15 Best Things to Do in Port Isabel, TX

Port Isabel, TX
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Port Isabel features beautiful surroundings and plenty of shopping, dining, and sightseeing opportunities.

This haven is in Cameron County, Texas, featuring a rich history.

After the Mexican War for Independence, people established the town, which grew into essential cotton exporting port before the American Civil War.

During the Civil War, the opposing sides contested the harbor, town, and lighthouse, exchanging hands a few times.  

Port Isabel should impress with its natural coastline attractions and shopping options, including beach supplies, fine art, and jewelry.

In historic Port Isabel, enjoy local hospitality during sunrises, sunsets, shopping, and dining.

Here are the best things to do in Port Isabel, TX:

Snap Picture-Perfect Photos at Port Isabel Lighthouse

Daytime view of Port Isabel Lighthouse
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If you enjoy going outside and seeing new places, you should see the Port Isabel Lighthouse.

In addition, it has a location right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Visit the Port Isabel Lighthouse if you’re looking for a place to get away from it all.

Take in some fresh air, and explore a convenient location.

Night light of Port Isabel Lighthouse
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The top of the lighthouse overlooks 16 kilometers, including South Padre Island, the Brownsville Ship Channel, Boca Chica, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Visit the Lighthouse exhibits in the Keeper’s Cottage and tour the town square for shopping, restaurants, and historical markers.

Don’t pass up the chance to go fishing!

You can catch red snapper by the Port Isabel Lighthouse at any time of the year.

Aerial view of Port Isabel Lighthouse
Hundley Photography / Shutterstock.com

Learn History at Port Isabel Historical Museum

You’ve got to visit the Port Isabel Historical Museum.

This museum is located inside a historic building that was once a general store, U.S. Customs office, post office, and family home.

It has also stood in the city since 1854.

In 1906, the local artist Pablo O’Higgins painted a colorful fish and sea creature mural on the exterior of this building.

Likewise, the museum has over 200 illustrations showing the marine life beneath the ocean’s surface.

Two floors of exhibitions are inside the museum, which contains artifacts and videos.

You can also find one of the largest collections of artifacts from the U.S.-Mexican War at the Port Isabel Historical Museum.

Relax at Lighthouse Square

Any weather is perfect for going for a drive around Port Isabel.

Something about the holidays compels people to spend time with the people they care about the most.

Whether you’re looking for a place to take your family or want to get away from it all with your partner, Port Isabel is the perfect place to find what you’re looking for.

Take a trip along Highway 100 and see the beautifully decorated medians lit up with thousands of strands of lights.

The City of Port Isabel and its Public Works Department work together to install and maintain these beautiful displays.

Go Fishing at Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier

When in Port Isabel, don’t miss the biggest pier in Texas.

Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier is ideally located in Port Isabel.

This area offers anglers everything they need for a productive fishing trip.

You can find all-inclusive tackle and bait stores, snack bars, spotless facilities, and top-notch restaurants here.

Are you spending your vacation here without carrying any fishing equipment?

Rent fishing poles and tackle.

Then, you can also buy mullet, live and frozen shrimp, shiners, squid, and various other kinds of bait.

When you get hungry, you may get sandwiches, cold drinks, alcoholic beverages, and ice at the snack bar.

Become a Pirate at Black Dragon Cruise

Do you want to be a pirate?

Do you want to learn how to fight like a pirate, speak like a pirate, and hunt treasure like a pirate?

Captain Black-Hearted in Port Isabel invites you to join him and his merry crew of drunkards and rogues on this interactive Black Dragon Cruise.

There is abundant entertainment, excitement, and pure enjoyment for all ages.

The Black Dragon is a beautiful boat sailing from San Diego to Ensenada in Baja California, Mexico.

Likewise, the Black Dragon Cruise offers a full bar with water and soft drinks, food, live music, karaoke, dancing, swimming, and fishing.

You can even join a treasure hunt with cash prizes.

There’s even an opportunity to make your own Jolly Roger flag.

See Marine Life at South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Center

You don’t have to watch dolphins to become a part of their world.

The dolphins at the South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Center in Port Isabel enjoy a life of complete independence.

Here you can see how the dolphins’ lives intertwine with the natural world and how your actions can help protect them from danger.

The dolphin experience is unlike any other in the world.

You will meet all the rescue animals and learn how to make your family more eco-friendly.

Plus, you’ll gain a unique perspective on their existence in the wild with just six passengers, including the skipper and a dolphin dog!

Learn how to protect marine life and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience aboard a spectacular dolphin boat.

Drop by the South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Center in Port Isabel.

Discover Artifacts at Treasures of the Gulf Museum

Imagine yourself as a passenger on one of three Spanish ships sailing off the coast of Florida in 1554.

You’re heading for a new life in Latin America, but tragedy strikes and your ship runs aground.

The Treasures of the Gulf Museum in Port Isabel recounts the story of three Spanish ships that sank in 1554 just off the coast.

These wrecks swept 300 sailors hundreds of miles away from their intended destination and deposited them on a beach.

Their perilous journeys claimed the lives of all but one passenger.

Interactive displays, movies, and artifacts tell the narrative of these courageous explorers and help you understand life before modern technology.

Visit the Treasures of the Gulf Museum when you can!

Enjoy a Family Excursion at Osprey Cruises

Osprey Cruises is your best option if you’re looking for a fantastic way to experience the ocean.

