Rockport & Fulton - The Charm of the Texas Coast
Just thirty miles north and up the coast from Corpus Christi lies a thriving city of quaint shops, fishing trawlers, art galleries, and seafood restaurants. Once known as Rocky Point, the Rockport area was part of one of twenty-three original counties of the Republic of Texas and was located where the southwest's great cattle industry began . . . a place that originally controlled the military and economic destiny of Texas.
During the early days, one of the main approaches to the territory of Texas from the sea was Aransas Colony to El Copano. Another, through Cedar Bayou, was under the control of the pirate Jean Lafitte. He is said to have buried a fortune in the shifting sands. Although the Spanish explored and charted the area in 1519, they met with fierce resistance from the Karankawa Indians. But in 1746, the fort of Aranzazu was built at Live Oak Point near today's Copano Causeway. Spanish ranchers prospered in the shade of windswept oaks as early as 1766. Many of those old oaks remain today, giving Live Oak Peninsula its name.
Modern day Rockport and Fulton host travelers from around the world. The year 'round climate, world-class birding, fishing, hunting, and other outdoor recreations . . . from sailing to festivals, have gained Rockport and Fulton recognition as “the Charm of the Texas Coast.”
Throughout the year such festivals as the Fulton Oysterfest in March, the Rockport Art Festival/Fireworks on July 4th weekend, the Hummer/Bird Celebration in September, the Rockport Seafair in October, the Celebration of Lights and Fulton Christmas in December, draw visitors and residents alike. In addition, other festivities and activities pop up throughout the year, so be prepared to have lots to do all year.
Tourism continues as the major industry along with seafood production, but in recent years retirees from all parts of the country have brought a new diversity to the best of the coast. Many points of interest include nearby Goose Island State Park, home to the second largest tree in Texas, the Rockport Beach Park, Connie Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Stella Maris
Chapel, Schoenstatt Shrine, Copano Causeway Pier, said to be the longest lighted fishing pier in the world, and much more.
No trip along the coastline would be complete without a stop at the stately Fulton Mansion, a historic 4 story home featuring many innovative ideas that were way before their time. Built at a cost of $100,000, the 30-room mansion was first occupied in 1877 and sported such avant-garde features as hot and cold running water, flush toilets, a central heating and ventilation system, and gas lighting (provided by a gas plant on the property). Designated as a historical site and meticulously restored by Texas Parks and Wildlife, this gracious structure is open for guided tours hourly Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Another must see on the list is the Texas Maritime Museum. Evolving from the Rockport Seafair festivals of years past, the idea of a museum featuring the maritime history of the Texas Coast was born. Now nearly in its 15th year it is home to several major projects, including a scow sloop, La Tortuga. It was built by the museum volunteers, using only hand tools. Christened and launched in 1990, the sloop is representative of the fishing boats used by commercial fishermen until the 1950s.
The Rockport Center for the Arts is located in a restored blue Victorian home at the edge of Rockport Harbor. Local and Southwest artists show their best within these rooms. With the wealth of natural beauty and varied subjects, the Rockport-Fulton area is home to many artists. In addition, there are commercial art galleries, photography studios, and many art-related shops. The year 'round pleasant climate encourages visitors to attend the many exhibits offered throughout the year.
Only 40 to 50 minutes from Rockport-Fulton is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which is the principal wintering ground for the nearly extinct whooping crane. Birdwatchers from around the world come to the refuge to view more than 300 species of flying creatures. In addition the sanctuary is home to over 80 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles and amphibians. Viewers can explore the area via trails, from observation towers, and by boat. The 54,829 acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is just off Hwy 35 north of Rockport. The visitor's center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. The refuge is open every day from sunrise to sunset.
Friendly people, sunlit waters, and the timeless beauty of one of America's last unspoiled wild coastlines, have led generations of visitors to call the Rockport-Fulton area their “second home.” Welcome!
Stop by the Chamber of Commerce at 319 Broadway where you will find information on the area including a list of things to do, a historical walking tour, birder's guide, fishing guide, trips, events, art happenings and more!
For more information call the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-826-6441.