The Best Free Camping in Port Aransas, Texas
Known by locals as Port A, this gulf coast resort and fishing town is known for its beautiful white sandy beaches and warm ocean waters. It’s one of the few free camp spots in Texas, and with views like these right on the sand, it’s an excellent family destination.
Campers can take their pick of undesignated spots along the 1.5-mile stretch located directly on the beach.
Here’s the Breakdown:
Location: Mustang Island Beach Access
GPS: 27.7058, -97.1541
Free Campsite Specs
The length of stay on this stretch of Mustang Island is limited to 3 consecutive days. A $12 permit is available at Stripes and other stores in town.
This is the only fee, but it’s good for unlimited visits from the date you buy to the end of the calendar year.
If you need to fill up your tanks prior to free camping, or need nearby RV hookups after your off-grid adventure, these are the best RV parks in Port A.
Amenities: Porta-potties and dumpsters are available, but without designated sites, this is otherwise primitive camping. We paid a small fee to fill and dump at an RV park in town.
Date / Temp: We visited in early May with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the mid-70s. Daily temperatures only vary by about 10 degrees, so you won’t find much relief from the heat. We clocked 85% humidity most days.
Access: Paved roads guide you from town right to the beach. The sand is packed down enough for easy access in any type of vehicle. Just avoid parking too close to the water, but leave some space away from the dunes for cars driving past. Most campers set up right in between the two.
Tide Considerations: Be aware of tide fluctuations and keep the high tide line in mind when choosing a beach campsite, especially in winter. Heavy winds or storms can significantly raise tides and create less than ideal conditions on the Gulf Coast. When we visited, there weren’t any big waves and the water was very shallow, but we’ve heard a few unfortunate stories!
Personal Insight: The saltwater winds here are intense and rust everything quickly. We rinsed down the rig as soon as we could but still ended up with rust spots in some places.
Wifi / Cell: T-mobile, Verizon, and AT&T are all available with no booster required (a cell booster only helps with upload speeds here, since the signal is already strong).
Groceries / Supplies: Most of the Port Aransas businesses are small and family-owned. Corpus Christi is just 30 miles away for bigger errands.
Dog Friendly: The beach welcomes dogs, but asks that you please keep them on leash and clean up after them. The sand is very soft, so it didn’t irritate our dog’s paws like some other beaches do.
Noise: It’s very popular on weekends. Be aware of cars or golf carts driving up and down the main drag. The beach clears out mid-week so, if you’ve got the time to hang around, you can practically have the place to yourself.
Local Recommendations: Check out Roberts Point Park, where you can watch the cargo ships pass by and look for sea turtles or dolphins.
Port Aransas is a popular fishing spot, so bring your poles. After you’ve caught your fill, head north up the beach to Keepers bar & grill where you can have their cooks grill up your catch of the day!
If fishing isn’t your thing, you can pick up fresh seafood at the docks or take a Pirate Ship tour.
Go for a stroll at Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center. You might even spot a gator!
Lastly, mark your calendar for a visit in late April to catch Texas Sand Fest, the biggest native-sand sculpture competition in the US.
Here’s our complete list of the best activities in Port Aransas.
The area is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey in 2017, but don’t let that deter you. Port A not to be missed!
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