Port Mansfield is a little town on the Laguna Madre, which lies on the southeast coast of Texas not far from the Texas/Mexico border. With its position on the lagoon and just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico, Port Mansfield makes the ideal place to enjoy the water and the sun. The small surrounding communities and rural feel allow you to relax with the family and recharge your batteries. When planning your next trip, don’t forget to check out these top Port Mansfield vacation rental locations. Here are some of our favorite areas to stay near Port Mansfield.

1. Port Mansfield

Port Mansfield lies on Laguna Madre, a small community offers plenty of waterside rentals. Spend your time fishing from your pier or kayaking in the lagoon. If you don’t have a boat to rent, stop at Bay Pirate for a vessel, or hire Rooster Charters to take you out fishing. Get some takeout at Sweet Gregory P’s Smokehouse Grill or Pelican’s Cove Grill.

2. Arroyo City

Just down the coast from Port Mansfield lies Arroyo City. Although small, it’s home to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge where you can kayak, fish, and hike. The ocelot makes its home in the refuge, a wild cat that stays hidden. Look for spots that blend into the surrounding. As long as you’re checking out the wildlife, view the birds of which more than 100,000 make their home in the refuge.

3. Laguna Vista

Continue down the beach to the south end of the lagoon where Laguna Vista sits. This town is also located within the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, giving you plenty of places to explore. Go to Captain Jack Barton’s, a fishing charter, to spend a relaxing afternoon on the water with the family. A number of eateries along Santa Isabel Boulevard offers a quick place to grab a meal between outdoor adventures.

4. Laguna Heights

Beside Laguna Vista is Laguna Heights, another small community with the lagoon on one side and a series of lakes on the other. The public beaches and easy water access makes spending a day lounging in the sun a distinct possibility. Head up to Laguna Vista or over to Port Isabel for some food and fun.

5. Port Isabel

Port Isabel sits on the point of land between Laguna Heights and the channel of water separating the mainland from South Padre Island. Take a trip with the kids to the Port Isabel Lighthouse and Museum, and spend a trip at the Dolphin Docks to catch a glimpse of these playful sea mammals. You can always wander over to the Queen Isabella State Pier for a walk along the length or an afternoon trying your luck fishing.

6. South Padre Island

South Padre Island is across the lagoon from Port Mansfield and a quick drive over the Queen Isabella Causeway from Port Isabel. A vacation rental here means unimpeded beach, access to the Gulf of Mexico, and a waterpark. For a more mature family, go to American Diving for an underwater experience, or tour the island and lagoon at Isla Tours. South Padre also boasts fishing charters, hiking, boat rentals, and plenty of eateries.

7. Harlingen

Harlingen is located just west of Laguna Atascosa and is a quick drive down I-77. As one of the largest cities in the area, you can spend your time shopping, golfing—of which there are several golf courses and swimming and fishing in the rivers and lakes. Head over to Arroyo Colorado for rafting down the river or go a little further east to the lagoon and gulf.

8. Palm Valley

Palm Valley, a little community on the outskirts of Harlingen, is just far enough away from the metropolitan area to breathe in some peace and quiet and close enough to head downtown for some fun. Pick up a game of golf at the Stuart Place or Harlingen Country Clubs.

9. Lozano

Lozano is another small community, but it’s located to the east of Harlingen between Arroyo Colorado and Laguna Atascosa, giving you easy access to both bodies of water. The rural location gives a place to kick back and relax for the duration of your stay while being within easy driving distance of downtown Harlingen, Port Mansfield, Laguna Madre, and the Gulf of Mexico.

10. Padre Island

Padre Island is just north of South Padre Island and a quick drive from Port Mansfield. Enjoy privacy, secluded vacation rentals and access to both the gulf and the lagoon by getting a vacation rental here. Go shelling at the Padre Island National Seashore, or spend a day hiking and bird watching at Mustang Island State Park.

11. Riviera Beach

If you head up the coast from Port Mansfield to Baffin Bay, you reach Riviera beach, located on the intersection of the bay and Laguna Salada. There are scattered waterside homes and inland rentals, giving you a choice of water access or country roads lined with trees. If you stay inland, you can get public water access at several points on Riviera Beach like Baffin on the Rocks. You can even enjoy some fresh seafood and mingle with the locals at Baffin Bay Seafood Co.

12. Loyola Beach

Just north of Riviera Beach situated on Cayo del Grullo lies Loyola Beach. It’s also a private location featuring a few homes and rentals on the water and a great seafood restaurant at King’s Inn.