Port Aransas, TX
I’m so glad we are “travel people.” We just love to go. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a comfort that my home provides and I love, but if I had to name a favorite hobby, it would be traveling. Having said that, my children have been to the beach in California; they have been to European beaches, but they had never been to a Texas beach until our summer 2018 trip to good ‘ole Port Aransas. This little beach town has grown tremendously since I was a kid, and the ferry line to get to the island can be over an hour wait, but it still feels quaint when you are there. Port A was in the direct line of Hurricane Harvey barely a year ago and it's amazing to see how much has been rebuilt and how resilient the people have been. We were told that 75% of the island has been rebuilt in a year! By next year you'll never know it was almost completely destroyed by Harvey.
If I had to name a second favorite hobby, it would be eating (is that a hobby?!); we scored some amazing food on our trip!
First up, Kody’s Restaurant and Bar. This place has mini golf out front, a relaxed beach-y bar scene, kid friendly, and yummy food. Several restaurants on the island will prepare your catch of the day for you (you bring the fish, they prepare/cook it), but Kody’s was recommended to us by a local fishing guide and it did not disappoint! Black Drum was on the menu and you could choose two ways: blackened, breaded with a garlic sauce, fried, or grilled. We chose garlic and fried, based on his recommendation. Everyone just loved it…we talked about that meal all night. The bar service was just as good as the food, I had a pinacolada and Richard had a Texas Mule (see below copper cup), its like a moscow mule but made with Texas Whiskey.
Fins Grill and Icehouse was another big hit! My husband and I both got different varieties of Cajun-style dishes and shared. Everyone seemed happy and full after! This restaurant is right on the water, so I took our three children out to see the boats and fish while we waited to order. I will definitely be back!
MacDaddy’s is a seafood/BBQ/American restaurant. I was apprehensive at first…seafood and BBQ? It was such an unexpected delight! The restaurant is new and modern (probably after being rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey) and the wait staff was phenomenal—probably the best of our trip! They had a large variety of beer on draft, and we all loved our meals! I had grilled shrimp over rice, and Richard had fried chicken. Richard said it was some of the best fried chicken he had ever had! I would also like to note, our son’s name is Mac…get it?
We ate at several other establishments, but I thought the three above were worth mentioning! On our next trip we will have to go to The Brewery as MacDaddy's and Fins were both excellent.
Richard, Macy, and my brother Kristopher went on a guided fishing tour in the bay, and they all had an amazing time. A video and the guide’s information is found below. You won't find a better guide than Captain Cash in Port Aransas.
Macy and I were supposed to go parasailing, but the original scheduled time was cancelled due to boat maintenance issues, and our second scheduled date was also cancelled because the boat was not yet fixed. *sigh*
We stayed at The Commons on Seashell Drive; it was a two-story condo that had living/dining/kitchen and a half bath downstairs, and three bedrooms/two bathrooms upstairs. This particular unit had stainless steel appliances, a dishwasher, in-unit laundry, and provided about two bath towels per guest. The listing said it would sleep 10, I would say more like seven comfortably. The front door was unlocked via code which I liked, because it meant we didn’t have to keep up with another key! The décor was nice (typical beach style) and it had shiplap walls with a cedar ceiling. Overall, we were happy and I would recommend!! (Side Note: if the upstairs shower curtain was not FULLY closed and ANY water leaked onto the bathroom floor, it would run through the ceiling and drip downstairs. We called to let them know, and they were aware and acted like it wasn’t a big deal).
We booked through VRBO and the daily rate was great for this time of year, much cheaper than many other places we considered. Overall we were very satisfied with the accommodations, the only thing better would have been beach front. With that being said, the condo was no more than a five minute drive to the beach. We may book directly through Life in Paradise rentals next time, so that we would avoid the VRBO fees.
We took our children to the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi on our last full day…it was wonderful! I honestly thought as we were paying that it was a little bit expensive (around $130 for two adults and two children), but it did offer more to do than most other aquariums we have been to. The aquarium is also dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and rehabilitation of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico, so I know the admission price goes to a great cause. There were multiple viewing tanks, a dolphin show, a 4-D theater, children’s play area, multiple opportunities to touch various sea animals, a café/grill, a very clean facility, etc. We stayed about four hours, which I felt like was a good amount of time. They did have a large splash pad area, but we did not wear swim suits so we skipped this exhibit.
There is nothing quite like standing at the edge of the ocean, and looking out at water meeting sky. To share it with my family was just icing on the cake. Typically, when we come back from a vacation, I feel just as worn out as I did before we left! I enjoy our time, and am always glad we went, but hello three small children!! This time, Richard and I really felt like we were able to relax some. Our family of five stayed for six days; all along the way, we had people coming and going at different times. My brother and sister in law came on Monday and left Thursday, my grandmother, grandfather, and sister came on Tuesday and left Friday, and my mom came Tuesday and left Wednesday (she was only able to stay one night because she had another family obligation in Oklahoma later that week). Everyone was there Tuesday, and that is when we all ate at Fins—see picture below.
We have decided to make this an annual trip, minimally, and it completely warmed my heart that my kids enjoyed it so much. Here’s to many beach trips in our future!
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