- Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce/Tourist Bureau 403 W. Cotter. (361) 749-5919 or 1-800-45-COAST. Stop by and peruse the visitor’s info.
It is permissible to drive on the beach on Mustang Island. The sand is mostly packed but sometimes the winds builds loose drifts and it is easy to get stuck. If you do get stuck, don’t panic. Stand outside your car looking dumbfounded by the situation and usually a few burly, macho, half-drunk guys will show up in a few minutes to help push you out. Be sure to shake their hands, thank them and offer them a beer if you’ve got it.
To park on the beach requires a beach parking permit available at the Chamber of Commerce and most stores around town. The police patrol the beach looking for problems as well as cars without parking permits.
The closest major airport is Corpus Christi International Airport
Port Aransas is accessible from the north by ferry across the ship channel. As of May 2008, the ferries are free but there is talk of adding a toll. Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day the wait for the ferry can be up to 2 hours from Friday evening through Sunday evening to get on or off the island. During the week during the summer months the wait can still be 45 minutes to an hour during the day. After Labor Day, the waits are usually less than 30 minutes.
There is a causeway across the ship channel from Corpus Christi to Padre Island that makes getting to Port Aransas easier from the south, especially during the summer. The causeway is part of Park Road 22. The major highway to get there is IH-37 from San Antonio. US Hwy 77, which runs from the Mexico border to Waco (where it joins IH-35) intersects IH-37 just west of Corpus Christi.
Port Aransas is very accessible by car, although the main street through town can get very congested on summer weekends. Businesses provide ample free parking for customers and it is possible to park and walk to most shops and restaurants although the heat in the summer can be uncomfortable if you are not used to it.
Port Aransas provides a trolley[dead link] that runs the length of town from the marina to the outlying RV parks for just 25 cents.
- University of Texas Marine Science Institute Visitor Center, Cotter Street, ☎+1 361-749-6729. 8PM-5PM M-F.
- Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. Located at the south end of Ross Avenue behind the Trolley Stop. Includes a long boardwalk extending out over shallow brackish water. The birding is fantastic and includes pelicans, egrets, herons, gulls, terns, cormorants, and many more. Turtles abound. And occasionally you can spot the resident alligator.