Written by melissabowman on 28 May, 2007
Port Aransas was probably the highlight of our trip. Like I have already mentioned before Mustang Island and Padre Island were pretty lifeless, but Port Aransas had more of what we are looking for. We spent most of the day in car driving around but…Read More
Port Aransas was probably the highlight of our trip. Like I have already mentioned before Mustang Island and Padre Island were pretty lifeless, but Port Aransas had more of what we are looking for. We spent most of the day in car driving around but that was because we kept expecting more and then found ourselves further away from that which we already found. In Port Aransas there is an HEB which was great because we needed to pick up a few things and did not want to have to drive all the way back to the main land. There were several souvenir shops, which always have endless beach, wear, shoes, kites, wave boards, mugs, cups, jewelry, tattoos, etc. Anything and everything you could want. There were also many restaurants and places to eat. In Port Aransas is a ferry to Aransas Pass, which eventually will take you back to the main land (Corpus Christi). This ferry ride is free. You drive your car on the ferry and it takes you on a five-minute ride across the ocean. It is the only way from Port Aransas to Aransas Pass. It is pretty cool however, I though you would be able to get out and watch, but you just stay in your car and drive on and drive off. The line for the ferry is not too bad. On our way back it took about 10-15 minutes to get on the ferry. Once you on the other side there really is not much to see. There are several places to fish along the road but other than that we did not see anything worth sticking around for. So we took the ferry back to Port Aransas were we spent some time shopping. There is also a beach in Port Aransas that is one of the most popular beaches in the area and is know for accommodating the family as well as the young college age crowd, we did not get a chance to see the beach but we sure wanted too. Port Aransas was what we were looking for and we enjoyed the little bit busier beach scene. Close
Written by davidjane on 06 Nov, 2005
We met some people who recommended this place because it has "character." The problems with this resort do not fit my description of "character"--they just spell gross. They were as disgusted as us, and they hadn't even seen any bugs yet. My 4-year-old picked up…Read More
We met some people who recommended this place because it has "character." The problems with this resort do not fit my description of "character"--they just spell gross. They were as disgusted as us, and they hadn't even seen any bugs yet. My 4-year-old picked up a dead cockroach within 5 minutes of arriving. Later we found bugs on our newly unpacked clothing, in a water jug we washed out a few hours earlier, under our bed sheets, under the glass table as we were eating breakfast, on the kitchen counter, under my daughter's pillow, etc. Yuck!
In addition, the carpet is badly stained in several places. The eating area light was just resting on the light bulb, and the couch is a stained futon. They say they drain the hot tub between visitors and that it takes 8 to 10 hours to heat up. We had to wait for them to finish "cleaning" our unit when we got there and the hot tub water was already hot (so obviously never drained). The walls were dirty. I had to wash all the dishes in the kitchen before using them, and some of them were unusable. A nonstick frying pan was badly scratched and had leftover burnt food stuck on it. The kitchen burners had tin foil under all the burners (just tacky). The beds felt like they were going to collapse as soon as you sat down on them. My husband looked under one and found that there was no box spring, just a few boards nailed together (and several bugs crawling around). The manager said they were 2 years old. The paint is chipping and there was dirt in corners. My son's feet were dirty after just walking around. The shower had great water pressure, but the shower head is very low, so we had to bend over to use it.
There were a lot of other problems, but this is the highlight. We stayed 2 nights until we could get in touch with the manager because she wasn't in the office when we went by and did not respond to our note and phone call. RCI was very gracious and helped us out. We moved out of there and had a wonderful vacation in spite of this dump of a place. We checked out the Sundial Mustang Towers while we were on the island for our next stay (they were full the week we were there). Although it's not a Gold Crown resort nor the nicest place we've been, it certainly is clean and friendly and appears to be a place we could stay and have fun on our next trip to Port Aransas.
