Port Isabel is one of the oldest cities in South Texas with a rich history going all the way back to 1519 when the area was first charted by the Spanish explorer and cartographer, Alonso Álvarez de Pineda. Boasting multiple museums, a landmark lighthouse, world-class fishing, and year-round events and festivals, Port Isabel is a fun destination offering a little something for visitors of all ages.
Port Isabel is located along the south shore of Laguna Madre, right where the Queen Isabella Causeway begins taking travelers across the water over to South Padre Island. Just six miles to the west is the tranquil community of Laguna Vista. Part of Cameron County, Port Isabel is ringed with water and because of this, it has always been an important harbor that was frequently fought over during the American Civil War.
With a historic lighthouse rising from the center of town, Port Isabel is a community that truly embraces its history with three museums, multiple monuments, and several other worthwhile points of interest.
The towering Port Isabel Lighthouse, built in 1852, appears on the National Register of Historic Places and is open to the general public. Climb the 75 winding stairs and take in the spectacular view from the perch 50 feet above the ground.
The surrounding grounds are also ideal for strolling or kicking back on a sunny day and several events take place here, including movie nights (with family-friendly films projected right onto the side of the lighthouse), as well as a few special market days with local vendors selling food, gifts, and handmade arts and crafts. Additional museums of note include the Port Isabel Historic Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum.
Kids of all ages will thrill to a trip aboard the Black Dragon, a 75-foot-long replica pirate ship offering interactive day, sunset, and firework cruises complete with a crew of wastrels, brigands, and other scurvy dogs. Several local marinas also offer bay and deep sea fishing charters for eager anglers looking to land kingfish, shark, amberjack, and tuna.
Landlubbers will find plenty of opportunities for window shopping and delicious seafood feasts, as Port Isabel is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in the area.
Just across the Queen Isabella Causeway, South Padre Island is a prime destination for seaside fun, offering miles of white, sandy beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and wildlife viewing. Indulge in a variety of watersports including kiteboarding, standup paddle boarding, kite sailing, and scuba diving, or take the whole family to the 25-acre Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark.
Port Isabel is also conveniently close to the Mexican border with the historic city of Matamoros located just 25 miles away, directly across the border from Brownsville, TX, on the southern bank of the Rio Grande.
A popular, year-round destination for snowbirds and spring breakers alike, consider one of our Port Isabel vacation rentals for your next South Texas getaway.
Photo Credit: Alan Schmierer via Flickr