Relax On The Gorgeous Gulf Coast In This Texas City For An Affordable Beach Vacation

Texas is a large state with a wide variety of natural beauty and wonders. From the under-the-radar Big Bend National Park to a fabulously family-friendly beach in Galveston, there's something for everyone. While it might be branded for well-known sites like The Alamo, Texas holds a secret: It has many off-the-beaten-path gems. Nestled deep in the curve of the horseshoe that shapes the Gulf of Mexico lies an island made up of diverse landscapes and waterfront living. The beach town of Port Aransas may not be one of the most famous beaches in the world, but for those seeking a low-key coastal vacation, it's likely the perfect place to settle into a sand chair with a fishing pole, book, or beverage in hand. 


Located off the southeast coast of mainland Texas, there's no passport required for Americans to visit, yet it shares the same warm waters as the towns on much of the western Mexican coastline. Easily accessible from Corpus Christi, this barrier island is well known for the spring break party scene on the southern region of Padre Island. Yet, the northern section of Port Aransas remains less central on the tourist radar. The small population of around 3,000 people likes it that way, and it's not the only thing they appreciate about this beautiful and affordable destination.

Things to do in Port Aransas

Port Aransas is located on Mustang Island, which makes up the northern half of this long stretch of narrow land. With 18 miles of beaches, there is plenty of room for anyone wanting to swim, surf, SUP, kayak, or jet ski. Port "A" as the locals call it, is well renowned for its sea fishing. Schedule a charter or find your own secret spot to reel in a catch.


Check out Port Aransas Beach for a day of building sand castles, flying kites, and boogie boarding. It's right on the edge of town, so you can ride a bike or take a rented golf cart. If you've brought a car, you can drive all of your supplies right down to the beach and find your perfect spot of sand. Just know you will need a parking pass for any motorized vehicle you bring to the beach. Also be sure to abide by the 15 mph speed limit and watch for the bollards, which are poles that distinguish the driving areas from the public recreation areas.

While in the water, keep an eye out for sea turtles, stingrays, and jellyfish. Back on land, head to one of Port Aransas' nature preserves for some bird watching, or head up to Roberts Point Park where you can try to spot some of the resident dolphins. There are also museums that cover the history of boat building and the island, as well as art galleries to explore.


Overall, Port Aransas is an affordable beach vacation

In contrast to some of the most popular all-inclusive beach resorts in the Caribbean, Port "A" doesn't try to be what it's not. This is not where you go to find long stretches of luxury resorts. This is where you go for a local experience. After all, there's a reason Texans call this stretch of land home, and one of them is that the cost of living here is lower than the national average.


That's not to say it's a cheap destination. Visitors will still have a hard time finding a room for less than $100. However, excluding flights, your transportation costs will be low. To get to the island, you can grab a free ferry that connects Mustang Island and Port Aransas to the mainland across the Aransas Pass. Once there, you can easily get around with a bike. Surprisingly, food costs mostly hold steady with the rest of the country, which is certainly not the case if you travel to islands like Hawaii or the Caribbean. 

Plus, you don't have to consider whether you're going to buy a cruise drink package or pay for crazy, inflated cocktail prices since there are an abundance of affordable restaurants, bars, and stores readily available.