Day Trips: Goose Island State Park, Rockport

Coastal park offers campsites and a fisherman's paradise


Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Goose Island State Park, across the causeway from Rockport, is a fisherman's paradise. It is also a wonderful place just to kick back and enjoy the coastal breeze.

The park is at the tip of Lamar Peninsula separating St. Charles and Aransas bays. In the mornings and evenings, commercial fishing boats sweep the bays for the daily catch.

There's no swimming beach here. The shoreline is mostly mud flats and marsh grass favored by the red drum, speckled trout, and flounder that patrol the water's edge looking for a meal.


Several fishing guides start their expeditions from the park's boat ramp. There is a separate ramp for kayaks and canoes, a popular way to explore the coastline.

After the winds of Hurricane Harvey wrecked the old pier, a 1,620-foot walkway was built in 2020. Anglers don't need a fishing license when dropping a hook from the park's shoreline or the pier.

Camping is the attraction for non-anglers. The park is two parks in one when you consider the campgrounds. The Bayfront campground is on an island and offers 44 sites each with its own picnic shelter, water, and electricity at the water's edge. On the mainland the Lantana loop campground provides 57 campsites with hookups in an oak grove. Nearly every site is its own compartment surrounded by thick brush.


The 321-acre park was purchased in 1931 as a wintering ground for whooping cranes. Much of its infrastructure was built by the Civil Conservation Corps, including a recreation hall made of shellcrete, a building material utilizing oyster shells.

Goose Island State Park is about 12 miles north of Rockport. To make reservations, go to texasstateparks.reserveamerica.com or call 512/389-8900.


1,562nd in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a weekly travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Goose Island State Park, Rockport, St. Charles Bay, Aransas Bay, Hurricane Harvey, Bayfront Campground, Lantana Loop Campground, Civil Conservation Corps

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