Written by beach_lvr on 01 Oct, 2004
Sept. 26, 2004 - Driving alone down the southern end of I-35, the landscape surrounding the highway begins to turn sandy. I notice a large, black digital sign announcing a 30-minute wait at the ferry landing I know will transport me (and my car) from…Read More
Sept. 26, 2004 - Driving alone down the southern end of I-35, the landscape surrounding the highway begins to turn sandy. I notice a large, black digital sign announcing a 30-minute wait at the ferry landing I know will transport me (and my car) from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas. I follow the signs directing me toward the ferry landing and breathe a sigh of relief when I am waived in to drive on the ferry. There is a HUGE pelican sitting atop of one of the wooden piers, which is just feet from where I am parked and waiting for the ferry to fill up. I've never seen a pelican this large - though I've been here enough times to know that pelicans thrive here. As the ferry begins to move, I breathe another sigh of relief. The ferry leaving the dock is symbolic; allowing me to leave all the stresses of home behind.
After exiting what seems to be the fastest ferry I've ever taken (only a 2-minute ride to the other side), I soon see an old familiar restaurant and make a mental note to take my mom there during this stay. I know that I need to pull into IGA grocers in Port A and pick up a few supplies for the condo that mom and I are staying in. After spending one hour and about $78 for 4-nights worth of supplies and groceries, I pull back out onto Highway 361 and head in the direction of our resort. As I drive through the small town of Port Aransas, I eyeball a few extra gift shops that have popped up recently. Darn, the ice cream parlor that had the frozen yogurt I liked closed down.
It takes about 20 minutes for me to get from downtown Port Aransas to the Sandpiper resort. I know to slow down when I see the Port Royale resort because the Sandpiper is not far from it. The speed limit on Highway 361 is 55 to 70 mph; many people drive 75 to 80. It's a two-lane freeway, so, out of courtesy, if I'm going less than 80 and someone wants to pass me, I'll pull off on the shoulder a bit to let them by (This is what we do out of common courtesy in rural Texas - it's like an unspoken Texas driving rule). As I make the left hand turn into the driveway leading to this beach-front resort, I observe that the entire road leading to this resort is lined with palm trees; the landscaping has been maintained just as nicely as it always has been. Funny that I never see anyone out here working on the landscape, yet it is always well maintained. Feeling anxious about whether or not I'm actually going to get the exact room I had requested, I pull up to the semi circle in front of the Sandpiper to check in, quickly exiting my car and walking (at a quickened pace) toward the front desk clerk. After exchanging speedy pleasantries, I ask the front desk clerk, "Is the room I requested available?" She replied "Yes, it is...number 708, right?" Ahhh, I'm getting my favorite room...I can't imagine it getting any better than that!
After the routine check in, I made my way toward the lobby elevators to collect a luggage cart in order to haul the contents of my car trunk up to the lovely room that awaited me. I remembered that this is far from a full-service resort - no bellmen, no room service - just peace, tranquility, all the amenities of home, and, of course, the beach! As I entered the room, I meticulously took a look around to see what, if anything, had changed about this unit since I was last here. The most noticeable change was the large-screen Sony TV and DVD in the living area and new Sony TV in the bedroom. I think the dining table with four chairs is also new. Looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows that extend all the way from the spacious living area to the large dining area (overlooking the beach, dunes, and Gulf of Mexico), I can see that I checked in just in time to see the sunset. I can sit on the comfy sofa, flip on the new, large screen Sony TV; checking the weather channel as I watch the sunset at the same time.
