Rockport - For The Birds

            Rockport Texas - It's For The Birds

                             Published by the La Vernia News on December13, 2013

                                            Birding, Fishing, History and More

Everyday Journeys

      Harry and Linda Kaye Perez

       Rockport, founded at the end of the Civil War, was named for the rock ledge along its shoreline. It had its beginnings in the cattle industry and by the 1880s the focus moved to boatbuilding and fishing. Once Rockport had railroad service, tourism and the resort trade began to grow.

       Today, Rockport has a population of 8,000, is the county seat of Aransas County, and is a close neighbor of Fulton, another small community. It is located 136 miles from LaVernia and is best known for fishing and birding opportunities. Rockport-Fulton is surrounded by Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, and Port Bay, and features estuaries, inland woods, prairies and fields - perfect homes for its wide range of wildlife.

                        When They Bite


              Fishing: We once asked our friend, a veteran fisherman, when was the best time to fish. His response was, “Anytime the fish are biting.” The opportunities for fishing are as varied as the species in these waters. There are at least a half dozen guided fishing tours (average $400 per day) and pier fishing (mostly free). These include the Fulton Fishing Pier, Copano Bay State Fishing Pier, two piers at Rockport Beach, and Goose Island State Park Pier, which is lighted at night. Because of the shallow bay waters, wade fishing is also popular. Don’t forget your fishing license.

                         For The Birds

        Birding: The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, as designated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, lists ten birding sites along the coastal bend including the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. This 70,000-acre sanctuary is the winter home of a migrating flock of North American Whooping Cranes and can be viewed from mid-November through March each year. They are the tallest birds in North America, reaching five feet in height with a wingspan of over seven feet. In the 1940s, the whooping crane was on the brink of extinction with only 16 in the entire world. Today, thanks to conservation efforts, their numbers are reaching 400. These magnificent birds migrate from Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada, a trip of 2,500 miles, to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge where they flourish thanks to the coastal wetlands and tidal marshes that provide food, shelter and protection. In April each year, they make the trip back to Canada, where they breed and have their chicks. Having the opportunity to see these mystical birds is a chance of a lifetime.

The Tours Include:

Whooping Crane Tour, 9:00 AM daily Mid-November through March; 3½ hour tour -  Adults $50, Children $20

Dolphin Watching Tour 9:00 AM             May through Mid-November;11/2 hr tour                                              AtlanticBottle-NosedDolphin              Adults $20, Children $10.

 Sunset Cruise, approx. 6:30 PM (Times vary Slightly). June-August;1½hour tour                 View sunset and lights of Rockport Adults $20, Children $10.

Other great birding sites include Goose Island State Park and Bird Sanctuary at the west side of Rockport Beach Park.

Whooper Crane

Rockport Birding & Kayak Adventures offers tours that will take you up close and personal with the whooping cranes. Their success in providing a view of these magnificent birds in their natural habitat is attributed to their vessel, Skimmer, with its quiet engine and the ability to navigate shallow waters. See left adjacent box for more information.

                      Stay With Me

                Fulton Beach Bungalows: When we travel and look for a place to spend the night, we usually pass up all the chain hotels and look for something really unique, a place that reflects the flavor of the area. Our trip to Rockport was no different.


            We happened onto some quaint cottages and spent time with owners, Gene Schwinge, Jr. and Juli McCrary. From 1945 to 1985 this property was a vintage tourist court. Gene and Juli purchased the property in 1998 and by 2000, they had remodeled and refurbished several of the ten cottages and reopened this hidden gem as the Fulton Beach Bungalows. Each cottage has a name with a character and history all its own. Their waterfront palapas (open-sided structure with a thatched roof) are the perfect place to just sit and enjoy an early morning sunrise and the calm water of the bay. This is an adult-only property. Of course, there are many, many places to stay in the area; the choices are almost endless.




                                                                                                                                                                          Restaurants recommended by Locals:

·      Charlotte Plummer’s Seafood Restaurant - Texas friendly on Fulton Harbor

 ·      MoonDog’s Seaside EateryBurgers, barbeque, seafood and salads

 ·      Bellino’s Italian Cuisine - Great candlelight dinners

 ·      Cheryl’s by the Bay - Creative coastal cuisine, steaks, seafood

 ·      Latitude 28o 02’ Coastal Cuisine and Fine Art - In historic Heritage District, elegant dining - art gallery atmosphere

 ·      Chart Room at Key Allegro Marina

 Other Things to Do:

·      The Fulton Mansion, 317 North Fulton Beach Road, 3½-story home built between 1874 and 1877. Admission from $1 to $6.

 ·      The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, 702 Navigation Circle, Rockport, Texas. Free admission.

 ·      Texas Maritime Museum,                                                                                                                                                                                                     1202 Navigation Circle, Rockport.  Provides best view of the Rockport Harbor from the Observation Deck. Admission $3 to $6.

 ·      Heritage District (downtown Rockport) great shopping, art galleries, and one-of-a-kind restaurants.

 ·      Big Tree at Goose Island State Park, (12 mi from Rockport).                                                                                                                                    One of the largest live oak trees in Texas believed to be over 1,000 years old.

                                                        Living History - The Fulton Mansion



                                 Charmed, I'am Sure!

Rockport has long been called the “Charm of the Gulf Coast,” and we can see why. It is great for a one-day visit or a long weekend. The sites will amaze you. 


   © Harry Perez 2012