Are you looking for the best beach in Port Aransas to visit this year? You have come to the right place! We are a local Texas family with a deep love for the beach and we travel there as often as can. The Port Aransas area is one of the best stretches of coastline in the state to visit – so, great choice!
Located just a few hours from Austin and Houston, and one of the closest coastal beaches to Dallas, Port Aransas is a fantastic area for families, couples, and getaways with friends.
With waves great for boogie boarding, amazing, fishing, surf lessons, and stretches of serene sand, there are plenty of options to choose from. Spoiler alert! Whitecap Beach and Malaquite Beach are our favorites – see why below!
Visiting soon and planning in a hurry? We’ve got you covered!
Best Things to do:
- Boogie Board at Whitecap Beach
- Take a surf lesson at Port Aransas Beach
- Watch a Sea Turtle Release at Padre Island National Seashore
- Go Glow Kayaking at night
- See dolphins on a sunset cruise
- Rent a golf cart
Best Places to Stay:
Best Beach in Port Aransas
Port Aransas is located on Mustang Island which then connects to North Padre Island. The best beaches in Port Aransas are located along the island and are just a few miles apart from one another.
The best Texas beaches in Port Aransas are accessible via three routes: Port Aransas car ferry, driving over the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway via 358 from Corpus Christi, or the Redfish Bay Causeway from Aransas Pass.
The map of Port Aransas beaches below shows the best spots along this section of Texas coastline to visit either as a day trip, weekend getaway, or long vacation.
Port Aransas Beach Park
- Port Aransas, TX 78373
- Parking: $12/car
Port Aransas Beach is the central hub and located in one of the best beach towns in Texas. Marked by its iconic pier, and miles of sand stretching down the coastline with plenty of people, there is also plenty of space if you drive further down the beach.
Top things to do in Port Aransas include surf lessons, deep sea fishing tours, boogie boarding, fresh seafood meals, birding, swimming and beach naps, and nature walks.
This beach is just a few minutes from downtown with all its cute shops and restaurants, so a very convenient beach to visit. We love Irie’s Island Food for Jamaican jerk chicken. Or check out Rollin’ Tide for a shrimp boil on the beach! Renting a golf cart is Port Aransas is a popular activity to jet around town and easily find a beach parking spot with a smaller footprint.
You can park on the beach here which made us nervous the first time, but it is super easy! Grab a beach pass from a local store or from the stand after you arrive ($12). Park on the parked sand that lines the road and then set up your space in front of your vehicle. Don’t drive past the packed sand right along the road – we see someone getting towed out by a friendly neighbor every time we go! We were fine in our sedan though – not too worry!
To be completely honest, Port Aransas Beach is not our favorite beach in the area. It is much more crowded than others that we have visited, which in turn, makes it not as clean. It is a great central location to stay and very fun to visit to visit the Port Aransas pier, but not the prettiest beach in Port Aransas.
Best Places to Stay Near Port Aransas Beach:
- Budget-Friendly Condo for 4: This place has amazing views, just steps from the beach, near all the fun that Port A has to offer, AND a great price!
- Seahorse Cove: If you need something bigger, this one is a great option. It has beds for 12 people and just a few blocks from Port Aransas Beach.
- Alister Square Inn: This inn is our favorite in Port A. It features easy beach access, clean rooms, and a budget-friendly price.
IB Magee Beach Park
- Location: 321 N on the Beach, Port Aransas, TX 78373
- Parking: $12 per vehicle
IB Magee Beach Park is a wide expanse of beach with day use areas as well as a coastal campground with full RV hook-ups for those that want to fall asleep to the sound of waves crashing.
A main draw to this Port A beach is the large fishing pier which is known to be a great fishing spot. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins too!
Just north of Port Aransas Beach along the coastline, you can walk from one to the other along the sand.
Parking is allowed on the beach with a $12 beach permit with covered picnic tables. This makes for a convenient visit, but still with plenty of sand space between the cars and the water.
- 5009 TX-361, Port Aransas, TX 78373
- Free Admission with lodging
So Cinnamon Shore is not actually a beach, but rather a small beachfront community in Port Aransas along Mile Marker 39. The community to split into two sections, Cinnamon Shores North and Cinnamon Shores South.
Residents, and vacationers staying in the homes in Cinnamon Shore have access to the long stretch of beach lining the waterfront condos for a fun day in the sun. Most easily accessed by golf cart (you can rent them onsite or some rentals come with them!), you can also enter the beach on foot from the boardwalks.
The beach is beautiful and clean here, and also not too crowded due to the limited access from outside the community (there are no parking lots). Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent which is super convenient when you are traveling!
The community is filled with luxury condos, as well as several amenities. You’ll find shops, restaurants, pools, lawn games, fire pits, playgrounds, green space, live music, fitness center, and seasonal activities.
