2- LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S COTTAGE. Visit the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage for a free lighthouse memorabilia and artifact display. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage was constructed in 1997 with the same plans used in the original 1850′s construction. It houses the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce and the Port Isabel Visitor's Center. 956-943-2262
3- TREASURES OF THE GULF MUSEUM. In 1554, a fleet of ships wrecked 30 miles north of Port Isabel. The Treasures Museum tells the tale of the survivors with a variety of displays. Gift shop.
4- PORT ISABEL HISTORIC MUSEUM. The Champion building, built in 1899, sports a fish mural painted by a one-armed man. Inside, two stories jam packed with artifacts straight out of the past. Gift shop.
5- TOUR PORT ISABEL'S 8 REGISTERED HISTORIC MARKERS. The Port of Matamoros, located at Pirate's Landing; the Charles Champion Building; the Queen Isabella Causeway; Fort Polk located at the Port Isabel Lighthouse; Queen Isabella Inn; Alta Vista Apartments on Yturria St.; and the Palangana Cemetery.
6- BEULAH LEE PARK. In the center of Park District. Two gazebos, lots of outdoors.
7- PORT ISABEL EVENT & CULTURAL CENTER. Port Isabel's newest venue! Over 9,000 square feet of meeting and event space. 309 E. Railroad Ave.
8- TEXAS’ LONGEST LIGHTED FISHING PIER. Don’t have a rod and reel? Rent one. Don’t want to fish… spectators are welcomed. Great viewing of the Friday night fireworks over the Laguna Madre. Great fishing under the lights. Open 24/7 weather permitting.
9- PORT ISABEL YACHT CLUB. Constructed in 1927, when Port Isabel was just incorporated and just a few years before the area got a deep water port. Al Capone & Amelia Earhart were former guests.
10- BAY FISHING TRIP. Need a story to bring back home with you? Put your fate in the hands of a local expert captain. Skinny water, great big fish.
11- OFFSHORE FISHING TRIP. Skinny water not enough? Try an offshore fishing experience for a bigger fishing tale.
12- BUTTERFLY & BIRD WATCHING AT THE MUSEUMS. Specially selected foliage attracts birds and butterflies that can be viewed from the walkway between the Historic & Treasures Museums.
13- WATCHING PELICANS AT PELICAN STATION. The railroad pier pilings and boulders visible at low tide make perfect pelican perches.
14- BUY FRESH SEAFOOD. If you don’t want to catch your own, or just want to take home some succulent Gulf shrimp, shop Quick Stop, Joe's Seafood Market, Reyes Seafood or Los Tortugos Seafood Market.
15- EAT FRESH SEAFOOD. Many restaurants offer to cook your catch and add their side dishes. Or choose from menus full of expertly prepared seafood.
16- SHOP TILL YOU DROP. Port Isabel has excellent shopping options. Walk from shop to shop in Light House Square or tour the many excellent retailers in town for just what you have been looking for.
17- VIEW THE SHRIMP BOAT FLEETS. Visible from both South Shore & Port District, or from the end of Champion St., many of these fleets have been in families for generations. A variety of factors are contributing to the rarity of their existence as a way of life.
18- CROSS THE ONLY SWING BRIDGE IN TEXAS. At the intersection of South Shore Drive and Garcia St., you can cross the only swing bridge in Texas. The bridge opens for recreational and commercial barge and shrimping traffic.
19- GO ON A DOLPHIN CRUISE. Take a few friends or your family with you on a dolphin cruise and experience marine life close up and personal. Dolphins playing in the waters next to the boat create life long memories.
20- CITY OF PORT ISABEL CEMETERY. The City Cemetery is home to some of the earliest settlers to the area. Grave markers with countries of origins connect us to lands across the waters.
