State Park.
Padre Island National Seashore
Although it's a bit of a drive from Port Aransas Beach, checking out Padre Island National Seashore in Corpus Christi is a unique experience. It's located about 30 minutes away and boasts a long stretch of undeveloped beaches.
Note: GPS will show that you can't drive from Padre Island from Port Aransas, TX, but you can drive along the shore down Park Road 22 to access the national seashore.
Some people confuse Padre Island National Seashore with North Padre Island, but you'll actually pass this barrier island on the way.
The national seashore and park protects over 60 miles of shoreline, prairies, dunes, and tidal flats. You can find sea turtles, birds, and shipwrecks. Visitors also enjoy spending the night and camping on the beach.
San Jose Island
San Jose Island also offers another beautiful beach area to explore near Port Aransas. It's a short ferry ride north and provides a peaceful getaway for relaxing, birdwatching, fishing, and collecting seashells.
Port Aransas Museum
The Port Aransas Museum showcases exhibits that highlight the history and culture of Mustang Island. These include authentic civic documents and photographs of historical events. You can also go on a guided tour to historical attractions like the Little Chapel on the Dunes, built in the 1930s and still in excellent condition today.
Port Aransas Community Theater
If you need a bit of respite from the outdoor activities, the Port Aransas Community Theater provides the right amount of entertainment. They're dedicated to enriching the town's cultural life.
Enjoy an authentic Port Aransas experience with performances by local artists and musicians. The theater offers interactive shows and events suitable for families, younger crowds, and a couple's date night.
Port Aransas Beach Reviews
Beachgoers have said lots of great things about visiting Port Aransas Beach! Here are some recent reviews:
"Beautiful and clean beach. Not crowded and a wonderful place to relax."
"My family loves coming to this beach. Plenty of space for everyone."
"Great place. Clean beach. Fishing also."
"I liked the view. Not crowded during weekdays. Very chill! Great place to collect yourself and relax."