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Wildlife Watching in Port Aransas

HomeArea GuideThings to Do in Port AransasWildlife Watching in Port Aransas

You came to Port A for Texas warmth, fun, sun, and the sand and water at the beach along the Gulf of Mexico. There are plenty of beach activities, like swimming, snorkeling, taking a walk or run on the sand, and even adrenaline-pumping adventures like parasailing or jet skiing. There is a myriad of indoor activities where you can take a break from the heat, as well as several prime spots and ways to catch glimpses of area wildlife watching in Port Aransas while you’re enjoying your island retreat.

a green sea turtle a snow egret

Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center

The name itself indicates there may be several opportunities to get a glimpse – and some pictures – of wildlife. There is a 750-foot-long boardwalk that spans over freshwater wetlands, toward a salt marsh where you can look out over the viewing area, or you can take a seat on the benches. Come on Wednesday morning and you can join an organized walk where experts from the center will help you find some of the more elusive species. Plan your visit during spring migration time for a great opportunity to see even more birds as they visit the center on their way to their final destination.

Nature Preserve at Charlie’s Pasture

There are 1,217 acres of upland, tidal flat, marsh, wooded, and estuarine habitats that house a myriad of local wildlife. It’s also one of the few contiguous tracts of undeveloped land in any coastal plain that’s been preserved for ecological, environmental, or historical purposes. Take a solitary walk along the many walking trails, or join a guided walk, where your guide will point out the many species that reside in the preserve, including waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and others.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is best known as the winter home of the last wild flock of endangered whooping cranes – and there’s even a festival to celebrate their arrival in the area every February! Enjoy the quiet, as well as breathtaking scenery, diverse wildlife, and a few recreational opportunities. Take a self-guided driving tour, available 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset, even on days the visitor center is closed (Monday and Tuesday), or you can join a tour led by knowledgeable visitor center staff. Purchase a pass and map for the closed-hours auto tour at the kiosk at the main gate – cash only.

Red Dragon Pirate Cruise

Fun for the whole family, you can set out to sail the high seas like the pirates of old! Cruise the waters of the Lydia Ann Channel and enjoy dolphin and other wildlife watching in Port Aransas, while also participating in pirate activities like sword fighting, treasure hunting, cannon fire, and more! Bring your camera to capture all the memories and pirate mischief, as well as glimpses of marine wildlife. Enjoy soft drinks and snacks, as well as beer, wine, pina coladas, rum, tequila, and whiskey-based drinks for the adult pirates aboard.

Captain Kirk’s Tiki Cruises

The 1.5-hour cruise on the 47-foot yacht offers beautiful Gulf scenery and colors. Bring your camera on the daytime or sunset cruise and keep an eye out for birds, dolphins, and other marine life. You can also bring your own snacks and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in a cooler no larger than 3’x2’.

Scat Cat

Enjoy a cruise of the waters around Fishermans Wharf that also takes you in search of local wildlife. The twin-hull 80-foot catamaran known as Scat Cat cruises passengers around the area Memorial Day through Labor Day. You may see dolphins and other marine wildlife, so have your camera ready. Pack your snacks and drinks in a cooler (no glass containers), or purchase some at the full on-board concession stand. There are two bathrooms, indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a large observation area on the top deck – the best place to view a Port Aransas sunset. If you enjoy your cruise, come back for a deep sea fishing experience, private bay or Gulf charter, and more.

Salt-Lyf Cruises

Enjoy a pontoon ride while keeping your eyes peeled for dolphins and other marine wildlife along the way. Hostess Cassie Andrews works with a USCG licensed captain and provides extra fun like dolphin tattoos for the kids, and fun wildlife facts as you cruise along on the 1.5-hour cruise. Daytime and sunset cruises are available, and you can bring your own food and drink, including alcohol.

Searching for Wildlife in Port A

When you stay in a vacation rental in Port A provided by The Dunes, you’ll enjoy easy access to the beach and the crashing waves of the Gulf, as well as plenty of prime wildlife viewing spots. We’re close to many other area attractions, tours, shopping, dining, and activities the area has to offer, too. Choose from one-bedroom units all the way up to three-bedroom units for your larger group. Prepare a delicious home-cooked meal in the fully equipped kitchen, retreat to a private bedroom, or spread out in an open living space for a movie or to relax. Enjoy the view from the private balcony or patio or spend some time near the pool.

Contact us today to start planning your retreat to Port A!

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