It does look as though when this unit was new, an interior decorator was hired to decorate in sea foam green. A glance out the window before sunset reveals sand dunes draped in natural flora and fauna. Expect to see prickly pear cactus interspersed amongst natural grasses, sunflowers, and the occasional cat tails (like what you see on many golf courses). A second quick check of the room reveals a guest book; higher quality, double-sided fridge, which dispenses ice and water from the front; large, built-in microwave; dishwasher; stove; coffee maker other small appliances; Chicago Cutlery steak knives; and all the kitchen gadgets, silverware, plates and cups you'll need for your stay. There's a full-sized, newish sofa that folds out into either a full or queen bed, matching love seat, two rocking chairs with matching pads on them, comfortable king bed in the master and probably a queen in the guest bedroom (we rented it as a one bedroom, hence the second bedroom was locked and we were unable to use it. This generally has not happened to us at the resort in the past. Even if we booked a one bedroom in the past, they had always left the second bedroom open; not this time. However, there are also two bathrooms, and we did have full use of both bathrooms while there. Having two bathrooms was nice because my mom and I could each have our own.
The day after check in, mom noticed the hookup for DSL in the room (it's available now in all rooms). Maids brought us six fresh towels, washcloths, and hand towels daily. They also made up the bed and took out the trash for us on a daily basis. They do a more thorough cleaning once weekly.
We spent some of our time on the beach, at the pool (very few people at this time of year), or shopping in nearby downtown Port Aransas. We encountered only about three other people anywhere even semi-close to the Sandpiper pool/beach areas. For the first two days, the lounge chairs were sitting at the end of the boardwalk (beachside), as they always have been in the past. The lounge chairs for beach lounging disappeared on the third day. Unfortunately, it appears that Sandpiper has changed its lounge chair policy, and they suggest you bring your own lounge chair if your scheduled arrival is post labor day. Ok, this new policy just screams laziness and greed to me. I spent about an hour Tuesday evening in the hot tub (adjacent to pool area). There is a sign on the fence surrounding the hot tub that states, "No one under the age of 18 allowed." You can easily see that the sign USED to say, "No one under 16 allowed." You can see that they don't exactly cater to children here. While we have always seen a meager few children here, there have never been more than that. You must be at least 25 with a credit card to book a stay here. This lowers the possibility of having partying spring breakers around.
We paid $155 per night at the Sandpiper, plus taxes. The total for four nights was over $700. In truth, because of their check-in/check-out times, we only got three days, but paid for four. When you're paying in excess of $150 per night, you don't expect a 4pm check-in with an 11am check-out. What that basically does is shorten your stay - all while the resort is still making money. I felt that check-out should be a more reasonable 12 noon and check-in should be 3pm or earlier. That is the standard rule at most hotels. Check-in is so late that, by the time you unload your car and groceries for the condo, it’s too late in the evening to get full use of what the resort has to offer. Surely, the resort realizes this. Never mind the fact that I was so pooped after the long drive, unloading the car, putting away groceries, and organizing everything inside the condo. No way did I have energy to take a shower, change into my bathing suit, and hawk my way down to the hot tub at 7:30pm. I was doing well to catch glimpses of the sunset as I multi-tasked, putting things away and organizing.
Temperatures ranged between 73˚F and around 90˚F.
Written by beach_lvr on 20 Sep, 2004
Resorts - The best properties to stay at here are: Sandpiper, Seagull (harder to find accommodations for this hotel on the web, but as nice as Sandpiper), Mustang Towers, Sandcastle and Port Royale (not as affordable as the aforementioned).
I will say that I…Read More
Resorts - The best properties to stay at here are: Sandpiper, Seagull (harder to find accommodations for this hotel on the web, but as nice as Sandpiper), Mustang Towers, Sandcastle and Port Royale (not as affordable as the aforementioned).
I will say that I have never seen a lot of children at The Sandpiper because they really don't cater to children (as evidenced by their hot tub rule - no children under 16). It has always been quiet at the Sandpiper, and I highly recommend it for couples/adults. They offer extremely spacious two to three bedroom condos (larger square footage than Mustang Towers), floor-to-ceiling windows in the living and dining area (for an exceptional ocean/beach view), laundry room, medium-sized and unusually empty pool, BBQ pits for guest use in the pool area (they also usually leave out bags of charcoal for guest use for free), large living and dining area, spacious kitchen with all you will need to prepare most any meal, spacious master bedrooms with king beds, DSL internet access in all rooms, spacious balconies with incredible views, ping-pong table, shuffleboard and game room located one level below lobby level, library with free coffee (lobby level) with two comfortable, lobby-level lounge areas.
