Fall in Port Aransas, Texas is full of gentle breezes, coastal cuisine, chic boutique shopping, legendary fishing and seasonal bird migrations. The hustle and bustle of the high season comes to a close and the locals emerge from their cabanas to stake out their own stretch of uncrowded shoreline. For residents, there’s little disconnect in Port ‘A’ between local favorites and major tourist draws. But there are plenty of small town secrets residents are just waiting to share, if asked.
A 40-year veteran of this beautiful barrier island, Joan and her husband Scott find their happy place while birding and fishing. They love the small town atmosphere and great neighbors. Scott values the ease at which one can find good fishing, birding and nature photography opportunities so close to home. For Joan, there’s never a dull moment when you’re simply enjoying the natural variety show that Port ‘A’ puts on for its guests. The really exciting season is the Fall because migratory birds move back down to this slice of paradise to rest their wings and grace our shoreline under the warm Texas sun.
It may have beautiful weather year round, but Samantha loves the fact that Port ‘A’ is a town that changes with the seasons. For Samantha, the days are best spent on the beach or fishing in the bay. Either way, sunshine and smiles are always involved, and after seven years of island life she isn’t slowing down. The beach borders the entire town, so at any point in time she’s approximately 10 minutes away from having her toes in the sand. The hustle and bustle of peak tourist season gives way to the slower life of Fall. After Labor Day, the island as a whole hops back in time a few decades, forming a retro atmosphere for life at the beach.
Rick has enjoyed the folks and fair weather of this Texas island town for 35 years and wouldn’t trade it for anything. The spring and summer seasons bring a certain electric, hustled vibe to Port ‘A’. In the Fall, everything slows down a little and the locals get together to catch up. They’re very friendly people with a laid back style and just want to have a good time. The history of the island’s namesake, the boat building heritage, and the shipwrecks that speckle the ocean floor are stories he enjoys sharing with the people he has the privilege of meeting every year.
Linda has lived in Port ‘A’ for more than 20 years. Living in a small community on a resort island allows a “normal” life with the perks that tourism brings. Port ‘A’ is magical in the Fall season. Linda likes to sip a good glass of wine while enjoying fabulous sunsets and walks on the beach with her dog. She loves the small community of marvelous people. Since the island is so small, she is always close to whatever she may need. The weather is gorgeous in the Fall and the beach is not as crowded as it is during the summer season. Linda’s “commute” to work includes a drive on the beach so she never gets a case of the “Monday blues.”
Born and raised running around the Port ‘A’ marina, Tara loves living near the water and enjoys all water activities. She enjoys showing others her hometown and coordinating fishing excursions and private charters for tourists eager to “hook the big one” from Fisherman’s Wharf at the marina. For slower paced passengers, leisurely dolphin cruises at sunset embark from this local landmark. The only thing Tara loves more than the weather is the people of Port ‘A.’ “The compassion and involvement of the community members . . .” are second to none.
Mark has graced Port ‘A’ with his sand sculptures for eight years and has lived on the island for four. It is a town that allows him to be on vacation mode 24/7, 365 days a year and he absolutely loves it. Mark shows his Marlin pride at the high school basketball games and loves to spend his days decorating the beautiful beach with seaside sculptures. If the sunshine doesn’t put a pep in your step, then Mark says that the friendly folks who visit Port ‘A’ will! He loves to meet the Winter Texans who share in his enthusiasm for local sports. “Port ‘A’ is the place I felt at home when I would visit. Don’t know any other place that I can say I have felt that way.”
Deven has spent 14 years in Port ‘A’, giving a warm and welcome greeting to his many different patrons. Though he has enjoyed years of providing comfortable and affordable places for tourists to stay, his favorite part, hands down, is indulging in the local cuisine. Port ‘A’ has it all, from magnificent seafood to international cuisine, and many restaurants will cook your catch of the day! To Deven, the lively atmosphere of this town is anything but small, with a seemingly endless list of things to do on both the high and low end of the spectrum. There is always something to do to enjoy every minute in Port ‘A.’
As Charlie says, “Red fishing is at its best in the Fall.” He’s easy to spot on the water in his custom crafted Farley boat which he christened ‘Dragonfly’. For this local artist, his passion for fishing and other island activities is the inspiration for his varied creative portfolio. If he isn’t out there taking in the thrills of the island, he’s inside a local restaurant enjoying the town’s tastiest dishes. With the endless supply of indoor and outdoor enterprises to choose from, Port ‘A’ feels like it’s a lot bigger than it really is. Throughout the seasons, the locals hold on to a strong sense of community – “Port ‘A’ becomes like family.”
