The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips: I.B. Magee County Park, Port Aransas

Port A park has rebounded from Hurricane Harvey

By Gerald E. McLeod, June 25, 2021, Columns

I.B. Magee County Park in Port Aransas is going through some big changes this summer. After being nearly flattened by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the Gulf-side park is back with a bang.

The Nueces County property runs along the beach for about a mile south, from the jetty to Beach Street and Horace Caldwell Pier. This portion of the beach does not require a city parking permit and is accented with pylons that separate vehicles from pedestrians. Small wooden cabanas provide shade and a picnic table for sun worshipers. A vendor rents beach chairs, umbrellas, and games in a designated area.

The 1,240-foot, lighted pier gets fishermen out past the waves. Open 24 hours during the summer months, entry costs $3 per person and $4 per fishing pole. Keepers, the snack bar and gift shop on the pier, also serves as a tackle shop and neighborhood bar on stilts.

Work is nearing completion on a new observation deck next to the concession stand. Once it opens later this summer, beachgoers will have a covered area to watch the clouds roll by and the big boats in the ship channel.

Construction projects behind the dunes are taking a little longer. The county RV park is redone and open again, but the three-story bathhouse, restrooms, and park office building won't be finished until this fall or early next year.

Plans call for a new boardwalk from the RV park that will lead to a pond and birding blinds in the dunes. The wooden walkway will also provide access to the concrete World War II gun bunkers that protected the ship channel from a Nazi invasion that never came.

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