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Coasting into Fall

In October, the weather at the coast couldn't be dreamier–warm days, cool nights, balmy Gulf breezes…. We hope the story on page 18 of the print issue has convinced you to head to Port Aransas, which lies within easy driving distance of two don't-miss October festivals.

First up, Rockport kicks off its fall season with the annual Seafair (Oct. 10-12 this year). Here's your chance to feel what it's like to paddle a kayak, learn how to prepare tasty seafood dishes (and catch the best fish), and browse the wares of more than 75 arts and crafts vendors. A carnival, a 75-float parade, a gumbo cookoff, and crab races help keep the event silly. (Want to catch your own crabs for barbecuing? We hear that crabbin's good over at Rockport Beach.) For more information about the festival or about things to do in Rockport (art galleries, fun restaurants, or viewing the endangered whooping cranes, which arrive in late October and remain through mid-April), call 800/826-6441; www.rockport-fulton.org.

On October 18, you can enjoy the annual Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Celebration, a free daylong festival focusing on the preserve's wild creatures. The refuge, established in 1937 to protect the vanishing wildlife of coastal Texas, now encompasses more than 47,000 acres of blackjack oaks, grasslands, tidal marshes, and narrow ponds. Year round, you can tour the refuge's museum, view the marshlands from an observation tower, and hike several miles of trails, along which you might spy alligators, cranes, deer, turtles, birds, and other wildlife. On October 18, Aransas also hosts falconry exhibitions, sporting-dog retrievals, bird-banding demonstrations, and workshops covering such topics as wildlife photography, fishing, attracting wildlife with native plants, and Dutch-oven cooking. In addition, naturalists will lead guided tours of the refuge, and you can learn more about the recovery of red wolves, sea turtles, and whooping cranes. For more information, call 361/286-3559, or see the link above.

From the March 1998 issue.

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