Relaxed Hotel Less than a Mile from the Beach
Relaxed Mustang Island, Texas, is a popular barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. You can hear the water from the wide porches of Plantation Suites & Conference Center in Port Aransas, the island’s only town. The porches, which wrap all the way around the first and second floors of the sunshine-colored hotel, are lined with rocking chairs. You can stop here to kick back and watch the sunsets over Plantation Suites’ landscaped grounds lined with palms. You’re also within a 10-mile drive of Mustang Island State Park, a peaceful place to kayak, bird-watch, or lay along the beach.
You’ll retire each night to a spa king or two-queen suite, which includes a flat-screen TV and WiFi access. Each morning, a complimentary continental breakfast is served downstairs in the dining area. There’s plenty to do on the property: if you’ve been out fishing for the day, you can bring your catch back and prepare it in the onsite fish-cleaning house. There’s also a heated outdoor pool and a hot tub.
Port Aransas, Texas: Sunny Beach Town with Excellent Fishing
Port Aransas is located at the northern end of Mustang Island, a narrow landmass that stretches for 18 miles off the Gulf Coast in Texas. The area’s frequent sunshine and uncrowded public beaches have made it increasingly popular with vacationing families as well as spring-breaking college students. Out-of-towners often frequent the beachside clubs and bars, or rent kayaks and surfboards to paddle through the waves.
Fishing is a major pastime in Port Aransas. More than 20 competitive tournaments are held here, thanks to the tuna, kingfish, and marlin you can catch out on the water (keep your eyes peeled for dolphins while you’re out there). When you return to land, bring your catch to one of the island eateries and many of them will grill it for you on the spot.
There are 1,200 acres of tidal flats and undeveloped shore land to explore at the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, which features a boardwalk and three miles of hiking and biking trails. Head up to one of the lookout towers to watch for rare and endangered birds such as the Piping Plover, a stout shorebird with an appetite for crustaceans.