Book unique vacation rental cottages, houses, and more on Airbnb
Guests agree: these stays are highly rated for location, cleanliness, and more.
Perched at the tip of a peninsula jutting into Aransas Bay, the laidback coastal getaway of Rockport has been loved by artists and beachgoers for decades. In the quaint downtown area, eclectic galleries and studios stand beside historic buildings such as old-school motor courts, the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, and the town’s original one-room schoolhouse.
For many, Rockport’s charms lie in its natural surroundings. There are miles of smooth, sandy beaches to enjoy, and nearby San Jose Island is a popular beachcombing and shelling spot. The many bays, canals, and mangrove-lined channels around Rockport have calm, shallow waters that are good for kayaking. Parklands here protect massive, windswept live oak trees, including the 44-foot-tall, thousand-year-old Big Tree in Goose Island State Park. Rockport is also a birding destination, with 10 sites on the Great Texas Birding Trail.
The easiest way to get to Rockport is to fly into Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP), which is served by several major airlines. From there, you can rent a car and drive the final 38 miles to Rockport. The city is also about a three-hour drive from Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, making it a great weekend getaway from those areas.
Pedestrian-friendly Rockport is a cozy 15 square miles, but consider renting a car to make the most of the day-trip-worthy destinations in the area, such as Port Aransas, Corpus Christi, Goose Island State Park, or the Aransas Wildlife Refuge.
Spring and fall are the best times of the year to visit Rockport, thanks to sunny days and temperatures averaging around 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers here are hot, with temperatures climbing into the mid-90s and humid, sometimes muggy weather. You can expect isolated rainy days and a slight risk of hurricanes from June through November when storms brew in the Gulf, but the skies usually clear quickly. Winters in Rockport are mild, dry, and warm, with temperatures in the mid-70s. And while the sun-seeking crowds mostly disperse at this time of year, it is a popular season for birdwatchers, who come for the migratory whooping cranes.
The 115,000-acre Aransas Wildlife Refuge is just over an hour outside of town, but it’s well worth the trip, especially for birders. More than 400 bird species live here for all or part of the year. Visit between October and April for a chance to encounter the only natural wild flock of whooping cranes, which nests in Canada and winters here. The refuge is also home to white-tailed deer, javelinas, American alligators, and armadillos. Drive the 16-mile paved road through the park, climb the observation tower, or stroll the boardwalk that runs through a salt marsh and out to the coast. You can also visit the whooping cranes by boat; tours leave from Fulton Harbor.
The mile-long Rockport Beach Park in the middle of town features 65 covered picnic sites, playgrounds, a natural saltwater pool, boat launching ramps, and a public fishing pier. The beach itself was the first in Texas to be named a Blue Waves Beach, a designation that recognizes clean, environmentally friendly beaches. The breezy spot is also a favorite for windsurfers and kite-flyers.
In 1969, a group of like-minded local artists formed the Rockport Art Association, and, in 1983, the collective acquired the beautiful, historic Victorian building that now houses the Rockport Center for the Arts. The center hosts free exhibitions by local and international artists and holds classes and workshops. Be sure to wander through the outdoor sculpture garden.