Restaurants - Pelican's Landing restaurant is where we have eaten most often because the prices were more reasonable than Trout Street Bar & Grill. The seafood was fresh, there was friendly service, and the overall meal quality very good. Pelican’s Landing does seem to have a more romantic atmosphere, whereas, Trout Street is very much a noisy, family-oriented establishment. Admittedly, Trout Street was tastier, but quite a lot more expensive. Trout Street has a much better view (boats and harbor), food quality is slightly higher and service slightly better. Marcel's Restaurant has been raved about repeatedly by my sister, her husband, and a host of other people. I've been dying to try them. However, every time we have tried to dine there, the restaurant was closed for one reason or another. I would therefore recommend calling ahead.
For fast food, I highly recommend Port A Pizzeria, for their delicious pizza, and the local Whataburger.
If you should find yourself in Corpus, you definitely need to check out Snoopy's on the Pier. I believe you can see this seafood restaurant from the causeway. Extremely casual dress, fresh seafood, indoor or outdoor tables. This place is almost always packed because the food is good!
Written by kstraveler on 07 Apr, 2004
A great deal of our Mustang Island vacation was spent in Aransas Pass, Port Lavaca, Olivia, Vanderbilt, and Edna. While visiting Olivia, I asked if anyone minded driving about 10 additional miles out of the way so that I could see the Texas Baptist…Read More
A great deal of our Mustang Island vacation was spent in Aransas Pass, Port Lavaca, Olivia, Vanderbilt, and Edna. While visiting Olivia, I asked if anyone minded driving about 10 additional miles out of the way so that I could see the Texas Baptist Encampment in Palacios. It was still early in the day, and there were no objections, and away we drove on a trip to relive old adventures from when I was still a kid.
Amazingly enough, we were able to find the camp with no problem. It sits right on Matagorda Bay and has wonderful water views. Several of the buildings that we used had been torn down and replaced with newer and nicer buildings. I was especially sad to see that the big old house that I had stayed in the last time I attended the camp was gone. It had been such a beautiful home at one time and was still surrounded with fig trees when I was there. I remember that the figs were ripe and on the last day of camp I picked a lot of them and took them home for my mother to make fig preserves. What a nice memory! I also remember the wonderful fishing dock where we could catch a lot of fish with just a cane pole. We drove through the camp and I let all of the memories wash over me as I saw familiar trees, fishing docks, and buildings that I had seen so many years ago.
Written by kstraveler on 26 Dec, 2003
While walking on the beach, we met a couple from West Virginia who were spending three months in Port Aransas. They told us about many activities in the area, and especially about the birding opportunities, since they were really into that. They were also collecting…Read More
While walking on the beach, we met a couple from West Virginia who were spending three months in Port Aransas. They told us about many activities in the area, and especially about the birding opportunities, since they were really into that. They were also collecting barnacles and had plans to create a sculpture from them.
We decided to explore the area and to discover the fun stuff in Port Aransas. We began by reading everything we could find about activities and sites to see and then driving around to also see what we could discover.
We found that the marina area was a fun place for us. We love sea birds, large freighters, fishing, and fishing boats. The marina provided many hours of walking and watching people fish. We also enjoyed watching the preparations for taking the various boats out for shrimping and fishing. While we were there each day, large freighters made their way past us as they journeyed to ports for loading or unloading their cargoes.
Since one of our favorite "fun" activities is eating, we also enjoyed eating at the many restaurants in Port Aransas. Our favorite was Virginia's on the Bay. The restaurant has many windows looking out on the bay, and we loved to watch the boats as they moved along in the bay while we ate.
We love Port Aransas and plan to get back down there soon.
