San Jose Island Texas shells on beach San Jose Island Texas Natural Beach Seagulls on Beach in Port Aranasas shells lightning whelks, shark’s eyes, sand dollars San Jose Island Birding and Nature San Jose Island natural dunes

San José Island

A Forgotten Island Treasure

Texas. Undisturbed.

San José Island is privately owned, please be respectful when visiting. This website is managed by the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau.

About San José Island

San Jose Island is privately owned. Historically a ranch, today the island is managed principally for wildlife. Access is permitted only on public land, meaning that you must stay on the beach below the vegetation line. But that is exactly where a wealth of birding, shelling, fishing and beach combing can be found.

The chance to immerse yourself in unruffled Texas nature is just a short ferry ride away from Port Aransas, Texas.

This island, set in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, is home to some of the best birding and saltwater fishing in the south. Boasting 21 miles of undisturbed golden sand, vehicles are prohibited on this particular Texas shoreline. San José Island is a collector's resource for beautiful and unique seashells including lightning whelks, shark eyes, sand dollars, starfish, angel wings, and more.

In an area known as the "Fishing Capital of Texas" some of the best angling can be done from the rocky edges of the North Jetty. Locals and visitors catch the passenger ferry daily from Fisherman's Wharf in Port 'A' on Mustang Island to cast their lines for Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder and more.

After a day soaking in the natural beauty of San José Island, ferry back to Port 'A' to shop, dine and stay. With accommodations ranging from cozy cottages, conventional motel rooms, spacious condominiums to private beach homes, you'll want to make Port Aransas your home base when visiting the area. Indulge in fresh coastal cuisine at fine local eateries and eclectic kid-friendly restaurants. Forgot your island attire? Visit one of the local shops to find both unique and coastal clothing as well as knick-knacks and nautical items to give your home a one-of-a-kind island vibe. Port 'A' is always bustling with fun and family-friendly things to do.

Fun Facts

miles of unspoiled coastline

plus species of native fish

number of ways to access island

plus species of native birds

Things to Do


The warm waters off of San José are home to over 600 species of a fisherman’s favorite Texas-sized catches. Enjoy a lazy day, leisurely fishing from the jetties or go big and board a chartered excursion out of Port Aransas.


Get the bird’s eye view of numerous shorebirds and pelagic species from the shores of this island. Back in Port Aransas, visit the many birding sites boasting boardwalks and observation decks. Catch a glimpse of Roseate Spoonbills, Reddish Egrets and Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, just to name a few. Rub elbows with fellow bird enthusiasts during the Whooping Crane Festival every February.


The pristine beaches of this uninhabited island are open to the public but closed to vehicles, which makes for excellent swimming, surfing, beachcombing and shelling. Lightning whelks, shark eyes, sand dollars and many other species of shells sprinkle the sandy shoreline.

Play in Port 'A'

After a day soaking in the natural beauty of San Jose Island, ferry back to Port Aransas to shop, dine, and stay. Rent a golf cart, the unofficial convertible of the island, and explore all that Port 'A' has to offer. Work up a hunger perusing local boutiques then sample fresh gulf seafood and other favorites at island eateries. After dinner, enjoy live music and ice-cold beverages at quirky island bars or indulge in a gourmet gelato before calling it a night.

San José Island is privately owned, please be respectful when visiting.

Stay & Play in Port Aransas!

Port Aransas Texas Accommodations

Whether you prefer a cozy cottage, conventional motel room, spacious condominium, or your own beach house, the island offers beach front digs to fit your needs. You can even sleep under the stars at one of the campgrounds or RV parks!

Find Your Place


Launch your boat, drop a line from our lighted piers and popular jetty or hire a private charter for the fishing adventure of a lifetime. When back on dry land, head to a local eatery and have your catch cooked for you.

Tackle Port 'A'

Port Aranasas Texas Nature
Birds & Nature

From soaring spoonbills and pelicans overhead to dolphins frolicking past the surf, nature surrounds you here. Take in the sights from must-see lookouts along the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, a kayak or even a bicycle.

Watch for Birds

Port Aranasas Texas Beach

Spend balmy days stretched out in the sand on your own patch of uncrowded shoreline and moonlit evenings strolling along the water’s edge. Have a need for speed? Appease your inner adventure seeker by partaking in windsurfing, kitesurfing or parasailing.

Get Sandy

Port Aransas Texas Restaurants

From scratch pastries at sun-up to fresh seafood at sun-down, indulge in Port Aransas’ finest gourmet cuisine. Nosh in flip-flops at many eclectic open-air eateries or put on your best-pressed Hawaiian shirt for fine candlelit dining waterside.

Nosh in Flip Flops

Port Aransas Texas Shopping
Shop & Browse

Shops, art galleries and boutiques galore offer island treasures that reflect the unique laid-back attitude of Port 'A'. Browse unique home décor, island inspired fashions, and essential gifts from the heart that bring lasting memories of Port Aransas and San José Island.

Uncover the Goods

Getting Here

San Jose Island is a short passenger ferry boat ride from Fisherman's Wharf in Port Aransas. Ferry service is limited; be sure to plan ahead. There are two ways to access Port Aransas. From Corpus Christi, the island is linked by the JFK Causeway. The causeway climbs high above the Laguna Madre, making a direct line to SH 361 and Mustang Island. Alternately, take the 'scenic route.' The free ferry system brings visitors to the island across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel via car ferries, which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also fly into Corpus Christi International Airport, or land your private plane on Mustang Beach Airport's 3,500 ft. runway.

How Far in the Car?

San Antonio: 3 hours
Brownsville: 3 hours
New Braunfels: 3 hours
Houston: 3 hours
Fredricksburg: 4 hours
Austin: 4 hours
Waco: 5 hours
Fort Worth / Dallas: 8 hours
El Paso: 10 hours

Map & More Brochure
Port Aransas Map & More Brochure Download


Download your personal guide to getting 'round Port Aransas. Come explore and enjoy our little town.


Downloadable Port Aransas Brochures