Things to Do in Rockport-Fulton
Take a dip in some of the clearest waters of the Texas Gulf Coast, catch a massive speckled trout, visit a true Texas natural wonder, and explore a beautiful 19th century home. Do all these things in Rockport-Fulton, two dynamic cities full of great museums and art galleries, fantastic fishing spots, and interesting historic landmarks not seen anywhere else in the Lone Star State. Frequently named among the top coastal towns in America by USA Today, Rockport-Fulton has so much to see and do that you may have a hard time knowing where to get started. Never fear, fellow traveler. We’ve put together a list of a few of the top things to do in Rockport-Fulton to help you get started on your vacation planning.
Play at Rockport Beach
If you’re in need of a beach vacation, it’s hard to beat the clear water of Rockport Beach. In fact, this beach was the first in Texas to be certified as a Blue Wave Beach by the Clean Beaches Coalition. What does that mean for you? Access to a top-class beach without having to leave the country, of course! At Rockport Beach, you can swim in the pristine water, walk the .75-mile Bayside Walking Path, or simply relax in the shade of an umbrella and listen to the waves crash on the shore. Fishing is one of the top things to do at Rockport Beach as well, so bring your rod and tackle box. You can fish almost anywhere, although we do suggest you check out the popular 800-foot pier at the north end of the beach.
Crystal-clear water and plenty of space to play makes a visit to Rockport Beach a top thing to do while you’re in the Rockport-Fulton area.
Visit The Big Tree
At more than 1,000 years old, 44 feet tall, and nearly 90 feet wide from branch to branch, The Big Tree sounds like something mystical from an old fairytale. Instead, it’s a true Texas marvel that is easy to see while you’re hanging out in the Rockport-Fulton area. Head to Goose Island State Park to check out this behemoth, thought to be one of the largest live oak trees in the United States. As you stand in front of the tree, reflect on the fact that it was about 500 years old by the time the Spanish began exploring Texas. Over the years, the tree has survived countless hurricanes, strong storms, and even a bombardment from Union forces during the Civil War. The size and age of The Big Tree makes it a natural wonder well worth seeing while you’re in this part of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Experience the Beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast
With its miles of scenic shores, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and wealth of flora and fauna, it’s fair to say the Texas Gulf Coast is a beautiful part of the Lone Star State. That’s why one of the best things you can do while you’re in the Rockport-Fulton area is to simply get outside and experience it. Head north from town and your first stop will be Goose Island State Park, situated on the northern side of Copano Bay. Along with The Big Tree, the park is home to a 1,620-foot fishing pier and more than 100 camp sites.
Continue up the coast and you’ll reach Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which was named among the top national wildlife refuges in the country by USA Today. Hike several miles of nature trails, enjoy a panoramic view from the observation tower, or watch dolphins and stingrays swim past the fishing pier. Visit in the winter to see flocks of gorgeous whooping cranes or throughout the year for the turtles, blue crabs, and other wildlife.
During a visit to either park, you may see a wide variety of wildlife including raccoons, bobcats, alligators, and numerous types of birds. During the autumn or winter, you’re likely to see something a bit rarer: the whooping crane. These nearly five-foot-tall birds are the tallest, and one of the rarest, in North America. There are only two flocks of whooping cranes left, and one of them migrates to this part of the Texas Gulf Coast to escape the bitter cold of a northwestern Canadian winter. If you want to see one of the continent’s most unusual birds in its natural habitat, make sure you visit either park in the fall and winter.
Play Golf, Ride Bikes & Get Outdoors
With its beach, state park, and wildlife refuge, you could spend a lifetime uncovering all the natural wonders that Rockport-Fulton has to offer. Believe it or not, we've barely scratched the surface. For those of you who always pack your golf clubs, tee off at one of three nearby golf courses that take full advantage of the Texas Gulf Coast's stunning landscapes. Head to Memorial Park for the nine-hole disc golf course and stay to enjoy a picnic or to explore the 1.65 miles of hiking and biking trails or the 3/4-mile nature trail.
The park is known as a hotspot for birdwatching throughout the year, and you can do just that from the two trail-side observation areas. Memorial Park also has an outdoor fitness court where you can work up a sweat doing just about every kind of body-weight workout you can think of. To enjoy more time on two wheels, pedal along the Tule Creek Hike and Bike Trail, the Goose Island Big Tree Route, and many other paths that you can find here.
