Best Weekend Getaway (2011)

Port Aransas

The water's much prettier and greener than that of the Upper Coast, and there's both grit and family-friendly fun in this Coastal Bend town less than four hours down the Southwest Freeway. Fishing charters, dolphin-watching tours, parasailing adventures and ferries to nearly uninhabited Saint Joseph's Island embark from the town's harbor daily, and there's good food to be found if you get away from the tourist traps. (Think Shells, Kody's, Marcel's, La Playa and Roosevelt's; avoid Moby Dick's, Fins, and Virginia's on the Bay, except for cocktails. Also, seek out dockings of the mom-and-pop shrimp boat Pollyanna for home cooking.) Dive-bar connoisseurs will love Port A Harbor's legendary Shorty's Oldest And Friendliest Bar, while those seeking a livelier night out won't be let down by Sharkey's nightclub a little way out of town. (Tip: Avoid that dreaded DWI by hiring a beach bike from one of the rental services.)


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