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10 Best Things To Do In Port Isabel, Texas - Updated 2019

10 Best Things To Do In Port Isabel, Texas - Updated 2019
Kit
Kit
Updated

Port Isabel is a charming and colorful city full of gulf shore breezes, friendly dolphins, and spectacular sunset dining. Home to Texas’ only town square with a lighthouse, you’re in for a real treat if Port Isabel is on your radar.

While the state of Texas has layers and layers of intrigue all on its own, Port Isabel is filled with haunting ghost stories and swashbuckling pirate tales - one of which includes undiscovered buried treasure over on nearby South Padre Island. Dating back to 1519, when Spanish explorer Alonzo de Pineda first charted its course, Port Isabel’s colorful​ delights are sure to dazzle you. Continue reading to learn about all the best things to do in Port Isabel.

1. Port Isabel Lighthouse

Port Isabel Lighthouse is both ancient and alluring. Her heavy brick walls have withstood the lashings of wind and water for more than a century. A dominant feature at the southern tip of the Gulf of Mexico, Port Isabel Lighthouse has brought many a sailor safely to shore - even those tempestuous pirates. Open daily, it’s certainly worth a gander as you step into ancient Spanish times.

Port Isabel Lighthouse

Address: 421 E. Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 9 am - 5 pm

Website: Port Isabel Lighthouse

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

2. Lighthouse Square


After staring up at the sturdy rays of Port Isabel Lighthouse, make sure you budget some time for Lighthouse Square. Dotted with quirky shops and restaurants, you’ll be glad you soaked up this quaint stretch of town. Top off your day with some local fudge and sail right into that setting sun. You’ll never want to return to a reality that lacks the hope of a glimpse at some glistening pirate booty.

Lighthouse Square

Address: North Garcia Street, Port Isabel, TX 78578

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

3. Port Isabel Historical Museum


This is an exciting dip into the past, soaked with artifacts from the Mexican-American War. It’s no Metropolitan Museum of Art, being a smaller production with more limited means, but well worth the afternoon stroll while you work your way through that local fudge. Make sure you check out its renowned fish mural, painted in 1906. Little bits of Texan history come to life here, making it well worth the visit.

Port Isabel Historical Museum

Address: 317 E Railroad Ave, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Saturday, from 10 am - 4 pm

Website: Port Isabel Historical Museum

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

4. Pirate's Landing Fishing Pier


Put on your comfiest flip flops and go explore the longest fishing pier in the (huge) state of Texas. Whether you’re a tried and true fisherman or not, the ocean breezes that sweep up to hug you are well worth the visit. The folks who maintain this pier keep it in tip-top shape.

As you make your way back, set your sights on Pirate’s Landing Restaurant for dinner. The drinks are spectacular and the locally caught seafood is fresh as can be. Feeling like you’re aboard the Black Pearl and dining with the friendliest of pirates, neither the kids nor the adults ever seem to want to peel themselves away from the treasure trove of fun that awaits visitors of Pirate’s Landing.

Pirate's Landing Fishing Pier

Address: 501 E Maxan St, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Website: Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

5. Black Dragon Pirate Ship


I fought so hard not to start this excerpt with, “Ahoy, mateys!” It’s just the first thing I think whenever I see photos for this adventure cruise. The staff at Black Dragon really ensures families have a blast while sailing its charted course.

Here, you’ll learn to fight like a pirate, speak like a pirate, hunt for treasure like a pirate, and hang with the jolliest crew of scoundrels this side of Captain Jack Sparrow. Make absolutely certain you add this island adventure to your Port Isabel itinerary. You’ll laugh about it for years to come.

Black Dragon Pirate Ship

Address: 501 E Maxan St, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Website: Black Dragon Pirate Ship

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

6. South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Center

A post shared by scottetracy (@scottetracy) on Apr 26, 2016 at 12:13pm PDT


This will be a fun-filled afternoon, brimming with family delights. The Sea Life Center offers unique encounters with local starfish, crabs, octopus, and more. Touch tanks allow visitors to get hands-on with these fishy friends.

Once those introductions are complete, make sure you seek out Captain Scarlet Colley, a.k.a. the Dolphin Whisperer, and her faithful friend, Rozzi the Dolphin Dog. Hop aboard their boat to seek out the local family of wild dolphins living in Laguna Madre Bay. This is a really special treat. Rozzi even invites you to bring your four-legged friends with you! Call when you arrive, as this is a small family affair - with only six on board at any time - and get ready to have a blast.

South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Center

Address: 110 N Garcia St, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 10 am - 4 pm

Website: South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Center

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

7. Dolphin Docks

Source: Pexels

Once Captain Scarlett Colley and Rozzi introduce you to the local dolphin family in Laguna Madre Bay, you’re going to want to spend even more time with these friendly sea creatures. Their perpetual smiles are infectious.

Dolphin Docks offers everything from dolphin watching, to bay fishing, to eco tours, to sunset cruises and private charters. Both the dolphins and the staff are so friendly and engaging, you’ll be sad to see the shoreline come back into sight.

Dolphin Docks

Address: 510 E Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 7 am - 7 pm

Website: Dolphin Docks

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

8. South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center


South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is a great way to explore wildlife amidst lovely coastal breezes of Texas. Butterflies fly freely amidst the colorful birds. Make sure you climb the center’s five-story tower, offering spectacular views of your dolphin friends over in Laguna Madre.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Address: 6801 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 9 am - 7 pm

Website: South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

9. Gravity Park


Now that you’ve dipped in and out of many aquatic and historical delights, it’s time to head on over to Gravity Park, an amusement park on nearby South Padre Island. Here, you’ll dive off the world’s tallest reverse-bungee in the world, a.k.a. The Rocket, soak in full views of the island on the Skycoaster, and hit the go-cart tracks. Don’t forget to battle through a little mini-golf tournament, either. Feel free to bounce all your cares away on a huge trampoline or scale to new heights on Gravity Park’s climbing wall.

Gravity Park

Address: 106 W Marlin St, South Padre Island, TX 78597

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 7 pm - 12 am

Website: Gravity Park

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

10. Virginia's Spa

Source: Pexels

Before you head back to reality, stop into the highly-recommended Virginia’s spa. Why not close out your trip with a 60-minute Swedish massage or, depending on your level of activity during your time here, a deep tissue sports massage? A little mani-pedi action will carry sweet memories of your time in Port Isabel during your first few days back in the office.

Virginia's Spa

Address: 408 E Queen Isabella Blvd, Port Isabel, TX 78578

Hours of Operation: Daily, from 9 am - 5 pm

Website: Virginia’s Spa

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Port Isabel and also compare the prices with Vacation Rentals in Port Isabel

A charming slice of Texas history

Port Isabel will sweep you away with its colorful character and bayside breezes. Steeped in rich history, dolphin delights, and pirate booty, you’re not likely to forget your time in this perfect slice of Texas charm.

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Kit Kittelstad is a Freelance Writer who specializes in higher education and lifestyle articles, with a focus on travel pieces. She also serves as an Adjunct Communications Professor at Pace...Read more

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