Port Aranses, TX – Feb 2015
I decided to spend my second week on the Texas coast at the town of Port Aranses, otherwise known as Port A. It is about 20 miles north of Padre on Mustang Island. I had some friends coming to visit from Missouri and I thought they would appreciate being close to a town with shopping and restaurants especially if the weather turned nasty for a couple days during their stay, which looked likely.
The county operates a campground on the beach in Port A called The I.B. McGee Beach Park. It is surrounded by dunes so it feels secluded but it is only a mile from town. The campground is not much to look at but as usual it comes down to location, location, location. You can boondock on the beach here for $12 per night but I chose to stay in a sight with water and electric that was just off the beach so I could recharge my batteries fully and use their electricity to run my heat pump instead of using my propane on those chilly nights. The sight was $25 per night but the weekly rate was $150.
The beach was not as pretty as the national seashore but it was still very nice. Here you could drive up and down it as well but there were pylons keeping you from driving to the water’s edge. You are allowed to build a fire almost anywhere on the beach and we took advantage of this several times that week, even cooking a big breakfast on the fire one morning.
Port A sits at the entrance to Corpus Christi’s port so many ships enter the channel between it and the next island, St John. It can be entertaining to watch the ships go by. Some are extremely large and standing on the jetty they glide by very close.
The jetty was built in the 1940’s if you are to believe the dates stamped in to the concrete. It protrudes more than a quarter mile out in to the ocean to protect the shipping channel and is a very popular fishing spot. Many camp in their cars or campers right next to it and fish round the clock. I gave the fishing a try but didn’t have any luck. This pelican joined me one day. He walked a long way down the jetty to stand very possessively next to my tackle box and eyeball me. I suppose he thought I’d get sick of fishing and throw out the shrimp I was using for bait.
Port A had more pelicans than any other place I’ve visited. During a walk I discovered this group on the University of Texas campus. A sign indicated that the area was for birds affected by the oil spill. There were cages for some birds including an owl and a hawk but these pelicans were obviously free to come and go as they wished.
Port A was a fun little town with quaint shops and quirky restaurants and bars. It was not very busy while I was there and some of its businesses were closed. It appeared to be gearing up for spring break and I imagine it is a hoppin little place in the summer.