Christian Stan, at 1 May. 23, in News, Where to go next

The idyllic Gulf Coast island town of Port Aransas, Texas is excited to welcome first-time visitors and returning guests to its 18 miles of sunny shoreline in 2023.

With signature events like the annual Texas SandFest, where stunning sculptures are erected along the destination’s shoreline, to the remarkable 26th Annual Whooping Crane Festival, to endless outdoor adventure and more, Port Aransas is the true Texas coast and perfect year-round destination for travelers of any age or group size.

Port Aransas is the proud landing site of one of the largest naturally-occurring populations of Whooping Cranes, migrating from Canada to their winter home at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. To showcase this phenomenon and bring awareness to the endangered species, the destination hosts the Annual Whooping Crane Festival each February. In February 2023, the event celebrated its 26th year with renowned speakers, birding trips, boating trips, nature tours, photography workshops, a trade show, and much more.

Texas SandFest, the largest native-sand sculpture competition in the U.S., is held annually each April, transforming Port A’s shoreline into a beachside museum with massive sand-sculpted art pieces. What began as a small local competition in 1997 has grown into an internationally-recognized three-day, family-friendly event that draws renowned sand sculptors and tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to the Texas coast. Accommodations for Texas SandFest are limited, so travelers are encouraged to book their visits in advance! 

The recently opened Patton Center of Marine Science Education features eight large aquaria and engaging interactive displays that provide opportunities for visitors of all ages to learn about the local marine life and the research that is conducted at the University Marine Science Institute and its Mission-Aransas Reserve program. After sustaining severe damage during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the Center has since been transformed into a bright and dynamic facility, sharing knowledge of wonders of the local marine ecosystems in Port Aransas and the surrounding area free of charge.

Port Aransas will continue to see the completion of new and renovated piers and boardwalks throughout 2023, each perfectly positioned throughout the destination for fishing, bird watching and capturing the picturesque Gulf-front views.

Known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas,” the waters of Port Aransas are teeming with opportunity. Fishing is a Port A passtime anchored in tradition with numerous fishing charters and guides like Alex Porter’s Fishing Guide Service available to bring the fishing experience to anglers of any age. Deep sea offshore excursions also offer prizes like Kingfish, Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna, and more. Redfish are one of the top targets for local fishers and are a plentiful catch year-round. Bay fishing is another outstanding option with the clear waterways where Redfish, Flounder, Black Drum, and Trout are abundant. Almost any haul can be prepared at one of the many restaurants that “cook your catch” like BlueWater Cowboy or Castaways Seafood And Grill. Visitors and locals alike can also venture out to the destination’s new and restored piers, which are reopening following the impact from Hurricane Harvey. 

The perfect accompaniment to any freshly cooked catch is one of the island’s coastal cocktails including the Hibiscus Basil Margarita made with Teremana Reposado Tequila, house-made Hibiscus syrup, fresh muddled basil, Agavero Orange Tequila Liqueur, Agave, fresh squeezed lime & lemon juice available at Trout Street Bar & Grill.  

Visiting families or those traveling in large groups can enjoy accommodations at any budget, with options ranging from luxury lodging like Cinnamon Shore and Palmilla Beach Resort + Golf Club to budget-friendly stays like The Tarpon Inn andExecutive Keys.  

For more information on Port Aransas, the true Texas Coast, or to plan the next island getaway, go to VisitPortAransas.com

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