Port Aransas, TX

On the Northern edge of Mustang Island is this beachy paradise where you’ll find tons of history and even more fun in the sun. So grab your swimsuit, jump in a golf cart and get to exploring!

CULTURE

One of the things you have to do when you’re in Port A is buy all kinds of beachy knick-knacks and Port Aransas-themed junk at a souvenir shop — and you’ll find tons all over the island. I suggest you head to Destination Beach & Surf, where you can get a selfie with the giant shark out front before your shopping spree. For a sweet island treat, head to Winston’s Island Candy where you’ll find all your favorite candies! Just make sure you save room for Winston’s homemade caramel– it’s the perfect amount of gooey, chewy and delicious, and comes in different varieties like pecan or chocolate-covered.

Farley Boat Works is the most historic boat shop on the island. They’ve been making Tarpon boats the same way since 1915, and you can stop by to see their classic boats. And if you’re really feeling creative, they’ll even teach you how to make your own boat in a Tarpon building workshop!

Soak in the ocean breeze on the porch of Tarpon Inn, which has been hosting guests on the island since 1886. While the hotel itself is an architectural beauty, the real treasures are the Tarpon scales all over the walls, signed by the folks who caught them. You’ll even find a Tarpon scale signed by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt from when he visited Port A on a fishing trip in 1937!

FOOD

For a meal unlike any other on the island, grab some grub at Irie’s Island Food. This “island food” is a mixture of American, tropical and Asian street foods that’s all homemade and all amazing! I suggest the Treasure Beef, which is tenderloin in a sweet and hot sauce topped with peanuts and cilantro on steamed rice.

Behind the historic Tarpon Inn is Roosevelt’s, a seafood eatery where you can dine on upscale meals in a casual setting. Enjoy fresh seafood like the Oysters ala Roosevelt or the fantastic Coconut Shrimp in the garden out back as the sun sets over the island.

After dinner, hit up the “coolest bar on the Texas Riviera,” the Salty Dog for their namesake drink, which is a refreshing mix of salt, gin and grapefruit. If you’re lucky, you might even come across the friendly dog this place was named after. It’s the best place to end a day on the beach.

OUTDOORS

Port A is one of the best places in Texas to ride the waves, and Texas Surf Camps will have you surfing like a pro in no time! So head to the beach and get ready for some gnarly waves!

Take a short boat ride to St. Jo’s Island — which is what the locals call San Jose Island. This remote and uninhabited island is perfect for shelling. For optimal seashell hunting, get out early before the beach is picked over. See if you can find a Lightning Whelk, the state shell of Texas or a whole Sand dollar (which many a Texan has tried, but few have succeeded…) Shirley Fisher at Fisherman’s Wharf will be happy to take you out and show you the ropes.

PHOTOS