Gulf Coast
2010 Census - 3,480
2000 Census - 3,370
Port Aransas, Texas
Port Aransas Texas History: 
Port Aransas is located on Redfish Bay, Aransas Bay, and Mustang Island, across from the mainland city of Aransas Pass. Port Aransas access is by ferry or by private or chartered boat. The Karankawa Indians were early inhabitants. They lived along the Gulf Coast of Texas between Galveston Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. The Indians were nomads who migrated from the mainland to Mustang Island which they called Wild Horse Island. The Spanish explorer Alvarez de Pineda explored the coast in 1519, and French explorer Pierre-Jean de Beranger explored the coast in 1720. During the early 1800s, pirates such as Jean Lafitte frequented the coast. Captain Ainsworth Mercer of England was the first recorded settler in Port Aransas. He established the El Mar Rancho sheep and cattle ranch in 1853-1855. At the time of his settlement, huge herds of mustangs roamed the island. By the 1850s, a regular steamship cargo service and passenger route was established between New Orleans and Mustang Island. Also at this time, the Lydia Ann Channel Lighthouse (called a Life Saving station) was established, and was manned by crews during the most dangerous times for ships. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1952 after a major channel shift left the lighthouse a mile from the channel entrance. A light was placed at the Coast Guard Station. In 1890, the town was named Ropesville after Elihu Harrison Ropes, who founded the Port Ropes Company in 1887. The town was renamed Tarpon in 1896, and was later changed to Port Aransas. During World War ll, an artillery gun turret was erected by the U.S. Army on a high dune just off Cotter Street, across from the current UT campus. The gun turret is now part of the UT properties. In 1915, Charles Frederick Farley and his son established the Farley and Son boat building company where they built boats designed to withstand the rough Gulf of Mexico waters. In 1937, FDR fished for tarpon in a Farley boat under the direction of famous fishing guide Barney Farley. The history and importance of the Farley Boat is celebrated with Farley Boat planters located around the city. Waterfront docks and restaurants are located on JC Barr Boulevard and Cotter Avenue. Mustang Beach Marker 62 is at the City limits of Port Aransas and Corpus Christi. Port Aransas is located on SH 361, 8 miles southeast across Redfish Bay from Aransas Pass, 17.7 miles south of Rockport, and 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi, Texas.  
Mustang Island, 18 Miles Long, (Port Aransas):
The island was named after the wild Mustang horses that once roamed free. The island is approximately 2 miles wide at its widest point. The town of Port Aransas is located on the north end of the island which is separated from St. Joseph’s Island by the waters of Aransas Pass. The town of Aransas Pass is located on the mainland across from Port Aransas. A ferry runs between the two towns. Mustang Island State Park is located on the south end of the island which is separated from Padre Island by the Packery Channel. Though the whole island is accessible by car, the southern end of Mustang Island State Park is blocked by posts, and the northern end of the park is blocked to vehicle traffic by the remnants of Fish Pass. Free parking is available between Access Road 2 and Fish Pass, and between Horace Caldwell Pier and the Port Aransas Jetties. The island is a nesting ground for the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles. During the nesting season, turtle watch groups patrol the beach looking for nests. The eggs are removed from found nests and taken to Port Aransas or SPI where they are protected and cared for until hatching. Once they hatch, the baby turtles are released into the gulf.  
Aransas Bay:
The bay is located on the Texas portion of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. It is separated from the gulf by San Joseph Island (San Jose Island). Aransas Pass and Port Aransas are located on the southern end of the bay, and Rockport, Texas is located on the northern end of the bay. The bay is bounded on the north by Saint Charles Bay, on the northeast by Mesquite Bay, on the southwest by Redfish Bay, and on the west by Copano Bay.    
Redfish Bay:
Redfish Bay is located on the south side of Aransas Bay. Ingleside and Aransas Pass are located on the west side of the Bay. Port Aransas on the east side of the bay and is accessible to Aransas Pass by an eight mile ferry ride; there is no bridge. The bay is quite shallow and is a protected seagrass area.
Port Aransas– Aransas PassFerry Information, Wait Times, and Webcams:
From the mid-1920s when Mitizi, the first ferry boat, was put into service by the Texas Department of Transportation, until 1954 when SH 361 was built, ferries were the only access to the Island. In 1951, Nueces purchased the three 9 car ferries and charged $1 per car. TX Dot lowered the fare when they resumed control of the ferry system in 1968. Today, three 20 car ferries have replaced the old 9 car ferries, and service is free 24 hours a day between Port Aransas on Mustang Island, and Aransas Pass on the mainland. The ferry runs every 10 to 20 minutes. (361) 749-2850. The Port Aransas Ferry Landing is located at the south end of W. Cotter Avenue at 619 W. Cotter. The Aransas Pass Ferry is located on SH 361 South. A 24 hour radio message advisory is available at AM 530.  Ferry Webcams 
Bridges from Mainland to Mustang and Padre Islands:
The SH 361 Bridge in Aransas Pass connects Aransas Pass to Stedman Island and Harbor Island. There is no bridge connecting Port Aransas to Mustang Island and the town of Port Aransas.  SH 361 & Bridge Map 
Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center:
Exit the ferry then go through the traffic light at Commercial and Goodnight Streets. The Visitor Center is located at 130 W. Goodnight. The Center is the tan building with arches in front. Old pictures of Aransas Pass displayed in the Visitors Center and at two local restaurants on the main street. (800) 452-6278.  Email
Dennis Dryer Municipal Harbor & Port Aransas Municipal Marina:
This city owned marina is located adjacent to Roberts Point Park and the J.P. Luby fishing pier. Amenities include 4 boat ramps, a fish cleaning station, a fishing pier, short term and long term boat slips, a pavilion, restrooms, showers for boat slip users, and ice sales. (361) 749-5429. (361) 749-5429. 301 JC Barr Boulevard. Email  GPS Coordinates  Dennis Dryer Municipal Harbor Map
Saint Jo's (Josephor San Jose) Island and the North Jetty, 28 Miles Long, Port Aransas:
The island was originally inhabited by the Karankawa Indians, and then by conquering Spaniards. By the late 1830s, it was controlled by pirates. The remains of a pirate camp have been found, including iron rings implanted in the sand for tying ships and slaves. Saint Jo’s has been rated one of the top ten U.S. beaches for shelling.  The island borders the north side of the ship channel. The Port Aransas North Jetty is located at the island where the ship channel meets the Gulf of Mexico. Today the island is privately owned, but the public beach is accessible by small boat. There are no public facilities; visitors must carry out their trash. Gear carts are available for rental from Fisherman’s Wharf. You may also rent flat tired beach bikes in Port Aransas. The Jetty Boat passenger ferry to St. Jo Island leaves Fisherman’s Wharf several times daily. Fisherman’s Wharf: (800) 605-5448. 900 Tarpon Street.