There are many condos for rent here, all with their own amenities and special features. You can view them all here.
Here are a few of our favorites!
- Beautiful Beach Home: This newly built condo is so tastefully decorated with modern, coastal décor and has its own private, heated pool! It has two bedrooms and sleeps 7. Just a few minutes drive by golf cart to the beach, and guess what? The golf cart is included in the rental along with credit for other necessary beach gear.
- Quiet, Luxury Condo: This gorgeous condo is on the smaller side with just one bedroom, but sleeps 4 comfortably. Recently remodeled with tons of natural light, you’ll also love the central location to easily access all the amenities on the property.
- Oceanview Condo: This option sleeps six, and also has an INCREDIBLE view of the ocean. Modern and beautifully decorated with a balcony too, this condo checks all the boxes. You’ll love the view from not only the balcony, but also from the master suite! There isn’t a golf cart included, but the beach is just steps away!
Rockport Beach Park
- 319 Broadway St, Rockport, TX 78382
- $10 per vehicle entrance fee; $40 annual pass ($20 for locals)
Rockport Beach is a calm, lovely beach just north of Port Aransas. It is has a charming small-town feel, active marina, and beautiful beaches. The beach is a stretch of white sand a mile long with a great swimming space, water sports, and a great spot to just soak up the sand and build a sandcastle.
If you ask a Texas local where the best beach is for little ones, you will often hear “Rockport Beach!” The beach is protected here and therefore more gentle for playing in the surf than other Port A beaches. You’ll find shallow waters and a very swimmable beach at Rockport.
Several dozen covered picnic tables are on site on a first come, first served basis. Rockport is also a popular spot for fishing with boat rentals available. The beach is clean, well-maintained, and litter free with restroom facilities. Bonfires are not permitted here.
Head into town for some tasty seafood at Latitude 28 02 or JJ’s Cafe. The Fulton Historic Mansion, Half Moon Reef Lighthouse, and Texas maritime Museum are all great places to explore if you need a little break from the sun at this Gulf Coast Beach in Texas.
Places to Stay near Rockport Beach:
- Lighthouse Inn: There aren’t a lot of hotels that I would recommend over a beach home rental, but we do love the Lighthouse Inn. Unique, historic, cozy and includes a pool, great location, and tasty breakfast option. Rooms sleep 2 or 4.
- Remodeled Historic Home: This beach house is a beauty! It boasts TWO master suites and sleeps up to 10 people. You’ll find bat parking, a nearby boat launch, and just an 8 minute walk to Rockport Beach.
- Rockport Beach Cottage: This cottage is budget-friendly (yay!), and just a few minutes walk to the marina and Rockport Beach. This sweet space sleeps two people, and has incredible reviews.
- Dog-Friendly Beach House: Pet lovers rejoice! You are welcome to bring your furry friend with you to this highly rated beach rental in Rockport. Great central location and walking distance to the beach, downtown, and pier.
- 20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
- $10 per vehicle or $5 for pedestrian or cyclist
Malaquite Beach is the farthest beach from Port Aransas on this list, but only 40 minutes away. You want to know why we included it? Because it is hands down OUR FAVORITE BEACH and so deserving of a spot on our beach trip itinerary!
Malaquite Beach is a part of the national park system in Padre Island National Seashore. It is much less crowded than other beaches, and therefore serene and spacious with the most beautiful beach in Port Aransas to explore.
The best activities at Malaquite Beach are swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, windsurfing, birding, fishing, and participating in ranger activities such a beach walks and educational talks.
This beach is only open from 9am-5pm each day, so not the place to watch the sunset. But it is sometimes open earlier than 9am – and that is when they open sea turtle hatchling releases to the public at sunrise! Follow their social media for select dates throughout the summer.
Malaquite Beach has a parking lot at the Visitor’s Center. You cannot park on the beach here. However, if you have the proper high clearance, 4 wheel drive vehicle, you can actually drive all the way down the rest of the beach to South Padre Island (60 miles) with a brief detour in Corpus Christi around the water channel. Getting towed out from the sand is quite costly, so check with the park for requirements before venturing out across the sand!
You can camp at Malaquite Beach, but reservations are not available; they are first come, first served. Other great lodging options nearby include these gems:
- Two Bedroom Beach Home: With canal access and gorgeous views, Casa Buenas Dias is a great option just outside of Padre Island National Seashore.
- Luxurious Townhome: This gorgeous spot offers three bedrooms with beds for 8, a beautiful tropical community pool, and an easy walk to the beach.
- Nearby Hotels: None of these hotels knock my socks off, but there are a couple good options if you’d prefer to go that route.