This is the best spot to provide you with the best experience in Port Isabel.

The place has six boats and various trips and activities to choose what suits your taste and budget.

Whether you want to score the big catch during the Deep Sea Fishing Trips or enjoy the view on one of the Sightseeing Nature Cruises, this place got you covered.

Osprey Cruises takes pride in its customer service.

They want to ensure your vacation experience is one you’ll never forget.

Have Fun at Dolphin Docks

​Come to Dolphin Docks and experience a trip that should become a memorable part of your vacation.

The Fish Tales is the largest double-decker sightseeing boat and can accommodate a maximum of 100 passengers.

It is the only ship that can comfortably carry many passengers at once.

The vessel operates following the regulations set forth by the coast guard to ensure your safety.

The 70’ Fish Tales also offers fun and excitement for all ages.

Drop by Dolphin Docks when you can.

Try Seaside Camping at Arturo Galvan Coastal Park

You will enjoy the coastline park in Port Isabel.

The Arturo Galvan Coastal Park is the perfect suggestion if you’re seeking something entertaining to do on your next visit to Port Isabel.

The park features a picnic area with multiple grills and picnic tables where you may prepare your food or enjoy a snack break.

In addition, there are public restrooms conveniently located close by.

If you’re searching for something more adventurous, hiking trails through the forests lead to vantage points with breathtaking ocean views.

Even if you have exhausted little children with you, they should walk the paths without difficulty!

Explore the Arturo Galvan Coastal Park!

Visit the Port Isabel Cemetery

If you’re searching for an excellent spot to visit in Port Isabel, the Port Isabel Cemetery awaits you.

The Port Isabel Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Texas.

In 1829, Don Rafael Garcia established the cemetery, which has served as a burial ground for over 200 years.

In 1829, the Mexican government awarded Don Rafael Garcia almost one acre of land to construct the cemetery.

According to local legend, ranch laborers at El Fronton de Santa Isabel began using this location as a cemetery as early as the 1840s.

However, the oldest marked graves in the cemetery date back to the 1880s.

In December 1849, the French Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate consecrated it as a Catholic cemetery, although they had previously used it for community burials.

Reflect on life at the Port Isabel Cemetery.

Enjoy a Cruise Ship Experience with Bay Wind Sailing Charters

It’s time to set sail in Port Isabel!

When you board the Stiletto 27 cruise catamaran of Bay Wind Sailing Charters, you will enter a world where the only things that matter are the wind in your hair and the waves beneath your feet.

Roughly 3,000 years ago, the Intracoastal Waterway spoil banks bisected the Laguna Madre on the western side.

West Bay is a smaller, more profound, windier, and murkier bay.

While the East Bay is the crown jewel of South Padre Island, the West Bay is a close second.

This bay is larger in square miles, three to four feet deep, and extends north to south along the island.

You can do most water sports in this area, such as sailing, kayaking, and kiteboarding.

The grassy bottom and absence of current result in crystal-clear water and magnificent views.

Experience Port Isabel to the fullest with Bay Wind Sailing Charters.

Get Something at Tesori

Do you enjoy going shopping?

Do you enjoy going shopping in a place with the atmosphere of a real getaway?

If that’s the case, you’ve found the best place in Port Isabel.

Tesori is your one-stop shop for all the one-of-a-kind presents, items, and accessories you could ever want.

You can find this store in Port Isabel Light House Square District, which has served local and international customers since 1998.

Tesori also has everything from Italian jewelry to Consuela Handbags, art accessories, and much more.

Buy Souvenirs at Coastal Winds

What will you bring back from Coastal Winds?

Do you want a beach umbrella? A framed photo of the sunset over Laguna Madre?

How about a custom-made painting of your favorite place on the coast?

The Coastal Winds features a wide selection of gifts, art, and home decor that will brighten your day.

Bring a little bit of the Texas coast home with you.

Since 2001, the shop has collected unique items and local wares to delight all customers.

They even design their things with inspiration from the people they meet and the beautiful home of Port Isabel.

It offers a range of gifts, art, and home decor to help you bring the Texas coast home.

Whether you’re just passing through Port Isabel or wintering in South Padre Island, enjoy the creative products at the Coastal Winds!

Join Eco Tours with Captain Andrew’s Inshore Charters

If you want a remarkable experience while enjoying the excitement of fishing, head to Captain Andrew’s Inshore Charters.

Get a deeper understanding of the ecosystem of Port Isabel by joining their eco-tour.

If you want to add a trophy catch to your fishing resume, put the Texas snook at the top of your list.

You can go out on the water with Captain Andrew, who’ll help you catch one of these fish.

In addition to fishing, one of Captain Andrew’s goals is to educate others about the environment in the Lower Laguna Madre.

Additionally, Captain Andrew wants to preserve the local ecology.

While collecting his bait and other species, he sticks to practices that do not negatively impact the environment.

Help protect the environment by joining Captain Andrew’s Inshore Charters.

Final Thoughts

Isabel Port is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing vacation.

There’s something about a place that doesn’t give easy access to the rest of the world yet still has such an incredible sense of community.

In Port Isabel, you can feel it.

The people are always willing to lend a hand or help you if you’re in need.

Start planning your trip today!

You might find more things to do in Port Isabel, TX, when you arrive.

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