Port Aransas, Texas, lies on the northern end of Mustang Island, a barrier island that sits between Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Port Aransas vacation rentals allow you to enjoy all the delights of city life while being surrounded by nature. Relax on the beach, learn about the local wildlife and let the warm gulf breeze wash away your cares. Here are some fun activities to keep you and the kids busy while on vacation in Port Aransas.

1. Visit Port Aransas Nature Preserve

The Port Aransas Nature Preserve is on the northwest side of the island and contains sand flats, wetlands and lakes. You can take the kids on a hike over the boardwalk Salt Island Trail to Salt Island where the overlook offers a great opportunity to go birding or just enjoy the view. There are several other observation decks and towers along the preserve and nature trails. Check out the Community Park which lies on the eastern boundary of the preserve and spend a day in the area playing, picnicking and exploring nature.

2. Do Some Paddle Boarding

Rent a few paddle boards and tour Shamrock Cove along the west side of the island. There are all types of waterways and islands to explore. You can also paddle lazily through the warm Gulf of Mexico waters. There are several rental agencies where you can pick up anything from paddle boards and kayaks to jet skis and boats.

3. Swim

Get a vacation rental on the gulf or bay side of the island, and enjoy days filled with swimming. Even if you don’t get a beach house, you can always park at one of the beach public access points and swim. Nueces County Park, located in the northeast corner of the island offers camping, beach access and bathroom facilities.

4. Play on the Beach

Speaking of beaches, there are miles of sand to enjoy near Port Aransas. Pull up a beach chair and absorb the rays while the kids frolic in the water. You can take the kids beach combing for interesting finds, or even enroll them in a surf camp to free up some time for reading a book on the beach or doing some sunbathing.

Find the perfect Port Aransas vacation rental on Tripping.com. Tripping.com is the world's #1 vacation rental search engine with over 10 million properties!

5. Go Dolphin Watching


Dolphins are plentiful in the area and you can view them from the Nueces County Park beach. If you want to get up close, book a family tour with Dolphin Watch Nature Tours, Woody’s Sports Center, or Scarlet Lady Dolphin Adventures. The latter takes visitors to the Lydia Ann Channel where the local dolphins like to congregate.

6. Visit Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center

While you’re at the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, stop over at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. Pick up a birding checklist, and look for the birds as you walk the boardwalk. You can make it a game and race to find the most birds. A large number of birds live in or migrate through the area from birds of prey, such as the great horned owl and white-tailed hawk, to the tiniest species, including the ruby-throated hummingbird.

7. Ride on Beach Buggies

You can see the beach in a new way and explore the local sites in beach buggies. Go to Paradise Car Rental, Bron’s beach Cart Rentals or Texas Red Golf Carts and More for carts of your choice. The kids are sure to love zooming over the dunes and looking out for interesting animals.

8. Go Parasailing

Woody’s Sports Centers not only offers dolphin tours but you can also try water sports, like parasailing, where you can view the world from at least 500 feet above the Gulf of Mexico. Chute ‘Em Up is another parasailing agency that will make your trip memorable for years to come. You can strap in more than one on a ride if you have kids so that the entire family has fun.

9. Go Fishing

While you’re in the Gulf of Mexico you might as well do a little fishing. There are a handful of fishing charters from which to choose that offer a boat, access to the best fishing spots and gear — if you don’t have your own. Private Deep Sea Charters provides a relaxing experience on the water with the family. You can teach the little ones the art of fishing and catch dinner at the same time. Deep Sea Fishing Trips, Rebel Charters and Texas Charter Fleet are other fishing services.

10. Play at Roberts Point Park

If you want to go fishing a little closer to home or your vacation rental spend an afternoon at Roberts Point Park. This park lies on Turtle Cove. There are play areas for the kids, picnic areas and pavilions for lunch and a harbor to keep your family boat. Stroll along the cove on the walkways or dip your toes in the water.

11. Go on a Boat Cruise

Explore the cove and keep an eye out for dolphins on a fun filled boat cruise. Get a tour of the bay and a show on with Red Dragon Pirate Cruises. The two-hour cruise includes snacks, a pirate-themed show and some sword fights. Book the boat cruise several nights in advance in case it sells out.

12. Head Down to Mustang Island State Park

Head down to Mustang Island State Park for a day of camping and nature. Be sure to bring out your hiking shoes and mountain bikes to explore the local flora and fauna. You can even do some geocaching, a sort of treasure hunt in nature. Other activities include fishing, kayaking, birding and surfing in this beautiful park.

Ready to go? Check out these amazing Port Aransas vacation rentals on Tripping.com.