My sister and I grew up in south Texas, and both my parents were born within a little over an hour's drive from Mustang Island. We vacationed on Mustang Island several years during our youth, but in those days everyone referred to the island as…Read More
My sister and I grew up in south Texas, and both my parents were born within a little over an hour's drive from Mustang Island. We vacationed on Mustang Island several years during our youth, but in those days everyone referred to the island as Padre Island. In those days, we took a long ferry ride from Port Aransas over to the island, and then drove up the beach for several miles, where my Mom and Dad would pitch our tent and put up cots and set up a home away from home for us. Since many nights we went to sleep with sandy, gritty accumulations on our feet and legs, I had been left with a few bad memories of those vacations. We always enjoyed swimming in the Gulf, hunting for seashells, and playing on the beach, but there was an absence of the creature comforts we enjoyed at home. In those days, everything except sand and the Gulf had to be brought with you to the island, since there were no stores or restaurants.
Our trip in December, 2003, erased a lot of the bad memories and created a lot of new ones for us. We revisited several spots on Mustang Island with special memories for us. We also enjoyed several wonderful seafood restaurants, shopped at a large modern grocery store. During our vacation, we were also able to attend a big family reunion in Vanderbilt, find and visit the site of the old original school in Olivia where our Dad taught in the early 1930s, visit the cemetery in Olivia where our parents and a number of other relatives are buried, and to decorate graves of grandparents and great grandparents in Edna, Texas. The photographs of numerous headstones will help us record more of our family history for our children and grandchildren. Maybe in the future they will want to also make the journey to Mustang Island
Written by kstraveler on 26 Feb, 2006
We made several trips to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, and saw many birds and other wildlife. We did not see any whooping cranes. We talked with the people in the visitor center and asked how best to view them. They recommended that…Read More
We made several trips to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge, and saw many birds and other wildlife. We did not see any whooping cranes. We talked with the people in the visitor center and asked how best to view them. They recommended that we take a boat trip from Port Aransas or Rockport, so we took the trip from Port Aransas.
It took a little over an hour to make the trip. Along the way, we were alerted about any birds or other wildlife that could be seen from the boat. We saw the flamingo that had arrived in the area, by mistake because of a hurricane. We had several sightings of whooping cranes after we arrived in the refuge. The birds seemed calm and unbothered by our boat, and we were able to photograph them and watch them while they moved about. We even saw three of them take flight, a rather uncommon sighting since they do not fly much. We had a wonderful trip, and we plan to take the boat out again next January when we return to Port Aransas for the month. Close
We made a day trip down to South Padre Island to look at a few potential condos for a month's stay next winter. We had a two and one-half hour drive from Mustang Island; the weather was sunny and warm, and the time went by…Read More
We made a day trip down to South Padre Island to look at a few potential condos for a month's stay next winter. We had a two and one-half hour drive from Mustang Island; the weather was sunny and warm, and the time went by quickly.
About an hour out of South Padre, we began to notice how green everything looked, and how much warmer the outside temperature gauge on our vehicle showed. We decided that January would definitely be better for us in South Padre, Texas than in Kansas.
We looked at several condos and then stopped for lunch. After lunch we took a walk on the beach. We saw several people out in the water and also noticed that the water was much bluer and the sand was much deeper in South Padre than it was on Mustang Island.
On our trip back to Mustang Island, we stopped to buy freshly picked grapefruit and tangerines. The trip back was made much more interesting, since we saw a number of deer and elk on the King Ranch property during our drive.
Written by kstraveler on 22 Feb, 2006
Almost every day, we drove to the Port Aransas Birding Center to view the birds and other wildlife. We saw many different birds and bought a wonderful bird guide to help us recognize and name them. I never missed a chance to photograph…Read More
Almost every day, we drove to the Port Aransas Birding Center to view the birds and other wildlife. We saw many different birds and bought a wonderful bird guide to help us recognize and name them. I never missed a chance to photograph a bird during my many visits & usually photographed them before I knew exactly which birds they were. It took several weeks, after we returned home, to finish matching my bird photographs to those in the guide. Close