Gulf Coast
Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site
Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site Information:
This 1853 lighthouse was built by John Garey of Brownsville, Texas. It is located on 0.9 acres on the site of the former Fort Polk. The original lighthouse sat on a flat piece of land, but it now sits on a small hill which was formed when the land surrounding the lighthouse was removed in the 1950's. The lighthouse is the only Texas lighthouse open to tourists. It cost $15,000 to build the Port Isabel and Brazos Santiago Lighthouses. The latter was destroyed by fire in 1944. The Port Isabel Lighthouse light was visible for 16 nautical miles. The lens rotated, and the light keeper put blackout shades on the side facing Port Isabel. In 1863 during the Civil War, the original lens for the lighthouse was removed and hidden by the Confederate Army. It was never recovered after the war. Today only an ornamental light shines from the top. The lighthouse stairwell has 75 narrow winding stairs including the 3 short ladders at the top. Stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding area are available from the observation deck at the top of the lighthouse. While people may get married at the top of the lighthouse, it might be wise to forgo the heels and the billowy wedding dress with the long train; contact the Port Isabel Museum for more information. The lighthouse restoration was completed in 2000.A replica of the original Keeper’s Cottage was built in 1996. It currently houses the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce and a Museum area with wall displays of old lighthouse and old Fort Parker photos. The lighthouse is open summers, Sun-Thu, 11am-8pm; Fri-Sat, 11am-8pm. Open Winters, daily, 9am-5pm. Self-guided tours are available. Guided lighthouse tours are hosted daily; admission fees apply. A combination admission ticket includes admission to the lighthouse, the Port Isabel Historical Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum. The lighthouse, a former TPWD property, is operated by the Museums of Port Isabel. (956) 943-2262. (800) 527-6102. 421 East Queen Isabella Boulevard, Port Isabel, 78578.    
Birding - Texas Prairies and Pineywoods west Birding Wildlife Trail:
Laguna Madre Loop:  Los Fresnos, Palo Alto Battlefield, Laguna Vista, Port Isabel
South Padre Island Loop:  SPI Area
Boca Chica Loop:  Brownsville, Boca Chica, SH 48 Scenic Drive
Resaca Loop:  Brownsville Area
Texas Birds Checklist
Cameron County Butterfly Checklist
South Padre Island WBC Bird Checklist
Resaca de la Palma WBC Bird Checklist, Brownsville
Resaca de la Palma State Park (Prior to being a WBC) Bird Checklist, Brownsville
Laguna Atascosa NWR Bird Checklist
Laguna Atascosa NWR Butterfly Checklist
Rio Grande Valley Rare Bird Alert:(956) 584-2731.
Annual Queen Isabella Market Day, 2nd Saturday in April:
Activities include live music, and vendors. Open 9am-4pm. Admission Market Day is free. Admission to the lighthouse, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, and the Port Isabel Historic Museum is $1. (956) 943-7602. 421 East Queen Isabella Boulevard. 
Lighthouse Establishment Cinema, Summers:
Approximately six free evening movies are shown on the Lighthouse grounds during the summer. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic. These movies are shown at 9:30pm after the SPI free fireworks over the Laguna Madre, every other Friday between June-August. Concessions are available. (956) 943-7602. Email
Annual Lighthouse Market Day, Oct:
Market Days is held the second Saturday in October. Vendors sell food, jewelry, art, collectibles, antiques, and other items. Entertainment includes live music. Open 9am-5pm. Event admission is free. Discounted tickets to Port Isabel museums are offered. (956) 943-7602.421 East Queen Isabella Boulevard, Port Isabel, 78578. Email