We call it Port ‘A,’ but Kip refers to it as “Mayberry on the beach.” For 10 years he has made the island his home, fishing and relaxing along the shoreline whenever possible. Though the pace is slow, he asserts that the island is very much alive. Aside from the people, it is the wildlife that keeps Port ‘A’ abuzz once the temperature drops in the Fall. The majority of tourists head home after Labor Day and the Winter Texans arrive just in time to observe the numerous species of migratory birds. It is a special time of year that helps him break away from the routine of running his bar and connect with the natural habitat of Mustang Island and its neighbors within the ocean.
As one of the newer Port ‘A’ locals, Laura spent her first two years embracing the local culture. She has enjoyed every single minute of life on “island time.” While her new place of residence is known for its endless array of things to do, Laura’s favorite activity is exploring all of the eateries the island has to offer. Splashing dolphins that follow nearly every ferry ride and miles of drivable beach are among the things she cherishes that make Port ‘A’ one-of-a-kind. The best thing about Port ‘A’ in the Fall? “You cannot beat the weather!” Laura says, “It’s absolutely PERFECT!!”
As a “Port ‘A’ Lifer”, Billy adores the kicked back lifestyle of the only town on Mustang Island. The island life is all he’s ever known, and the unique culture that comes with it is all he has ever wanted. Like his fellow locals, he loves the simple things: eating, fishing, and fiddling around. Luckily for Billy, his hometown is never at a loss of any of his favorite things. For him, the hidden gem of this town is the lighthouse. On his nature tours, Billy loves to share stories about the lighthouse and the changes that have occurred through the years.
When he isn’t supplying the island with the tastiest of sweet treats, Mark can be found jetting around the water on a boat. Riding the waves reminds him of the happiness he finds in the cozy lifestyle of Port ‘A’ with the friendliest of people. Even though Port ‘A’ is small, he takes great joy in meeting and getting to know new people. Like many of his island co-habitants, he is in love with Fall fishing. “The fish are always feisty during that time of year.”
Tony has lived in Port Aransas for 39 years. He is the founder of the Animal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) and is an advocate for injured, sick and abused wildlife. His contribution to the city is invaluable. When he is not rehabilitating animals, this nature enthusiast takes and records daily bird and eco-impact counts at the beach. Tony spends his working hours looking out into the water, but his free time is spent looking up to the sky for the various and beautiful birds that call Port ‘A’ home. His days off are “for the birds” in the best way possible! The best thing about Fall to Tony is the show that the migratory flock puts on as they arrive. Tony loves the laid-back, fishing village attitude in Port ‘A’. Aside from birding, he enjoys cruising along the beach, perusing the boutique shops, and enhancing his knowledge at the nature centers of Port Aransas.
Morgan was born and raised in the small island town of Port ‘A.’ Infusing his spirit with the old school, laid back attitude of the oceanside lifestyle guarantees his tan will last through the seasons. Surfing, fishing and eating are at the top of Morgan’s long list of fun favorites. When Ronnie Van Zant sang about being a simple man, he was probably thinking about people like Morgan. Who does Morgan think about when he is showing the water who’s boss? The many new faces he'll get to meet throughout the year. The cool thing about Port ‘A’ is the possibility that the next person who will make an impact on your life could be coming to town for their vacation at any moment.
While fishing is his greatest love, for Glenn, Port ‘A’ really shines once the sun goes down. His favorite pastime is listening to live music under the stars at one of Port ‘A’s various outdoor venues, and no two are the same. Whatever genre of music he feels like listening to is most likely playing at any of the establishments. Vehicles roll up and down Alister Street, the main drag, just looking for the next exciting adventure. During Fall, it’s mainly locals on the road trying to find where to hang out and have some fun. For Glenn, “It’s definitely the people of the island who make it special.”
This avid fisherman is an outdoor enthusiast – taking in all that there is to do and see in the town he has called home over the past 22 years. The abundance of pursuits and wildlife get him out the front door and ready for a new adventure every day. To John, it’s the people of Port ‘A’ who make it so much fun. There’s a unique mix of people who play and have a good time together no matter what they’re doing. Aside from the people, it’s the fishing in the Fall that makes his heart race. Once the crowd has cleared from the island and the temperature cools off, the fish get more aggressive. It’s truly a saltwater fisherman’s paradise.