Things to do in Rockport

After a fantastic two month stay along the Texas Gulf Coast, we’ve hitched up and started our journey back to the desert.  I love having the freedom to split our time between two such diverse places; the Texas Gulf Coast and the Arizona desert. I’m grateful I don’t have to pick one or the other because each place offers something special and unique.

St. Charles Bay

Sunrise over St. Charles Bay, Texas

First, let’s talk about the water.  Gosh, what’s not to like about water, beaches, and sunsets, or in my case, sunrises!  All this water is the main attraction and the reason folks year round flock to the Rockport area.

Copano Bay

Rockport is popular with anglers

Rockport BeachYou won’t find much of a beach scene around Rockport/Fulton, but it is an anglers delight.  For miles of sandy beach, you’ll want to visit Mustang Island.  With that said, there is a small stretch of sandy beach to enjoy at the  Rockport Beach.

The Rockport Beach is a one mile long strip of land with sandy beach on one side of the road and a migratory bird area on the other side.  This is a fee use area and you’ll need to leave pooch at home.

There’s a small area roped off so nesting birds won’t be disturbed, making this a worthwhile stop for birders and photographers.  It’s also the perfect place to get in a little kayaking and paddle around an island to view nesting migratory birds.great blue heron

Although summer is considered peak tourist season, you’ll find plenty of snowbirds in the winter hanging around and calling themselves winter Texans…. us included.

friendship

Having friends over to our place.

Because this is such a popular place to escape the harsher weather to the north, you never know who you’ll run into around here.  Our friends, Faye and Dave, were wintering on Mustang Island, an easy one-hour drive away from our camp and we enjoyed a few get togethers with this entertaining couple.  We also managed to squeeze in a few other social engagements.

friendship

And then a get together at their place on Mustang Island.  Faye and Dave on the left.  Al and me on the right

This was our fourth year spending January in this part of Texas and our first time spending February.  Thus, I’ve had time to put a dent in this list –  51 things to do near Rockport.

Fulton, TexasRockport/Fulton are quaint, small town communities where everyone waves.  You won’t find any high-rise condos around here, although it is a very popular spot for folks from the big cities of San Antonio, Austin, and Houston to own second homes.  There’s also no shortage of RV Parks.

roseateThe original draw for us four years ago to visit the Texas Gulf Coast was for Al to meet up with his buddy and do manly things with manly men 😉  Little did I realize during that first visit, how I’d come to embrace and relish our visits to the Texas Gulf Coast.

And now it’s a toss-up as to which one of us looks more forward to these visits.  Thankfully it doesn’t matter considering we’re in full agreement that we’ll continue returning until it no longer fits.

Fishing and hunting is extremely popular round these parts.  We usually roll into town sometime during the last week in December which happens to be duck season.

duck hunting

Duck hunters know how to treat their dogs. Dog gets its own seat, wears a life vest and ear protection.
One hunter says to the other, can I borrow …. truck yes, wife maybe, dog never!

The airboats can be heard going out every morning starting around 5:30 a.m.  Once the Christmas/New Year holiday week is over, the morning noise lightens up during the oyster boatweekday but continues in a steady stream on weekends.  By the end of January, duck season is over and the only airboats going out are anglers and they tend to go out at a much more reasonable hour.

The St. Charles Bay can be rather shallow which is why airboats are so popular.  But during certain tides, the sight of oyster boats are common.  Oyster fishing is huge business around here and the first weekend in March is the Oyster Festival.

A lot of anglers fish from shore or don chest waders and fish while standing in the water.  There are public duck blinds for anyone to use on a first come basis for duck hunting during the season.

duck hunting

These two hunters are wading out to a public blind.  St. Charles Bay, Lamar, Texas.  Oyster boats in the distance.

whooping cranes

There’s a public duck blind in the water above the left crane and arrow sign

Texans love their outdoor recreation.  Allow me to share my winter Texas neighborhood along with the diverse activities taking place within relative close proximity to one another.  AND everyone gets along, respecting recreational choice.

