In honor of World Conservation Day

Located on the true Texas coast, Port Aransas offers an abundance of natural wonders waiting to be explored. As ecotourism gains popularity among travelers seeking sustainable and educational experiences, Port Aransas emerges as a prime destination for those who want to connect with the local marine life and contribute to conservation efforts. This post highlights some of the must-visit ecotourism attractions in Port Aransas, each offering unique characteristics that make them a great stop for eco-conscious adventurers.


The Patton Center for Marine Science Education at University of Texas Marine Science Institute

Immerse yourself in the captivating marine world at The Patton Center. With eight large aquaria and interactive displays, visitors of all ages can learn about the local marine life and the research conducted by the University Marine Science Institute and its Mission-Aransas Reserve program. The Center's walkthrough exhibits are free and open to the public, making it an accessible and engaging educational experience. Keep an eye out for "Keeper Chats" and fish feeding demonstrations, which add an extra layer of fun and learning. Kids will be enthralled by the live fish swimming in the diverse aquaria throughout the Center.

Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK)

Support a noble cause by visiting the Amos Rehabilitation Keep (ARK), where they care for and rehabilitate marine turtles and birds. The ARK's mission focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick or injured animals from the coastal zone of Mustang Island and St. Jo’s Island. By taking a tour of the facility, you'll gain insight into the critical work that goes into wildlife rehabilitation. Observe endangered sea turtles, sea birds, and raptor ambassadors, and learn about the significance of marine life and their habitats. The tour, though outdoors and requiring some walking, is an eye-opening experience, with all registration fees directly contributing to the ARK's rehabilitation efforts.

Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center

For birdwatching enthusiasts and nature lovers, the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center offers an exceptional experience. The center boasts a native pollinator garden and majestic trees, providing a serene atmosphere from the moment you arrive. Stroll along the boardwalks extending over 1,225 feet across the freshwater wetlands, leading to two shaded observation platforms and spotting scopes for prime birdwatching opportunities. Keep an eye out for various avian species, including Waterfowl, Grebes, Herons, Egrets, Cormorants, and the famous Roseate Spoonbills—Port A’s avian symbol. The center is also connected to the Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture South Trail, providing a chance to explore salt marsh and grassland prairie habitats. If you're visiting on a Wednesday, don't miss the free guided program, "Birding on the Boardwalk," which offers excellent vistas for birdwatching. Binoculars are available for loan.

The Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture

Discover the diverse ecosystem of Port Aransas Nature Preserve at Charlie's Pasture. This expansive area encompasses uplands, sand flats, marshes, wooded mottes, and shoreline, providing a habitat for a wide array of plant and animal life. A significant attraction for ecotourists is the opportunity to observe migrating and resident shorebirds, waterfowl, and songbirds. To make the most of your experience, join the free Nature Walk every Saturday at 8 a.m., which meets at the Community Park. Additionally, indulge in the tranquility of Nature Preserve Yoga, held free of charge at the pavilion in Charlie's Pasture every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. Registration for both activities is available at


Dolphin Watch Tours

Embark on an enchanting adventure through Port A’s waters with a dolphin watch tour. These tours offer a wonderful opportunity to witness dolphins and other local wildlife up close while enjoying a relaxing boat ride. Numerous companies in Port Aransas provide dolphin watch tours, each promising a memorable encounter with these graceful creatures. For more information, check out where you can book a dolphin watch tour here.

Flynn's Beach Squad

For those who want to actively contribute to preserving the island’s natural beauty, Flynn's Beach Squad offers a rewarding volunteer opportunity. Open to locals and visitors alike, this squad conducts regular trash cleanups at various spots around the island, including the beach, Alister St., Cotter Ave., and Roberts Point Park. Join Flynn's Beach Squad every Monday and Thursday at 9 a.m. and play your part in keeping the coastal environment clean and pristine. You can sign up for the next Flynn’s Beach Squad day here.

Keep Port Aransas Beautiful

Join the mission to create a cleaner and more beautiful Port Aransas by supporting Keep Port Aransas Beautiful, a volunteer-led organization. Their efforts encompass promoting sustainable behaviors such as reducing litter, recycling, and using native plants, while also enhancing the beauty of streets and public spaces. Through community education, they emphasize the importance of protecting natural resources for the long-term sustainability of the city. If you share their vision, consider becoming a member or volunteering with them to make a positive impact on the environment.

Port Aransas, Texas is a treasure trove of ecotourism activities, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the region's natural wonders while supporting conservation efforts. From educational marine centers to birdwatching havens and engaging volunteer opportunities, Port A offers a well-rounded ecotourism experience for everyone to cherish.