21- OLDEST CEMETERY IN PORT ISABEL. Located on Island Ave. right hand side, 1/2 block north of Queen Isabella Blvd., know as the Polongana Cemetery. This cemetery is undergoing preservation efforts
22- VISIT THE QUEEN ISABEL INN. Constructed sometime in 1908-1909, the Queen Isabel Inn has been witness and triumphant to many of the area’s hurricanes. It was constructed to service the increasing sport fishing traffic to the Laguna Madre area. It was originally called the Point Isabel Tarpon Fishing Club and was home to the Tarpon Rodeo (Texas International Fishing Tournament).
23- DRIVE MODERN VENICE. Carved from earth and water during the 1930s, Modern Venice offers a waterfront view for every resident.
24- DRIVE THE PORT ISABEL/SAN BENITO NAVIGATION DISTRICT. The southernmost deepwater port in Texas is home to shrimping fleets, related industry and can facilitate large sea going vessels at its docks. Shrimp boats use the turning basin before heading back to dock. Barges, ships, fishing and pleasure craft pass through these waters.
25- PICNIC UNDER THE TREES AT THE PORT ISABEL LIGHTHOUSE STATE PARK. Enjoy an afternoon in the sea breezes, under the trees, steps from the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse.
26- READ AN ADVENTURE AT THE PORT ISABEL PUBLIC LIBRARY. Take a break from all the action and settle in with a good book. Or check up on news from home on one of the library’s computers. 213 Yturria St.
27- TAKE THE WALK OF GENERALS. Strategically placed in the Lighthouse District, the walk of Generals pays homage to the military giants that spent time in Port Isabel or on Brazos Santiago (Boca Chica Beach).
28- HIKE OR BIKE THE EL PASEO TRAIL. 11 miles of marked trails will take you from the east end of Port Isabel to the County Park in Laguna Heights.
29- VISIT ALL 8 DISTRICTS IN PORT ISABEL. 8 districts offer a glimpse of the diverse character of Port Isabel.
30- SEE THE WETLANDS BEHIND H.E.B. The intersection of Highways 48 & 100 is a perfect example of the terrain of the Laguna Madre area before its settlement in the early years.
31- WINDSURF THE LAGUNA MADRE. No shortage of fuel here! Navigate the bay from the flats on South Padre Island to the Port Isabel Side Channel in Port Isabel.
32- VISIT THE HISTORIC FORT POLK ON THE LIGHTHOUSE GROUNDS. In 1852,the Port Isabel Lighthouse was constructed at the cost of $15,000. Zachary Taylor built Fort Polk the site of the Lighthouse in 1846 which served troops until 1850.
33- TRY TO FINISH TEXAS’ LARGEST FLOUR TORTILLAS. So big, they dwarf a dinner plate. Filled with anything you want. Not a challenge for the faint hearted. Isabel’s Cafe and Manuel's Restaurant both boast of Texas Monthly’s best tortilla ratings!
34- VISIT ALL 11 KIOSKS ON THE EL PASEO WALK. When walking or biking the El Paseo trail, take advantage of the 11 rest areas. Shade, benches, bike racks, trash receptacles.
35- WATCH A MOVIE AT THE LIGHTHOUSE ESTABLISHMENT CINEMA. Free to the public. Friday's, June and July at 9:30pm.
36- SEND A POSTCARD HOME FROM THE PORT ISABEL POST OFFICE. Share a memory. Don’t just email home, buy and send an authentic postcard from Port Isabel.
37- SEND AN EMAIL FROM THE PORT ISABEL PUBLIC LIBRARY. OK, sometimes the mail just isn’t fast enough. Use the library’s computers to let folks back home know what a great time you are having.
38- FLYFISH THE LAGUNA MADRE. Some of the best fly-fishing on the Gulf coast will test your technique.
39- WADE FISH THE LAGUNA MADRE. Strap on the bait bucket and hit the Laguna Madre ‘mano a mano’.
40- VISIT THE OLD PORT ISABEL FIRE HALL. Located southeast of the Port Isabel City Cemetery, the old Port Isabel Fire Hall is still used for community activities.
