No matter when or why you need a break, add a little island sand, sun, fun, water, and adventure. While there are a number of things to do and see that will surely pack your schedule, there are some must-see and do activities and attractions you’ll want to add. You won’t want to miss some of our favorites, so you can get the full Port A experience you came to enjoy. Check out our insider’s Port Aransas travel guide below!


You can spend every day of your island retreat on the beach. Keep up on your exercise routine with a refreshing run or walk on the beach or slip into your bathing suit and pack up your gear to head out for a day on the sand or playing in the water. Spread out your blanket, plant your beach umbrella, and lounge with a book, or step out into the sun for a little sunbathing. Swim in the waves of the Gulf, or help the kids build sandcastles before taking a sunset walk on the beach.


Port A has an array of dining options, from breakfast to dinner. Find breakfast at Coffee Waves, San Juan Restaurant, or Irie’s Island Bakery, to name a few. Try unique and delicious flavors like Cajun at Crazy Cajun Seafood, or BBQ at MacDaddy’s Family Kitchen. For something a little more upscale, visit Italy at Venetian Hot Plate, or cozy up for a special meal at Roosevelt’s at the Tarpon Inn. Just about every restaurant has seafood selections, but you’ll find some of the best at establishments like Fins Grille & Icehouse, Tortuga’s Saltwater Grill, and Trout Street Bar & Grill. You can find more information on these restaurants and others in the dining section of the Sandcastle Condos website.

Glowing Kayak Tour

If you’re not an early riser like many other kayakers, consider taking the peaceful paddle in the evening and nighttime hours. Enjoy a guided kayak tour in special clear kayaks decked out in water safe LED lights! Lights come in several colors and patterns, and you can choose your own colors and sequences. With the clear vessel, you’ll see the lights dancing, as well as the sea life swimming beneath your boat. Tours are 1.5 hours and always in the evening.

Marine Life Tours

You’ll definitely want to make time to get out and tour the waters of Port A and the Gulf of Mexico. Choose a charter tour that takes you out in search of sea life including dolphins, whales, and more. Make sure to bring your camera to catch glimpses of the majestic animals, as well as the breathtaking views of the Gulf and surrounding Port A landmarks from a different perspective. Daytime and sunset tours are available from many companies, and some may allow you to bring your own snacks and beverages.

Red Dragon Pirate Cruise

Take to the seas like the pirates of a bygone era. Everyone in the group, no matter how old, will have a swashbuckling good time when you sail the high seas. Cruise the waters of the Lydia Ann Channel and enjoy activities dolphin watching, sword fighting, treasure hunting, cannon fire, and plenty of pirate mischief!

Make sure to bring your camera to capture all the memories and pirate fun. If that’s enough to get you on board, you’ll enjoy soft drinks and snacks. Plus, adult pirates over 21 can indulge in beer, wine, pina coladas, rum, tequila, and whiskey-based drinks.


Pile your whole group into one vessel together for a good time on the water. Rent a boat from one of the many rental companies in Port A and strike out on a water adventure. Set sail for a favorite fishing destination, drop anchor and go for a swim, or hook up for water sports like tubing, skiing, wakeboarding, and more. Anyone born after September 1, 1993 must acquire a Texas boating license before taking the helm of any vessel over 15 hp.


Cast a line and see what’s biting off the shores of Port A. If it’s a casual activity for you, it may be a fun and slower paced way to keep close to the sand and water of the Gulf. Cast a lazy line from Horace Caldwell Fishing Pier and wait for a bite, or head down to Fisherman’s Wharf where you can charter a boat that will take you to the best fishing spots around Port A – or out into the wild waves of the Gulf. Many of the companies there offer half-day six-hour charters, as well as full days or multiple days at sea. Make sure all the anglers in the group secure the appropriate Texas fishing license, if necessary, before heading out.

Jet Skis

It’s easy to laze away the day at the beach without a care. But if you ever feel the need for speed, have an adrenaline-pumping good time when you rent a jet ski and slice through the waters of the Gulf around Port A at top speed. Many of the companies that rent fishing boats and pleasure boats also rent jet skis for plenty of fast-paced water excitement.
If you don’t know where to go, charter a jet ski excursion or tour of the area. The tours will also help you get comfortable with the craft or see some of the best places around the island. Anyone born after September 1, 1993 must acquire a Texas boating license before taking the helm of any vessel over 15 hp.

Port Aransas Travel Guide to Shopping

You can pick up a souvenir at many of the attractions and adventures you’ll experience in Port A. You may also want to do some shopping. While there are stores where you can score essentials like sunscreen and groceries, you may want to pick up something special. Stop by places like Coquina Dance Jewelry, The Islander, and others. Pick up something sweet at Winton’s Island Candy and take it back to your accommodation to enjoy.

Surf Camp

An island vacation to Port A is the perfect place to learn how to catch the perfect wave on a traditional surfboard, windsurfing, or both. Professional instructors will take you from a land-based introduction to the board all the way up to catching your first wave and riding it back to shore. Many companies also rent gear outside of the lesson, meaning when you’re comfortable with your new skills, you can enjoy the activity with just you and your friends.

