Situated on the northern tip of Mustang Island—just across the bay from Corpus Christi—is Port Aransas, a laid-back destination with something exciting to do and see for the whole family. At Port Aransas, you can play on the sandy beach, embark on a dolphin-watching excursion, set sail on fishing charters, hike through remote state parks, and enjoy countless water sports. Whether you’re looking for a quiet boathouse or beachfront cottage, there’s a perfect accommodation suitable for any budget or lifestyle. Book a stay at one of numerous cozy vacation rentals in Port Aransas today. With that said, check out the go-to attractions in and around this coastal Texan city.

1. Port Aransas

Once you take the ferry over to Mustang Island, let your worries melt away. The soft sands of Port Aransas Beach, the open fishing piers, and the busy marinas give this seaside town a distinctly maritime feel while offering endless entertainment on the water. Explore the bay on a sailing charter, book a parasailing adventure, or rent a dune buggy to ride along the beach. Be sure to check out Port Aransas Nature Preserve and Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center to spot seabirds and alligators from the marsh boardwalk, or hike to the remote beaches of Mustang Island State Park.

2. Padre Island

Just south of Port Aransas and Mustang Island, this neighboring island boasts beautiful vacation homes along quiet canals where you can dock your fishing boat or leisure boat right in front of your rental. Check out the lounges and boathouse bars for some appetizers after a day on a fishing charter or sailboat. Drive down to Padre Island National Seashore to explore unspoiled shorefront wilderness and sandy beaches, or take the causeway to Corpus Christi for a day trip to the aquarium.

3. Ingleside

Ingleside is situated on the mainland across from Port Aransas, offering affordable rentals where you can kick back after a day of Port Aransas adventures. Head down to Ingleside on the Bay to find beach homes overlooking Corpus Christi Bay. From here, you can book a charter from the marina or enjoy some fishing off the docks.

4. Corpus Christi

Staying in Corpus Christi promises all the convenience and entertainment of a mid-sized city, and it rests just across the bay from Port Aransas, connected by a causeway. Here you find sheltered beaches, golf courses, and marinas for sailing or fishing on Corpus Christi Bay. With its abundance of high-rise condos and cottage-style vacation homes, Corpus Christi has something for every family. You’re sure to find the perfect place to rest after enjoying a picnic at one of waterfront parks and watching for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. For more family fun, head to the Texas State Aquarium to view sharks and other marine life.

5. Rockport

Rockport is perched on the edge of Aransas Bay on the mainland just north of Port Aransas, offering a host of waterfront hotels and resorts. While kicking back in this port town, check out the Texas Maritime Museum, or take your family to Rockport Beach Park to have lunch at the picnic pavilion. The park features a sandy beach where kids can play in the calm waters before hitting the playground. You can also stop by Key Allegro to see the charming boat houses and marinas.

6. Fulton

Lying just north of Rockport, Fulton is another bayside paradise known for its long fishing pier and seafood restaurants serving up oysters. Plus, many of the waterfront hotels and ranch-style homes are within easy walking distance of the marinas.

7. Port O’ Connor

If you’re looking for a low-key port town to enjoy a laid-back fishing vacation, head to Port O’ Connor. This town lies about 70 miles north of Port Aransas at the tip of the island archipelago, offering endless fishing opportunities and smooth sailing on both Espiritu Santo Bay and Matagorda Bay. Explore the bait docks and marinas, or enjoy some swimming at King Fisher Beach.

8. Portland

Located just west of Ingleside and across the Nueces Bay Causeway from Corpus Christi, Portland maintains a more residential feel. Enjoy a stroll along the paved path surrounding Sunset Lake just off the bay, or cast a line from Indian Point Pier. You can also take some time to enjoy a game of golf at NorthShore Country Club.

9. Copano Village

Drive just north of Fulton and Rockport to find this tiny residential community where you can book a low-key vacation rental for a quiet getaway. Enjoy your morning coffee from your porch overlooking Copano Bay before heading to Port Aransas or Rockport for a day on the water.

10. Lamar

When you take the Lyndon B. Causeway north of Fulton, Rockport, and Copano Village, you stumble upon Lamar, a small fishing town where you can get away from the city scene. Head over to the 320-acre Goose Island State Park to stroll through marsh and prairie wilderness, or take a bay tour out of Neptune Harbor. Be sure to check out the fishing pier for some breathtaking sunset views.

11. Holiday Beach

Boat homes and beach houses with private docks along the canals characterize this community just a few minutes further north of Lamar. Embark on one of the fishing charters, and catch lunch at a local cafe before listening to seabirds from the front yard of your rental. For an outdoor experience, the whole family loves to head over to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge for a hiking excursion.