41- VISIT LAFITTE’S WELL. He had to get fresh water somewhere, why not dig a hole in Laguna Vista.
42- PLAY GOLF. On the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway at Long Island Village or on the banks of the Laguna Madre at SPI Golf Club, test your handicap on both courses.
43- LAUNCH YOUR BOAT AT THE CITY DOCKS, PARK CENTER, SEARANCH II OR WHITESANDS. You’re not going to catch any fish if it stays on the trailer.
44- STORE YOUR BOAT AT SEARANCH II. Don’t want to trailer your boat all the way from home? Might not be here for for awhile? Dry dock your boat at Searanch II in Port Isabel.
45- DOCK YOUR BOAT AT THE CITY DOCKS. Check at City Hall for information on the City Docks’ accommodations. Call 956/943-2682 for more information.
46- WATERFRONT DINING. Pelican Station, Pirate’s Landing, Harborview Restaurant or the deck at White Sands, pick one, or try them all.
47- SAIL THE BAY. Challenge your skills, or drop anchor and enjoy the breeze and the peace and quiet.
48- STAY IN PORT ISABEL. Nostalgic to waterfront to modern to a waterfront RV experience. Moderately priced Port Isabel accommodations offer what you need.
49- BUY FINE ART. Take an original created by a local artist home with you.
50- BUY SOMETHING OLD. Like antiquing? Our retailers have some real finds!
51- BUY SOMETHING NAUTICAL. Need a seashell? A port hole? A whole boat? You just might find it in Port Isabel's charming nautical themed shops.
52- KAYAK THE CHANNELS. For an offroad view of Port Isabel, take a kayak through the channels.
53- JETSKI THE LAGUNA MADRE. Kayaking too slow? Jetski the Laguna Madre!
54- FISH IN TEXAS’ OLDEST FISHING TOURNAMENT. Port Isabel is home to the Texas International Fishing Tournament. If you don’t fish it, check out the weigh-in activities at the Searanch II docks in the Port District. Held annually the first weekend in August.
55- RUN ACROSS TEXAS’ LONGEST CAUSEWAY. Held annually in January, Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce’s Longest Causeway Run & Fitness walk is a 10k run & 5k walk that starts in Port Isabel and ends across the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge on South Padre Island. Click here for more event information. Causeway Run / Walk FAQ's
56- EAT THE WORLD’S BEST SHRIMP. Fresh caught in the Gulf, our local restaurants serve fresh caught Gulf shrimp, expertly prepared. If you’re in the area in November, sample the finest at the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce’s World’s Championship Shrimp Cook-Off. Held annually, the Shrimp Cook-Off packs entertainment, vendors and shrimp in a memorable day. Shrimp Cook-Off
57- VISIT THE VALLEY’S SPORTS HALL OF FAME & ONE OF THE LARGEST SPORTS MEMORABILIA COLLECTIONS IN THE RGV. See Doubleday’s Sports Bar.
58- VISIT THE PIRATES AT PIRATES LANDING. And enjoy a meal overlooking the Laguna Madre Bay.
59- SHOP MARKET DAYS. Held twice a year in April and October, Market Days coincides with bike rallies that bring thousands of bikers to the area. Market Days offer vendors, food, jewelry, art, collectibles, antiques and more and live entertainment. No admission. Call 956/943-7602 for more information.
60- VALLEY’S OLDEST DAY OF THE DEAD CELEBRATION. Held the Saturday before Halloween, Port Isabel’s Day of the Dead Celebration is a day long event with a tour through the cemetery, displays at the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, the Historic Museum and a Lighthouse Establishment Cinema screening of a horror movie at the Port Isabel Lighthouse. Call 956/943-7602 for more information.
