Port of Call

Take the Queen Isabella Causeway (a 2.6 mile long, beautiful drive) across the Laguna Madre to Port Isabel, South Padre Island’s bigger brother. It makes for a lovely day trip full of history, shopping, and dining.

The 70-foot-tall Point Isabel lighthouse guards the bay and serves as a focal point to the town, visible as soon as you pass over the bridge. The beacon was constructed in 1852 to warn vessels entering the Brazos Santiago Pass, and was decommissioned in 1905. In 1952, the lighthouse was opened as a state park and is still the only lighthouse on the Texas Gulf Coast that is open to the public. Climb to the top and be rewarded with a 16-mile view of the surrounding waters.

At the base of the lighthouse, on the water lies historic Lighthouse Square and Pirate’s Landing Restaurant, an attraction all in itself. Stroll the pier, shop at the local shops, see a free pirate show complete with cannon blasts, enjoy family karaoke, and take a ride on the Black Dragon pirate ship. This modern-day replica of a 17th century galleon cruises the bay with Captain Andy at the helm, the “Scourge of the Laguna Madre.” This all ages show features pirate stories, face painting, a treasure hunt, water pistol battle, sword fighting, music and loads of family fun!

Dining: The Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce’s World’s Championship Shrimp Cook-off, annually held on the first Saturday in November gathers dozens of contestants and thousands of hungry Gulf shrimp fans for food, music, children’s activities, and original artwork, gifts and collectibles. If you’re not visiting in November, Port Isabel has a variety of seafood restaurants and bars with outstanding bay views.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as Creative Resources Manager for RTX, based in Asheville, NC. You can find him hiking the mountains of Asheville, gardening, traveling, and hanging with his growing family. His favorite RTX exchange destinations are Rangeley, Maine, Lake Tahoe, Banff, Canada, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Cape Cod, and Orange Beach, Alabama. .

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