Aransas Pass, C.S.A.

It’s a must-see to put on your Port A sightseeing list. While much of the area’s history can be seen in the form of beautiful and historic structures, just getting to Port A is a historic mark. Get a picture at the official Aransas Pass historic marker. The marker details facts, including that the pass is a natural inlet to Aransas Bay separating San Jose and Mustang Islands. It details other historical facts about the area, too, including its various uses during the Civil War.

Chapel on the Dunes

The historic 1930s church was built by the family of Aline Carter, a former Texas poet laureate. Inside, take in the alter and tile work are based on drawings designed by Carter herself. The church no longer holds regular religious services, but you can tour the church building and grounds during tours organized by the Port Aransas Museum. The property is the perfect place to host special events, including weddings.

Farley’s Historic Boat Shop

The company remains the premier boat builder in Port A, specializing in tarpon fishing boats. The first tarpon fishing boats built by bothers Barney and Fred Farley established Farley and Son Boat Works in 1914. That first boat was launched off the shores of Port A in 1915. The business eventually included Fred’s three sons, and expanded to include offerings including speed boats, cabin boats, and corporate vessels. The “living exhibit” – the company continues to build boats there – can be visited at 716 W. Avenue C on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 9 a.m.-noon. The shop is closed Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday.

Lydia Ann Lighthouse

Built in 1857 after the area’s trade through Aransas Pass began booming, the lighthouse is also called the Aransas Pass Light Station. The structure is not accessible by any road. History buffs wanting a glimpse of it will need to take a cruise past it in your own vessel, or on a tour, or get a view of it from nearby Roberts Point Park.

Mexican War Fort

General Zachary Taylor placed artillery on Mustang Island in 1845. At the time, the area was recorded as Mustang Island Fort. The artillery was meant to prevent enemy forces from coming through Aransas Pass to attempt to neutralize the San Jose Island supply depot. The fort was again utilized throughout the Civil War, as war supplies continued to be transported via Aransas Pass.

Port Aransas Museum

Learn what shaped the town into what it has become today through a number of temporary and permanent exhibits. You’ll learn how the area went from its roots as a Karankawa Indian land to the cozy town of today. The 1900s “kit house” that hosts the museum is located at 400 N. Alister. It is open for tours given by local volunteers Thursday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Admission is free, and donations are appreciated.

The Tarpon Inn

Constructed of surplus lumber from Civil War barracks in 1886, the historic inn was originally used to house workers creating Mansfield Jetty. After the jetty was complete, the building became a hotel. A major hurricane and tidal wave in 1919 led to the structure being rebuilt with added reinforcements against future damage. Since then, it has been used as a headquarters for the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and several military units, as well as to shelter area residents during disasters. In 1979, the inn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and also became a Texas Historic Landmark. The inn currently boasts a restaurant, 24 active guest rooms, and space for special events.

WWII Coastal Defenses at Aransas Pass

Another picture-worthy historic marker on the island marks the World War II Coastal Defenses. The U.S. officially entered the war in 1941 after the December attack on Pearl Harbor, prompting the war department to create the Southern Defense Command (SDC) as part of the war department’s national defense system. It spanned the southern U.S. coastline from North Carolina to Brownsville, Texas – including the Port Aransas area. The Port Aransas base hosted a temporary field artillery battery for the 2nd Infantry Division, featuring 105 MM Howitzers.

Beach Carts

Keep the rental car in its parking spot at your accommodations and skip the paved roads. While they are great for getting from Point A to Point B, you can’t get the whole island vibe from inside a car. Lose the confinements of an enclosed vehicle and turn off the paved road and rent a beach cart.

The golf carts are approved to drive on both the sand and the paved roads. They’re a fun and unique way to get where you’re going and continue the island beach experience while you move from place to place. Carts seat four to six people, and are equipped with windshields, rear view mirrors, blinkers, headlights, and more.

Undersea Adventures

Experience the world below the waves when you book a snorkeling or SCUBA diving tour of the water surrounding Port A. Plunge down to see a side of Port A and the Gulf of Mexico you may not easily see from inside a tour boat. Ask about age restrictions before booking, and make sure to get SCUBA certified before you attempt a dive on your own.

Get the Inside Experience of Port A

Another way to get the full “insider” experience of Port A is to live like a local When you stay in a vacation rental in Port Aransas provided by Sandcastle Condos, you’ll enjoy easy access to the beach and the crashing waves of the Gulf, as well as local shopping, dining, tours, and attractions so you don’t have to miss a moment of fun. You’ll also experience the comforts and conveniences of your own home. We offer efficiency units for your solo or sweetheart stay all the way up to three bedrooms for a larger group.

Prepare a delicious home-cooked meal in the fully equipped kitchen. Afterward, spread out in an open living space for a movie or to relax. Enjoy the view from the private balcony or patio or spend some time near the pool or on the sun deck.

Contact us today!