PORT ARANSAS, TEXAS
In the Dunes of Wild Horse Island
Once a haven for a cannibalistic tribe of coastal Indians, Wild Horse Island - or Mustang Island as it would later be called - was as wild and remote as any place you could - or would want - to ever find on the tropical coast of Texas.
During the 1846-48 Mexican War, a small fort was built on Mustang Island to guard the entrance to Aransas Bay. It was used until after the Civil War.
In the 1850's regular steamship service ran between Mustang Island and New Orleans. The first deep draught steamship went through the Pass in 1859. Mercer Docks was destroyed during the 1875 Storm, thus ending the service.
The town of Mustang Island was called Ropesville by the early 1890's but changed its name to Tarpon by 1899 because of the large numbers of the fish being caught in its waters. The population at that time was about 250. Citizens began calling their town Port Aransas about 1910. The storm of 1919 virtually wiped out the town except for a few structures.
Today, the island community still sports an independent attitude and is a strange and pleasant mixture of tourism, retirement living, and an inherit dependence on the sea for success and sustenance. Fishing, shrimping, shipping, sailing, boat-building - they remain an important part of the island's life.
The City of Port Aransas, Texas, is located on Mustang Island, situated on a barrier island approximately twenty-five miles from Corpus Christi. Port Aransas is accessible via the John F. Kennedy Causeway from the south and via a short free ferry ride from the east.
Port Aransas is noted for its world class fishing, miles and miles of pristine sandy beaches, temperate climate, bountiful recreational activities, fine restaurants and a very low crime rate.
In Port Aransas, and Mustang Island, you will find plenty of history and legend. Pirates frequented the island for several centuries running. In 1834 the remains of a pirates' camp were found on St. Joseph's Island with large iron rings implanted in the sand.
Somewhere on Mustang Island there is said to be a Spanish dagger with a silver spike driven through the hilt. This marks the spot where notorious pirate Jean Lafitte buried a chest of gold and jewels. Treasure hunters today can still be found searching the beach and dunes with modern metal detectors, in hopes of reward and wonder.
A great winter retreat, the island is known as a great place to fish as well. There are plenty of charters and guided fishing trips in the bays and open Gulf, and tarpon fishing is better here than just about anywhere in the world.
There are several RV parks, a community of condos, and ample hotels and lodges on the island for those wanting to visit, regardless whether its for a night, a week or a winter season. And you'll find the slow pace and laid-back island life of off-season (Nov-Feb) a pleasant time to have the beach, and the community, almost to yourself.
Discover this jewel of an island just off the coast from Corpus Christi and experience a timeless coastal community in harmony with the sea.