I alternate between walking and riding my bike around the neighborhood.  Envision me having a Julia Roberts moment – a scene from the movie Eat, Pray, Love.  There I am Light at the end of the tunnelriding my three speed bicycle with a cute basket on the front (gotta have the basket, you know), camera slung across my body. As I pedal slowly, I glide down the tree-lined road.

My long flowing hair blows gently in the breeze (in reality the uncontrollable curly frizz is tightly bound and tucked under a cap in a battle against the extreme humidity and gusting winds 😖).  I take in the sights and wave to passerby’s.  As I exit the trees, I’m greeted by the expanse of the bay in the distance.  Further down 8th Street, I see several cars parked along the road.  The endangered whooping cranes can be seen in the field along with my favorite Brahma calf and a slew of other birds can be seen mingling near a pond.Texas Gulf CoastOf course, I too stop and start taking photographs (duh! like I’d pass up a chance to work that shutter).  Folks from around the country and the world visit this part of Texas for the birding.  Seeing a family of endangered whooping cranes is a rare and special treat.

Kayaking anyone? He launches at the end of 12th St. and Lamar Beach Road

Truck guy launches kayak at the end of 12th St. and Lamar Beach Road while whooping crane family looks on.  These birds are used to the flurry of activity, but they still stay far away – 600mm zoom and crop

A little later and you can see the green kayak in the water

A little later, you can see the green kayak in the water

There’s several of us lined up along the fence taking photographs of the whooping cranes.  Locals and visitors a like engage in idle chit-chat.  The loud boom, boom, bang, bang in the distance has a visitor questioning what the noise was. I, considered a winter local, along with another local dweller, exclaim nonchalantly, “Oh, those are the duck hunters in that blind out in the bay”.  With that said, we were back to our photo taking and chit-chatting about the birds.Rockport Texas

After snapping the camera’s shutter one too many times, I continue my bike ride along Lamar Beach Road.  I ride by several fishermen enjoying the day.  A kayaker in the bay was off paddling while the duck hunters were gathering up their decoys.  I roll by pedestrians and other bikers and regardless of who I pass, hellos and waves are exchanged as if we know one another.

Pelican

Pelicans act like begging dogs at the fish cleaning station at Goose Island State Park.

A short time later, I’m pedaling around Goose Island State Park.  Although the shore birding around the park can be hit or miss, I can always count on pelicans to entertain me, especially if there’s someone cleaning fish at the cleaning station.

Pelican eating fish

Who needs a human when I can catch my own! ISO 100 F4.0 1/1000  (600mm)

Boat & RV left side-This is our 82 yr old neighbor who is an avid fisherman. He launches, docks, does everything himself and never gets his feet wet! Winters here and spends summers in Montana

Boat & RV left side-This is our 82 yr old neighbor who is an avid fisherman. He launches, docks, does everything himself and never gets his feet wet! He winters here and spends summers in Montana.

Let’s see, so far I’ve biked around the neighborhood.  I’ve taken hundreds, actually more like thousands, of bird photographs.  I’ve also enjoyed photographing interesting sights and amazing landscapes.

foggy morning

a foggy morning along the coast had me out of the RV by 7:00 a.m.

spider web

a foggy morning provided mystery and interest

marina

marinas offer tons of photographic material – lots of interesting things to see

I can’t forget to mention, a visit to a marina shouldn’t be missed.  There’s so much great blue heroncharacter and intrigue to see.  Or how about doing a little shopping at Rockport’s historic downtown or touring an art gallery or two. This gal always manages to work in a few days of frivolous shopping.

On a rainy day, I get a kick out of visiting gift shops and checking out the crazy souvenirs. Who thinks up these things, and who buys it? 😉  Oops – guilty!

