Port Isabel combines fascinating local history with a picturesque setting on the Gulf Coast. Climb the historic lighthouse, learn about the Spanish galleons shipwrecked off the coast and spot more than 400 bird species in a nearby wildlife refuge. The city is a stone’s throw from the Mexican border, which means you’ll enjoy a balmy tropical climate and delicious Tex-Mex cuisine.
Things to do in Port Isabel
Climb the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse and enjoy sweeping views over the Gulf Coast. Find out more about the unique history of the lighthouse, and shop for souvenirs at the Keeper's Cottage Visitor Center. Enjoy a picnic in the picturesque grounds and check the calendar for events like community markets and outdoor film screenings projected onto the lighthouse facade.
View artefacts salvaged from a trio of shipwrecked Spanish galleons at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum. Exhibits trace the history of the three ships, which sank off the coast of Cameron County in the 16th century. See enormous cannons, nautical instruments, silver coins and other treasures.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for migrating birds, including wintering waterfowl and neotropical songbirds. Explore almost 100 kilometres of walking and cycling trails that take you past birdwatching hideouts and picnic spots. In addition to birds, the park is home to alligators, white-tailed deer and endangered ocelots.
Wherever you dine, expect friendly service and enormous portions in Port Isabel. The waters surrounding the city are full of marine life. Cast a line off the local fishing pier or charter a boat and reel in trophy-sized tarpon, black drum and speckled trout. Many restaurants are happy to cook up your catch of the day.
Getting around Port Isabel
Port Isabel is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Rental cars offer the freedom to visit Port Isabel and explore Cameron County at your own pace. The city is a 4.5-hour drive from San Antonio and Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport is a 30-minute drive away.