Looking for the best Port Aransas beaches for your Gulf Coast getaway?
For such a small town, you’ll find plenty of beaches in Port Aransas and the surrounding area to choose from!
Located on a barrier island of Texas called Mustang Island, Port Aransas has several unique beach experiences all within 30 minutes of its mile-long main street.
While a couple of these aren’t beaches in the traditional sense, they’re still wonderful spots to enjoy classic beach vacation activities on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Here are the best beaches in and near Port A to explore on your next trip!
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Port Aransas Beach
If you’re looking for an adventure, Port Aransas Beach has plenty to offer.
The main beach of Port Aransas is a 6-mile stretch along the Gulf of Mexico.
The warm water of the Gulf is perfect for swimming, boogie boarding, and all manner of water activities.
You can even find an opportunity for parasailing off the coast of Texas from Port Aransas Beach.
One of the main characteristics of Port Aransas Beach is the wide driving area between the beach and the sand dunes where many visitors and locals alike like to cruise and park.
In order to take advantage of the opportunity to park and drive right on the beach, you need to purchase a permit for $12 from one of the many local vendors.
Camping in either a tent or an RV is permitted on Port Aransas beach for up to three nights within a 3-week period, so if you are interested in falling asleep to the sound of the crashing waves you’re in luck.
Mustang Island Beach
Just a short drive south along Mustang Island (13 miles) you can find another great opportunity for fun in the sun.
If you are a fan of going home with natural souvenirs, Mustang Island is the spot for you.
Mustang Island State Park is a well-known Texas beach for shell and sand dollar collection and one of the most popular beaches near Port Aransas.
There are plenty of spots along the beach to set up camp, and while the beach can be a bit crowded during the height of summer there is plenty of room to spread out during the spring and fall months.
One well-known feature of Mustang Island is that it is extremely pet-friendly.
There is even a dog park and pet-friendly dock so that all members of the family can enjoy a day in the water.
Fishing at Mustang Island is some of the best around Port Aransas as well, so don’t forget your fishing pole or tackle box if you are making the trip!
The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trails
It might be a stretch to call the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trails a beach, but no waterway tour of Port A is complete without a visit to this amazing destination.
Opened in 1999, the Trails are a series of kayaking and paddling trails that range in length from 1 to 7 miles.
Located just 3 miles from Port Aransas, you can enjoy an easy kayak through the mangrove trees and see some beautiful Texas wildlife.
The water in the area is shallow, so the paddling is ideal for beginners.
Navigating the trails is a great option for families, friends, or even a romantic getaway.
Don’t miss the views of the lighthouse, particularly the Lydia Ann Lighthouse on North Harbor Island.
It’s one of the best lighthouses in Texas and a true piece of Lone Star State history.
I.B Magee Beach Park
I.B. Magee Beach Park is situated on the northern end of Mustang Island and is only half a mile from the shops and restaurants of Main Street in Port A.
The park is a popular seaside camping spot with coin showers, electrical hookups, and picnic tables.
This no-frills spot is great for family vacations in Port Aransas and classic beach-going fun.
For those with RVs, there’s a full bathhouse.
The park also features a dog park and two hiking trails.
Locals and tourists alike often look forward to a couple of annual events that take place at I.B. Magee.
As part of a conservation effort, there is an annual sea turtle release.
There is also an annual yarn bombing.
You can walk around the area and see bollards covered with yarn buddies that have been crocheted to look like everything from animals to cartoon characters.
Rockport Beach Park
With calm, blue waters, a playground, a pavilion, and more, Rockport Beach Park is a family-friendly destination 20 miles outside Port Aransas.
While you do need to cross the channel on the ferry to get to Rockport from Mustang Island (it’s on the mainland), the journey is all part of your fun.
This beautiful beach near Port A offers a variety of activities that will keep you and your family entertained.
Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot or a crowded beach, this spot has something for everyone.
The beach itself is clean and spacious, with a family atmosphere.
Though it’s small in comparison to other beaches in Texas, it’s popular with families.
There are a variety of activities to enjoy, including volleyball courts, picnic tables, and a pier.
The sand is a mixture of pebbles and shells, and the area is kept in good condition. ‘
In fact, it’s the first Blue Wave Beach in Texas!
San Jose Private Island Beach
If you are looking for a more adventurous experience, you can head to the private island of San Jose.
Though it is privately owned, there is an area of the island that is accessible to visitors.
Just a ferry ride from Port Aransas, this is a pristine, secluded beach on one of the best islands in Texas.
You’ll find a small fishing shop, as well as seashell collecting, here.
This is a quiet getaway away from the crowds, and you’ll find yourself absorbing the natural beauty.
Used mostly for conservation purposes, the wildlife you can see on San Jose Island is unmatched.
Tony Amos City Beach
Just 3 miles down Mustang Island from Port Aransas sits Tony Amos City Beach.
A wide, flat beach perfect for a day of sunbathing and dips in the Gulf, this beach was renamed in 2015 for legendary conservationist Tony Amos.
Because of its popularity with locals and tourists alike, Tony Amos City Beach can be rather crowded on holiday weekends but otherwise is a wide-open space.
Because it is farther away from town, it is a good idea to pack your food and drink for the day when visiting Tony Amos as there aren’t many restaurants or shops nearby.
The Wetland Park
On the channel side of the island, the Wetland Park was gifted to the City of Port Aransas by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Built on the tidal flats, it is one of the best spots on the island where you can see some of the magnificent birds that call Port Aransas home.
Throughout the year, you can view many different species of birds and animals at Wetland Park, including a wide variety of pelicans, egrets, and frogs.
Another great beach that is worth a trip if you are visiting Port A is Holiday Beach.
Located just a mile south of Port Aransas Beach, it is often less crowded than the main beach on the island.
Locals love the wide sandy beach and the lapping waves of the Gulf up onto the shore.
Just over the sand dunes are some of the best hotels and condos on the island, making it very accessible to people visiting from out of town.
The Horace Caldwell Pier
The Horace Caldwell Pier is a 1,240-foot fishing and surfing pier on Mustang Island.
Technically, The Horace Caldwell Pier is right next to I.B. Magee Beach Park, but it is a completely different atmosphere once you step from the sand onto the boardwalk.
It’s open year-round and lighted at night, and the public can enjoy a variety of activities from fishing to sunbathing.
The pier is one of the only destinations on this list that isn’t free to the public.
To enjoy the panoramic views from the end of the pier, it costs two dollars and you have to pay in cash so hit the ATM before you head over.
The fishing that you can do from the Horace Caldwell Pier is some of the best on the island.
You can rent fishing poles on-site, and there is a bait and tackle shop where you can purchase bait and snacks.
Throw a line in the water and enjoy the epic views, and then cook up your catch of Texas Redfish at the end of the day.
This pier is located at the northernmost point of Mustang Island.
It’s open 24 hours a day and is lighted for nighttime fishing.