Here’s a write-up I did last year sharing a few more sites like the Fulton Mansion.seashells

Hmm, I might write up one more post about the Texas Gulf Coast and then we need to move on.  Ah yes, I already miss her…. miss the water and the birds and look forward to returning at the end of the year.  But the desert is calling.  The desert in bloom can’t be missed!Texas Gulf Coast

Browning Neoprene Dog Waterfowl Hunting Vest, RTM4,M 1303002202 Medium

 

Sougayilang Boot-Foot Chest Waders Waterproof Fishing Hunting Boot Waders (12.5)

 

 

Birding Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend: More Than 75 Prime Birding Sites (Birding Series)

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97 thoughts on “Things to do in Rockport

  1. Exceptional post and photos, Ingrid. Your photography captures and compositions are astounding! Wishing we could have made it and hooked up with you both as planned! We’re still pouting being stuck in the mid-Atlantic…..except holding and loving that new grandbaby has certainly made it a whole lot more enjoyable than it could have been. 🙂 Still no word from the manufacturer about our RV, they still have it, been two months now. 😦 It’s driving us a bit crazy….and slowly destroying our passion to RV full-time….just trying to hang in there and wait it out.

      • Oh I’m sure it isn’t all wonderful, but it’s not the norm. That’s what I love. We’re going to sell up & live on a boat 😊 so looking forward to it. We have a camper van too & so looking forward to just setting off 😊🚐

  2. Hi, Ingrid; I’ve enjoyed following your blog for some time now. I’m wondering how you manage WordPress. I’ve completely run out of room for more photos. As your blog has so many (lovely!) photos, have you upgraded to a paying version of WP? I’m not sure I’m that committed to blogging! I’m wondering whether I’m misunderstanding how it works….any help much appreciated! All the best.

    • Thank you and I wish I could help but I’m afraid I’m not sure how WP calculates everything. I do pay for a .net address but that’s it right now and I’m getting close to 75% of my allotted GB’s. I do make sure all photos are downsized to 800 on the long side. I’m not sure what I’ll need to do once I hit my max 😬

  3. That pelican with the fish in it’s mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!
    Great shots! YOU need to get back and see this crazy looking desert that has gone GREEN!

  4. Im so glad that I have you to visit, commune and photograph my feathered friends in that area. As much as I would have love to tag along right next to you, your outstanding captures are more than enough to satisfy me. Great post!

    • Ah… I know you don’t have much interest in returning to TX. So I’ll keep you entertained with my photos thus you won’t have to go back 😄

  5. Oh my, Ingrid, that photo of the spider web is just amazing! 😀 Nice work… bet that one could win a prize somewhere. I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing your amazing photos from that area, especially your “pink bird” posts! haha Although we’ve lived in the state all our lives, this area is one neither of us has ever visited, and I’m sad about that because I think we would both love it for the exact same reasons your and your hubby love it… me for nature and photography and hubby for outdoor sports opportunities. He loves to fish and seldom gets to ocean fish. We need to talk more about planning a visit to this area, maybe in between the two high seasons. I’ve spent time in the Galveston area in the fall, and oh my goodness, the climate was amazing. We need to try to get down there sometime soon, I think. Glad you enjoyed your two months there!

    • Thanks. That spider web shot turned out better than I thought it would. A very fun capture and departure from the birds.
      There is no doubt in my mind you would enjoy this part of the Gulf Coast. I would recommend splitting your time between Goose Island State Park and Mustang Island SP with a stop over in the quaint town of Bandera – a new discovery for us. We’ve heard the weather in Corpus Christi is better in general than Galveston. I’ve enjoyed both places and we’ll return to Rockport next Jan and Feb

  6. I can certainly see why this area of Texas is so appealing to you…there is so much wonderful nature to keep you entertained for months.

  7. You certainly make that area look inviting.! We had rain, clouds, and cold while we were there and haven’t had the desire to return but maybe we should give it another try.

    • This place isn’t for everyone and a lot depends on personal interest. The weather this year was exceptional and not the norm. We too have experienced those times when the weather is most unpleasant and then yes it isn’t very fun. So far, we still enjoy our visits.

  8. Watching your Texas adventures for the past several years and watching Faye and Dave this year has inspired us create our plans to spend next winter in that area. The photography, hunting, fishing opportunities and just plain relaxing look outstanding.

    Great photos as usual, my favorites were the pelican with the fish and the spider web.

    • I had that camera working in overdrive, that’s for sure. Hopefully we’ll be able to meet up with you guys next winter. We have our res already set up for Jan and Feb. Fun times!

