Things to do in Port Aransas, with kids!
We recently had a chance to spend a few more days in Port Aransas, Texas. I am certainly not an expert on all there is to do... but we did our best to explore this small town on Mustang Island by Corpus Christi!
Here are our favorite things to do. I also added the reader recommendations for our next trip. (The list was first made pre-Harvey and then updated post-Harvey. Just check the links for changes due to the pandemic.)
Tell us what to add!
To get to the island, we took the ferry. It is a super short ride (just a couple minutes).
On the way to the island, the wait was 45 minutes (on a Sunday). On the way home, it we drove right on. You can see current wait times HERE.
(My tot just has one complaint. She was expecting a fairy and not a ferry. You can understand her disappointment. Good thing we spotted dolphins in the water!)
Located right next to the ferry landing is Roberts Point Park. This is our favorite spot on the island! The kids play on the cool pirate ship playground and then we watch the dolphins and turtles in the water. (In the evening, dolphins pop up all over the place!)
This park also has pavilions, restrooms, an observation tower and a lighted fishing pier.
Pick up a $12 permit from the local shops (like Stripes gas station) and park anywhere along the miles of beaches. Just check the signs for handicapped spots and a few no parking areas.
You can back right up to the beach so you don't need to haul anything too far. The sand is packed (unless there has been no rain) so a car, golf cart, truck or RV can drive on it fine.
The water in Port Aransas is clearer than it is in Galveston and the beaches are wide. (The water is not as crystal clear as Florida, but it's also a lot closer to Houston!)
4. Golf Carts
I kept on looking for a downtown pedestrian area... but never found one. That's when I figured out why everyone had rented golf carts. They rented houses and hotels and then took their golf carts anywhere they wanted to go.
We did not rent one, but we might have been the only ones.
If you have a favorite spot for renting these, let us know!
This small museum is free, well maintained and full of information about the fishing town formerly known as Tarpon!
6. More to do
Here's what others have recommended for our next trip!
- Winston's Island Candy
- Fire It! Ceramics (Just make sure you have 24 hours to pick up your creation.)
- Port Aransas Community Park, Skate Park, Playground and Pool (Non-residents can swim for just a few dollars.)
- Dolphin Tours
- Pirate Ship Tours
- Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center
- University of Texas Marine Science Institute
- Sandcastle Lessons (Build your own 6 foot sculpture)
- San Jose Island (Ferry ride from Port Aransas)
We've either taken the family to these spots... or been told to try them. Let us know your favorites!
- Seafood and Spaghetti Works
- Virginia's On The Bay - Go during the day or at sunset for a great view. We even spotted some dolphins and a pirate ship from our table.
- Grumbles Seafood Company - Order at the counter and enjoy the view. Prices are not cheap, but the seafood is good and the location is great.
- San Juan Mexican Restaurant - This place might be the quickest, most reasonable restaurant in Texas. Kids meals were under $4.
- Pizzeria Port A - It's not fancy, but it was good and pretty cheap to feed a family of six. That was perfect for us.
- Dessert Island Ice Cream - Fun and funky place for ice cream.