If you’re craving some serious coast time, Rockport-Fulton has your fix. Rockport was recently voted the No. 3 “Best Coastal Small Town” in the U.S. by readers of USA Today, and the entire area — Rockport and Fulton are two separate communities in the same county — is brimming with beautiful scenery, protected natural landscapes, wildlife, fascinating historic sites, a thriving arts and culture scene, and more.
Here’s how to make the most of the area.
A gem on the Texas coast is the mile-long Rockport Beach, dotted with palapas and proudly flying the “Blue Wave” flag — meaning it’s clean, managed responsibly, and has a focus on the protection of human health and the environment.
It also boasts a wildlife sanctuary, boat ramps, trails, beachfront pavilions, volleyball, fishing piers, and more.
The chances of a good catch are high at Fulton Fishing Pier. But stick around Fulton Harbor for some of the best seafood restaurants, nightlife, and accommodations in the Coastal Bend area, all within walking distance.
Embrace Mother Nature
Just minutes north of Rockport-Fulton is Goose Island State Park, where there are more than 320 acres for camping, nature hikes, birding, and fishing.
Just seeing the Big Tree there alone is worth the trip; it’s estimated to be more than 100 years old and was once a meeting spot for local native tribes.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is for the birds — literally. It has been voted the No. 1 birding spot in the nation and for good reason, with more than 400 species, including the endangered whooping crane. You’ll see other wildlife though, too, like turtles, alligators, wild pigs, blue crab, and butterflies.
You can see even more birds, such as mottled duck, snowy egret, sandhill crane, and little blue heron, at the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary and the Linda S. Castro Nature Sanctuary.
Aransas Pathways sites are another good option for getting into nature; they feature outdoor activities from kayaking to hiking and biking trails and birding, and include historical markers and The History Center for Aransas County.
Rockport is a designated Cultural Art District, and as such has an incredible Rockport Art Center with rotating exhibits and a sculpture garden. Close by, a corridor of streets is lined with diverse art galleries — there’s nearly one every 150 feet!
The RCA also hosts festivals, including the Rockport Art Festival on July 2-3, 2022, which was originally founded in 1969. Now it features more than 120 artists, music, food, and more. There’s also the Rockport Film Festival every November, which embraces the spirit of indie cinema.
Fest with the best
Speaking of fests, there is at least one major event every month in Rockport-Fulton. In the summer, Lemonade Day is adorable; more than 30 lemonade stands pop up across the community. On July 4th, there’s a boat parade and fireworks.
In September, HummerBird Celebration is an annual event celebrating the migration of the ruby-throated hummingbird, with events and programs held throughout the community.
Seafair, held on Columbus Day weekend, brings thousands of people to the coast to enjoy the local seafood, live music, a parade, arts and crafts, a carnival, and more.
Go back in time
Learn about the state’s rich seafaring history, from Spanish exploration to the search for offshore oil and gas, at the Texas Maritime Museum.
As you venture through the area, you may also spot the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site rising above Aransas Bay and surrounded by stately live oaks. The house’s mansard roof and ornate trim is hard to miss. Inside, you’ll get a rare glimpse into the life of an affluent family in the late 1800s.
Discover more coastal charm in Rockport-Fulton here.