Looking for an epic cycling adventure? Follow the Aransas County Grand Tour Route, a 40-mile loop that starts in Fulton and takes you south to Aransas Pass and back up through downtown Rockport, immersing you in the stark beauty of the Gulf Coast.
Explore the Rockport Cultural Arts District
Tie on your walking shoes and get ready for a full day of retail therapy as soon as you arrive in the Rockport Cultural Arts District, located throughout the downtown Rockport area. Step inside dozens of one-of-a-kind shops to check out the vast selections of art, home decor, jewelry, and clothing. Meander along and you'll also come across art studios and galleries that display works in all mediums. Arrive in the morning and start your day with a coffee at Rockport Daily Grind, then spend some of the afternoon sipping on locally made wine and craft beer at Winery on the Bay / Dog'Gone Brewery. As soon as your appetite hits, stop by restaurants like 495 Chesapeake Eats or Latitude 28°02' Restaurant and Art Gallery, two eateries that double as art galleries.
As afternoon turns to evening, rest easy at either the Angel Rose Bed & Breakfast or The 1868 R.H. Wood House, two historic inns and bed and breakfasts set in the heart of the cultural arts district.
While there's plenty to see and do in Rockport-Fulton, the Rockport Cultural Arts District is a destination of its own.
Yes, this may seem pretty obvious. After all, the Rockport-Fulton area is a coastal destination that fully embraces its gulf-side spirit. Yet there are a few things that set this part of the Texas Gulf Coast apart. For starters, the warm waters of Copano Bay, San Antonio Bay, and Aransas Bay are teeming with fish to catch, including speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. Fish from one of several piers or jetties, where you'll find plenty of space to fish along with places to rent a pole and purchase some bait.
Rent a single or tandem kayak from Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures and paddle along secluded coastlines teeming with wildlife. If you have your own, you can drop into the water at Rockport-Fulton area's many Kayaking spots, including along Port Bay Road, Swan Lake, and Cavasso Creek.
Yet that’s not the only way to fish in the Rockport-Fulton area. Wade fishing is a popular pastime and can be done at places such as Goose Island State Park and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Guided deep-sea fishing trips are another great way to catch one (or several) fish of your own. If you want to plan your own adventure, check out this list of chartered fishing tour providers in the Rockport-Fulton area.
Embark on a Boating Adventure
The gentle tides of Aransas Bay are not only for swimming and fishing; they set the stage for an epic day out on the water, or check out Little bay for a day of waterskiing or fun on a jet ski.
If you don’t have your own watercraft, you can take a two-to-three-hour cruise right from the harbor.
Summer is the season for a morning dolphin watch cruise where you'll see pods of cresting dolphins or sunset cruise to admire vibrant sunsets over the bay.
In the months of November-April cruises to see the endangered whooping crane and other shore birds are readily available.
Tour Rockport-Fulton’s Museums
Rockport-Fulton is known for its beautiful beaches and fantastic fishing, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to do here. In fact, there are several interesting historic sites and museums to visit and explore. One of the more prominent is the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, a restored 19th-century mansion that features the sloping roofs and intricate detailing commonly found in French Second Empire architecture. Tour each room of the home and get a glimpse of what life was like in the Texas Gulf Coast before the dawn of the 20th century.
The Fulton Schoolhouse Museum is another significant historic site to visit. Step through the doors of the original one-room schoolhouse and see artifacts and displays that shed some light on what it may have been like to be a young student in Rockport-Fulton’s earliest days. For a look at the seafaring history of the Texas Gulf Coast from the days of European exploration to the advent of oil exploration and drilling, find your way to the Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport.
If you're on the hunt for even more tales of Rockport-Fulton's past, stop by the History Center for Aransas County, where you'll find an array of fascinating artifacts that help tell the story of this part of Texas. There are also more than 50 historical markers throughout the county, as well as the Rockport, Fulton, and Lawton cemeteries where you some of the area's earliest settlers are interred along with Civil War veterans and other notable people. Your journey through the past isn't finished without visitng the Schoenstatt Shrine and the Stella Maris Chapel. The former is a replica of the original shrine built in Vallendar, Germany in 1914, while the chapel is the oldest remaining building in the Diocese of Corpus Christi.
Rockport, TX 78382