  9. Hokey Doodle! – Too bad we can’t comment on each image! Maybe you can number or name them for reference. I like most of them – so I’ll leave it at that. FAVS: Spider Web, Pelican with fish catch, Pelicans at fish cleaning station, and your shot/commentary on duck hunters and their dogs

  10. Another great birding post Ingrid, looks like a great spot to shoot those cranes. Our Pelicans are just as greedy, it is amazing what they can put in their bill and squeeze down their throats. Love the last shot, beautiful!

    • Looks like eating is hard work for a pelican. I’m not sure I’d want to work that hard to swallow my food 😆 So many birds, so little time. Guess I’ll just have to go back next year for more birding. Oh darn!

    • Thank you Pam. I think the longer we live this lifestyle, the more we settle in and enjoy it. Hope we’ll be able to catch up with you guys even if just for a Starbucks.

  11. We were just watching pelicans fishing tonight. I can imagine how hard it was to get that shot. Really nice! Also, the dog on the boat?? The only thing cuter than a dog with ear protection is a dog with doggles! Love!!

    • Yes, doggles are adorable. Those airboats are so loud, that it would be mean not to have the dog wear ear protection. It’s been a great time along the Texas Gulf Coast and if it weren’t for commitments in the desert we would’ve spent March in the Texas hill country. I look forward to your posts on that area.

  12. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE , LOVE!! You captured everything we love about the Rockport/Fulton area..If we get away next year it will probably be Texas..To go to Florida, you need some reservations 6 mo. at least ahead of time..This year, we won’t be sure if we will get away at all until August..so if we do, Texas it is!!!!

    • I love the small town simplicity of the area. So I share your sentiment on Rockport/Fulton. Can’t beat those Texas State Parks either. Thanks to you, we discovered Canyon Lake… another fave. Hope you two will be able to get away next winter. You sure deserve it after the year you’ve had!

  13. Your going to love the return to the green desert…enough rain here this winter to green up the entire valley and the mountains. The lupine and poppys are going crazy and many cactus are showing off their soon to be flowers. I know its not like this every year, many folks are complaining about the rain but I am thrilled to be out of the cold PNW and will take the small amount of rain.

    We are really excited about visiting “your” part of Texas in December and January. Made a reservation at the Gulf Waters RV Resort…now I need a new camera!

    • Thank you for sharing the status of the blooms in the desert. One more day on the road and we’ll be there. Can’t wait. We have our reservation set up for next Jan and Feb back in Rockport. You’ll enjoy Gulf Waters RV Resort. It’s a beautiful park. My next post will have a map with a few Port Aransas points worth seeing.

  14. We’re planning to return to Rockport next winter for at least a couple of weeks on our way to Florida (just a little detour! :-)) Perhaps we’ll finally meet up! I enjoy so much looking at your beautiful photos and reminiscing about how much fun we’ve had in that area. Here’s hoping the winter weather will be just as good next year as it has been for you this year!

    • Oh yes, it would be wonderful if the weather would be equally as agreeable next January. We already set up our reservation for next Jan and Feb. I have a feeling you’ll be in FL by then, huh? My next post will include another map with a bunch of my favorite spots that you might find useful. One of these days, I do hope we’ll bump into each other!

    • Ah, if only I would get myself out of bed early every morning. Some of those sunrises are breathtaking and I’ve missed a bunch of spectacular captures by 20-30 minutes. Hmm, perhaps rising early for the month of January will be my New Year’s resolution 😃

  15. Looks like such a wonderful place, Ingrid. Love that pelican photo. What a mouthful! Looking forward to seeing your desert photos very soon. You all look so relaxed dining so authentically al fresco. 🙂

    • We do lead an entertaining lifestyle which includes a lot of outdoor living. Watching a pelican trying to swallow a fish looks like so much work 🤢 but quite interesting!

  16. Love the photos and the post…makes me want to go! The water by Rockport…that photo just looks so peaceful. I love that one the most. Had never seen an airboat like that before….good capture!

    • Thank you … it’s all about the water and I love it when the winds are calm. Add a light layer of fog and it’s peaceful indeed. The airboats are interesting but sure are loud!

  17. Ingrid, this makes me want to return to Rockport! We’ve been to many coastal towns and it is one of our favorites. I’ll look forward to seeing what you discover there next winter! And looking forward to what you discover this summer in the desert. Safe travels!

