Things To Do In Rockport TX

Things To Do In Rockport Tx

Welcome to Rockport, Texas, a charming coastal town nestled in the heart of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Get ready for a thrilling adventure filled with beautiful beaches, mild weather, and endless outdoor activities. Don’t miss out on these must-do experiences:

  1. Rockport Beach: Rockport Beach stands out as one of Texas’ most picturesque beaches, earning the distinction of being Texas’ first certified Blue Wave Beach. Its one-mile stretch of soft, powdery sands is meticulously maintained, offering visitors a pristine coastal escape. The beach features numerous picnic pavilions and cabanas for shaded relaxation, as well as a saltwater swimming lagoon, children’s play areas, and walking paths. A day-use fee provides access to these amenities along with facilities such as showers and restrooms. For those on a shorter visit, there’s a separate free section of Rockport Beach in front of the Bay Education Center.
  2. The Big Tree and Goose Island State Park: A must-see attraction in Rockport is The Big Tree, an ancient oak estimated to be over 1,000 years old. This impressive tree with a circumference of more than 35 feet and branches spanning 89 feet is located within Goose Island State Park. Visitors to the park can immerse themselves in nature with hiking, birding, fishing, and biking activities. Picnic areas beneath the shade of majestic oaks provide a perfect setting for a leisurely lunch.
  3. Fulton Mansion State Historical Site: The Fulton Mansion State Historical Site offers a glimpse into 19th-century affluence with its advanced amenities such as flush toilets, central heating, and gas lighting. This beautifully preserved mansion from the 1870s showcases innovative architecture and engineering of its time. Visitors can explore the mansion and its gardens through self-guided tours. Additionally, the Education and History Center located behind the mansion offers a museum store and informative exhibits.
  4. Whooping Crane Boat Tour: A highlight of Rockport is the Whooping Crane Boat Tour aboard the Skimmer, led by knowledgeable marine biologists from Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures. From November through April, the tour focuses on the rare whooping cranes that nest in the area. Guests can observe these magnificent birds in their natural habitat along the shores of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. From April to June, the tour shifts its focus to Colonial Rookeries, providing opportunities to spot various bird species and other wildlife. Sunset cruises and dolphin-watching trips are also available.
  5. Glow Row: For a unique nighttime experience, embark on a Glow Row night kayaking eco-tour. This guided 1.5-hour tour takes visitors through shallow waters in clear, glowing two-person kayaks. Departing from two locations in Rockport, Little Bay and Paradise Key, participants paddle over man-made oyster reefs or through a cove to observe marine life illuminated by colorful LED lights. Glow Row operates from March to November, subject to safe weather conditions. Reservations are required for this unforgettable adventure.
  6. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge offers unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing. Home to over 400 species of birds, this refuge is particularly famous for its population of whooping cranes, the only naturally migrating flock in North America. Visitors can explore nature trails winding through freshwater marshes and an oak sanctuary with 500-year-old trees. The refuge’s observation tower provides breathtaking views of the landscape. Be sure to pick up a wildlife checklist at the entrance to enhance your visit.
  7. Texas Maritime Museum: Dive into the maritime history of the Texas coast at the Texas Maritime Museum. Originally a public display of maritime artifacts, the museum now houses extensive collections and exhibits related to the region’s seafaring past. Highlights include a research library open to the public, offering insights into steamboat and sailboat transportation along the coast.
  8. Bay Education Center: The Bay Education Center, operated by the National Estuarine Research Reserve, offers free educational exhibits focused on local science, plant life, and animal habitats. Visitors can enjoy interactive experiences, including the Science on a Sphere exhibit, which explores the interconnectedness of land, air, ocean, and space. The center’s limited hours should be noted, so plan your visit accordingly.
  9. The History Center for Aransas County: Nestled within a residential neighborhood, The History Center for Aransas County provides a glimpse into the area’s past. Housed in the Bruhl-Paul-Johnson House, this center features exhibits and artifacts that chronicle the history of Rockport. Visitors can also explore the historic gardens surrounding the home.
  10. Rockport Center for the Arts: Art enthusiasts will appreciate the Rockport Center for the Arts, located in downtown Rockport’s arts district. The center showcases a variety of artwork, including woodwork, glass, and paintings by local, national, and international artists. Visitors can participate in classes and events, and shop for unique art souvenirs.
  11. Night Fishing at Fulton Pier: Fishing enthusiasts will find nighttime fishing at Fulton Pier a memorable experience. The pier’s glowing green lights attract various fish species, providing anglers with an exciting opportunity to catch redfish, speckled trout, and large drum. Even non-anglers can enjoy the scenic views of the bay and harbor from the pier’s boardwalk.
  12. Bird-Watching in Rockport: Rockport is a birding paradise, attracting avid birders from around the world. Situated along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, the area offers sightings of numerous bird species, including the elusive whooping crane. Popular birding spots include the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Rockport Beach, Goose Island State Park, and Aransas Woods.
  13. Rockport Cultural Arts District: Take a stroll through the Rockport Cultural Arts District, a vibrant area filled with independent art stores, photography studios, and historic landmarks. Visitors can browse through unique art pieces, decorative items, and souvenirs. The district also hosts performances and events, providing a lively atmosphere for art enthusiasts.
  14. Biking in Rockport: Explore Rockport on two wheels with its network of bike trails catering to all skill levels. The Tule Creek Hike and Bike Trail, winding through forests and alongside a creek, offers a scenic ride. Another option is the Memorial Park bike trail, which takes riders through the expansive nature and recreation park.
  15. Geocaching: Embark on a treasure hunt through Rockport with geocaching, an interactive way to explore the town’s hidden gems. Geocaching sites can be found at various locations, including the Fulton Mansion and Fulton Harbor coffee shop. It’s a fun adventure for all ages to discover unique spots around Rockport.

Where to Stay in Rockport for Sightseeing

Rockport-Fulton, situated by the water, offers a charming mix of locally-owned cottages and a selection of chain hotels, catering to various preferences and budgets.

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • The Inn at Fulton Harbor: This cozy local hotel provides a comfortable stay, complete with breakfast, and is conveniently located across from Fulton Harbor, the departure point for many boat tours. Guests can easily walk to nearby small restaurants and the Rockport Pier.
  • The Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay: Another appealing option by the bay, The Lighthouse Inn offers breakfast and features a refreshing pool. Its proximity to Fulton Harbor allows for scenic strolls and convenient access to local attractions.

Budget Hotels:

  • Pelican Bay Resort: Ideal for pet-friendly stays, Pelican Bay Resort offers charming lodging in small cottages with kitchenettes. Located close to local restaurants, guests can enjoy convenience and comfort during their visit.
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites: Families will find comfort in the spacious suites offered by La Quinta Inn, complete with complimentary breakfast. This budget-friendly option ensures a pleasant stay while exploring the sights of Rockport.

These accommodations in Rockport-Fulton provide a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs, whether seeking a cozy retreat or a budget-friendly stay.

Get ready to make unforgettable memories in Rockport, Texas. Soak up the sun, embrace the adventure, and prepare for an experience you won’t soon forget.

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