61- SEE THE BROWNSVILLE SHIP CHANNEL. From the intersection of Garcia Street and South Shore Drive or in the Port District, you can see large ocean going vessels and barges turn in from the Intracoastal Waterway or the Gulf of Mexico enroute to the Brownsville Ship Channel.
62- SEE THE INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY FROM THE TOP OF THE CAUSEWAY. The darker deeper water seen from the top of the Queen Isabella Causeway is the Intracoastal Waterway. Dredged in the 1930s, it offers a safer passage from the east coast as vessels can pass between mainland and barrier islands instead of navigating the Gulf of Mexico.
63- SEE THE ORIGINAL QUEEN ISABELLA CAUSEWAY. Cross the swing bridge on the end of Garcia Street and continue following the road to the left to see the original bridge route. When you cross the new causeway, look to the right for the remaining portions of the bridge. The east end of the bridge on South Padre Island serves as a fishing pier.
64- WATCH THE FIREWORKS OVER THE BAY. Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the City of South Padre Island creates a breathtaking fireworks display on the north side of the causeway over the Laguna Madre Bay. Take a party boat for a close up view or choose a front row seat on the banks of the Laguna Madre in Port Isabel.
65- CHRISTMAS CAROL AT THE LIGHTHOUSE. Held the first weekend in December, the Community Christmas Caroling is hosted by the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce
66- TRICK OR TREAT THE LIGHTHOUSE SQUARE. Look for the pumpkin in the participating merchant’s store fronts for free goodies.
67- CROSS THE LONGEST BRIDGE IN TEXAS. Going to South Padre Island? You’ve got to cross the longest bridge in Texas. The Queen Isabella Causeway was constructed in 1972. It was renamed the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge after the 2001 collapse. The bridge is 2.6 miles long.
68- CAMP IN PORT ISABEL. Enjoy the sounds of seagulls and the fresh sea breezes.
69- SPRING BREAK IN PORT ISABEL. From February to April, south Texas sees the migration of college students taking a little ‘R & R’.
70- WATCH THE LIGHTED BOAT PARADE. The Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce hosts their Annual Lighted Boat Parade the first Saturday in December. Dozens of viewing spots offer great front row positioning for this Laguna Madre tradition. Click here for more information
71- VISIT ONE OF THE TOP THREE BEACHES IN AMERICA. Cross the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge to South Padre Island. Enjoy the Jetties at Isla Blanca Park, the pristine beaches on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, horseback riding on the beach, visit the sea turtles, shopping, dining, bird watching and more!
72- WI-FI. Need to make it a working vacation? Catch the free Wi-Fi at the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce and Port Isabel's Visitor Center in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage, Pirate’s Landing, White Sands Restaurant or Doubleday Sports Bar.
73- ART WALK. Held the first Saturday in November, the Art Walk features artists hosted by participating businesses. Art is on display and artists demonstrate their craft. Sponsored by the Port Isabel Merchants Committee.
74- TOUR PORT ISABEL’S 8 REGISTERED HISTORIC MARKERS. The Port of Matamoros, located at Pirate’s Landing; the Charles Champion Building; the Queen Isabella Causeway; Fort Polk located at the Point Isabel Lighthouse; Queen Isabel Inn; Alta Vista Apartments on Yturria St.; and the newest site, the Palangana Cemetery (marker to be installed in 2006).
75- FLOWERING PLANTS & TREES. Varying with the seasons, look for Cactus, Yuccas (Spanish Dagger), Royal Poincianas, Century Plant, Aloe Vera, Anaucua (sandpaper plant), Sea Grape, palm trees, Mountain Hyacinth, Mesquite, Ebony and more.
76- PLAY IN ALL THE PARKS. Berrell Mock, Washington Park, Veterans Park, Episcopal Church Park, the Laguna Madre Park, Rio Grande Railroad Park (under construction), Triangle Park and the Port Isabel Lighthouse State Park.