    • We had the best visit yet this season to the Gulf Coast. We’re already looking forward to next years visit and talking about a few new ventures to add like renting kayaks.
      With all the excessive rain in the desert lately, I’m hoping for a fantastic bloom with no shortage of photo-ops.

  18. I don’t think you could get bored anywhere, Ingrid! Not wherever the birds flock, for sure. 🙂 The first and last photo are spectacular. So colorful and peaceful. Enjoy the desert for more stillness and fun!

    • There’s always something interesting to photograph where ever we travel, which I know you can relate to. Some areas just happen to provide more photographic material than others and Rockport is one of those places. I feel fortunate being able to travel to such diverse areas.

  19. Oh to be able to capture the pics you do!!!
    Love that pelican…how need to actually get the shot of him eating!! I love the early morning pics….what do you set your camera on when it’s foggy like that??
    Thanks for the awesome your of your special places!! Enjoy the desert….can’t wait to see those pics!!

    • During the fog, I actually used a tripod, which is a rarity for me. Half the shots were set on auto and the others were on various settings that I played with. Capturing birds doing unique stuff is a luck thing. I’m usually out running around in search of photo-ops regularly.
      Can’t wait to see the desert in all her blooming glory!

  20. Another wonderful written post. Photos are always so lovely. You have such a way with words. My favorite….Pelicans act like begging dogs….how cute is that. Great job, girlfriend. Enjoy the desert in all its glory!

    • Thanks Marsha. Those pelicans are such characters. We’ve had a wonderful time along the coast but it’ll be nice to get back to the desert to dry out.

    • Thank you Sandra and yes it is a great place to visit. The humidity can get a little bothersome and thus it feels great to get back to the desert.

    • I sure was never at a loss of things to photograph. It’s been a great couple of months keeping that camera working. We’re already planning a repeat next year.

  21. Love the pelican with the fish in her craw. Timing is everything.

    We are packing up and moving on today, as well. We’ll miss the serenity of our mountain cabin, but are looking forward to warming up a bit. It has been so much cooler this year than last.

    Happy travels. Enjoy the desert.

    • You are so right about that ‘timing’ thing. I got lucky capturing that pelican. We made it to Deming NM today and hopefully Phoenix tomorrow. Hope to see plenty of desert wildflowers and cactus blooms.

      • Things are greening up quickly. Stayed at Gilbert Ray last night for one night shake-down after getting Fireball out of storage. The difference between Feb 28 and Jan 31 was astonishing.

    • Rockport has become somewhat of a second home to us. We’re already talking about spending three months in Texas next season and splitting that time between Rockport and other areas. Texas is one BIG state with a lot to see.

    • Haha… that road does look like a biking lane. You should see me driving the F250 through there. The birding this year was exceptional 😊

    • Thanks Cindy and if you’re looking for a trip that would be workable with a tent, this is very doable with lots of fabulous Texas State Parks to choose from.

  22. Fantastic photos! Love them all! We just got back from a trip to the desert. We thought how ideal it would be to spend a few months there this time of year. Have fun!

  23. OMG…the shot of the pelican with a mouthful of fish….turning green, but so much admiration!

    I spent the day in Cedar Key yesterday and found many similarities. 😀

    • Cedar Key is on my radar if we ever make it that far east with the RV. I used to visit Clearwater Beach regularly during my younger years. Eating looks like such hard work for a pelican 🤢

      • We had a lovely time in Cedar Key…very peaceful…another place where time stands still..except for selling chotskies.

        I did see a pelican eat, though not good picture became of it…agreed, it looks like very hard work. I prefer to enjoy my meal. 😉

  24. Hello Ingrid,
    Now you make me want to go there again! It sure is a wonderful place. Well, we’ll go to Galveston at the beginning of April, to celebrate my 70th birthday. I’m looking forward to that part of the Gulf coast as I’ve never been there.
    Have a great time travelling,
    Pit

    • We spent a month in Galveston a couple of years ago in November. I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time. Once again, we loved our stay in Texas and may even extend that stay next year.

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