Mustang Island State Park
- 9394 TX-361, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
- $5 for adults; children are free
You are going to love this beach in Port Aransas! Mustang Island State Park is a gorgeous beach on the coastline just south of the town of Port A. Filled with five miles of beautiful beach, fishing and swimming are both very popular here. Paddling maps are also available for exploring by paddleboard or kayak.
Five miles of coastline in this beach-y state park means that you can walk for miles down the beach and find the perfect secluded spot for some true peace and a nap under the umbrella.
Since Mustang Island is a state park, you can enter for free with your Texas State Parks Pass, otherwise it is $5 each for adults. Seasonal events take place here, usually for free, so keep an eye on their calendar for nature walks, birding activities, star gazing, and more.
🏞 We are huge fans of the Texas State Park system and always renew our pass each year. If you need more convincing to get your own annual pass, check out our other Texas State Parks posts next (opens in a new tab!).
Best Lodging Closest to Mustang Island State Park:
- Oceanfront Home: This beautiful beach home is custom built, with STUNNING views and sleeps up to 14 people! This home is complete luxury with so many windows for panoramic views and a private pool. Grab your family and friends and stay just steps from Mustang Island State Park.
- Beautiful Beach Home: This rental has incredible value with a lower price than you would expect from a beach house with beautiful ocean views and room for 12 people! Enjoy the private pool and take a boardwalk stroll to the beach. This home is also right outside of the state park.
- Beach Townhome: This beach house is located on the south side of Mustang Island State Park and sleeps 6. There is a heated, community pool, easy beach access, great reviews, and a budget-friendly price.
- Beach camping is also available at this state park. You can choose to camp directly on the beach with no amenities, or in an upgraded spot over the dunes with a picnic table and electric hookups. Your parks pass will also get you a discount on your second night of camping.
- Hawthorn Suites: If you’d rather book a hotel, Hawthorn Suites is the hotel closest to the park with the good reviews (although not excellent). It includes a breakfast buffet, beach access, and some rooms have kitchens too.
- 14802 Whitecap Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
- Parking: $12 per vehicle; walk -ins free
Whitecap Beach is a gorgeous Port Aransas beach option just a few miles south from town to North Padre Island. Whitecap Beach is a gorgeous stretch of beach that sits firmly on our family-favorites list.
The sunsets are golden and beautiful here and beach bonfires are allowed for hot dog and marshmallow roasting. The wind was too strong on our last visit for a fire, but we can’t wait to head back and try again in the near future. Restrooms, lifeguards, and beach parking are available on site here.
The water is rougher at Whitecap Beach than at some other beaches (see Rockport above for a more gentle beach). The red flag is often in effect here, which means that lifeguards want you to stay within waist-deep water. The water stays shallow so far out though, and the waves stayed pretty gentle, so our children love boogie boarding here and having a fantastic time.
We did see many, many younger children here, but this is not my first choice recommendation with littles.
We booked the most adorable condo just a block from the beach earlier this year and we can’t wait to return. It was beautifully decorated, very clean, and had everything we needed! We walked to the beach each day, without having to fine a parking spot and it was magical! Check their rates and availability here.
If they are booked, check the map for others in the same little condo community. They all are walking distance to Whitecap Beach, and a grocery store, and there is also a pool onsite.
Pro Tip! We packed our handy wagon (usually loaded with sports gear!), and loaded it up with a cooler, chairs, umbrella, boogie boards, and beach bags to make the walk to the beach even easier. We highly recommend a wagon like this one for beach days. We have 10 year old twins and cannot fathom why we didn’t buy one of these when they were little – life would have been sooo much easier!
Padre Balli Beach
- 15820 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
- $12 Parking Permit Required
Padre Balli Beach Park is 347 acres of beautiful, sandy beach and one of the most underrated, best beaches in Port Aransas. This beach is a great spot to swim, fish, and relax on the sand. There is an elevated beach house that also makes a beautiful backdrop for sunsets!
Sometimes it is difficult to find the restrooms at these large beach parks. You’ll find one here near Mile Marker 230- so take note!
There are also paved RV and premium grassy tent campsites available for those who want to fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves. A new shower house is a great addition to this beach park. We do not recommend booking the cheaper, older campground spots as they are crammed, without restrooms, and the road is awful.
If you’d prefer a beach condo, check out the lodging options above near Mustang Island State Park and Malaquite Beach. Padre Balli Beach is just next door.
Which Beach in Port Aransas will you visit next?
With all the beautiful beaches in this area, you really can’t go wrong! But for a serene, relaxed visit, I’d head to Malaquite Beach for sure! For some adventure and boogie boarding, Whitecap Beach is a great choice! Why not stay a few days and visit all the beaches in Port Aransas?
Read More about a Beach Trip to Port Aransas
- Things to Do in Port Aransas
- Tips for Renting a Golf Cart in Port Aransas
- Best Beach Towns in Texas