77- HISTORY BY THE MURALS. From contemporary to historic, see the murals at the Port Isabel Museums, the fish mural on the front of the Champion building, the mural on Port City Mercantile, inside Our Lady of the Sea Catholic Church, Lighthouse Chiropractic building, Dr. Sellers’ office, Cuevas Seafood Market and the murals inside Pirate’s Landing Restuarant.
78- CHECK OUT THE UTB/ROBERT RUNYON PHOTO DISPLAY. The 50 photos that decorate the walls of Dirty Al's at Pelican Station Restaurant illustrate Port Isabel’s ties to the railroad.
79- COMMUNITY GALLERY. On the Highway 100 side of the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, displays illustrate our past, present and future.
80- SEE A REAL SHRIMP BOAT. The Lady Bea II is on display in Historic Light House Square near Pirates Landing.
81- TROPICAL LANDSCAPING. Everywhere… medians, corners, Triangle Park, Beulah Lee Park, First National Bank of Edinburg, Coleman Hall & Heinze Insurance building, Treasures of the Gulf Museum and Port Isabel Historic Museum.
82- ANCHORS & NAUTICAL ARTIFACTS. Drive, hike or bike and keep an eye out for all the anchors and floats that adorn both private and public properties.
83- ARCHITECTURE. The Port Isabel Lighthouse, the Keeper’s Cottage, the Yacht Club, Alta Vista Apartments, Isla Vista Apartments, Wireless Station buildings, Champion building, Queen Isabel Inn, the Thompkins building, Old Port Isabel Firehall, shops on Maxan Street… discover uniqueness.
84- VISIT CREATURES OF THE SEA. Located on 110 N. Garcia St., the SPI Dolphin Research & Sealife Center offers exhibits, touch tanks with starfish, urchins, live snails and more.
85- ZACHARY TAYLOR’S WELL. Located between the Port Isabel Historic Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum.
86- SITE OF THE MILITARY HOSPITAL. Used from 1846 – 1865, this military hospital saw more discomfort caused by disease than injuries caused by both the US/Mexican and the US Civil Wars it was in use for. Its location is at the Pirate’s Landing Pier parking lot.
87- CATCH UP ON THE LOCAL NEWS. Pick up a Port Isabel/South Padre Press, and Island Breeze, the South Texas Current, the Parade or the Island Times for all the local information.
88- WALK THE SQUARE. Do some shopping or have an ice cream while you walk around our historic Light House Square.
89- TAKE A BOATER’S SAFETY COURSE. Check with the Laguna Madre Yacht Club for their next scheduled classes.
90- ATTEND THE CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE.
91- WANT TO MAKE IT PERMANENT? If you are considering a move to the area, check out the real estate agents that could make your dream come true.
92- GET A NEW DO. Treat yourself to a new look.
93- GET ALL THE AREA INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED. Stop in at the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce land Visitor's Center at the Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage.
94- LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT OUR LOCAL HISTORY. Like our page at facebook.com/portisabeltx for #TBT
95- WATCH A SUNSET. Sunsets over the Laguna Madre are spectacular and free!
96- WATCH A SUNRISE. If you didn’t stay out too late, take in a sunrise before heading to breakfast. They cost the same as a sunset.
97- TRY ALL THE ‘ALL YOU CAN EAT FISH’ SPECIALS. Pirate’s Landing, White Sands, El Papa’s Restaurant, Marcello’s Italian Restaurant. How hard could that be?
98- TAKE A NIGHT TIME FISHING TRIP. The Isabella leaves the Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier for a night fishing trip on the Laguna Madre Bay!
99- WORLD’S LARGEST FLY FISHING ROD. The Guinness World Record fly rod is located at the end of Maxan St. Assembled by Tiney Mitchell, 6/12/99. It is 71′ 4.5″ tall. The reel is 4 ft. in diameter and 10″ wide.
100- RELAX. You’ve got a lifetime to complete the list!
101- PLAN. To come back again!