Hidden Treasures

CityOf.com shares some fun ways to enjoy the great outdoors in Rockport, Texas.

By: Sylvia Slezak

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to enjoy the outdoors. Come along with us for some camping and adventure at a nearby hidden treasure: Rockport, Texas.

The first stop will be at Goose Island State Park to pitch our tent and set up camp. There are more than 100 camping sites to choose from; 44 are by the bay and 57 are nestled under oak trees, each with water and electricity. Every camping loop has restrooms with showers. For those who prefer more primitive camping, the park also has 25 walk-in tent sites without electricity and a group camping area.

We’ve set up camp and are going to check out all the things we can do here, such as:

• Fishing and birding along St. Charles and Aransas bays
• Roasting marshmallows over a campfire
• Hiking, geocaching and boating
• Observing and photographing wildlife
• Visiting the Big Tree, which has been standing sentinel on the coast for more than 1,000 years. In 1969, it was named the State Champion Coastal Live Oak.

Save the swimming for the shores of Corpus Christi. Don’t plan on swimming here, as the shoreline has concrete bulkheads, oyster shells, mudflats and marsh grass.

The next stop is some of Rockport’s area attractions, like the:

• Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
• Copano Bay Fishing Pier
• Bay Education Center
• Fulton Mansion State Historic Site

Here are some interesting facts about the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site and its first owners:

• The site is located in the resort area of Rockport-Fulton.
• It’s surrounded by stately live oaks and called Oakhurst by the Fultons.
• Its architectural style and mechanical systems were not typically found in this region.
• It’s the only house in the area to have central heating, gas lighting and indoor plumbing.
• It was built over a period of three years (1874-77).
• It passed through a succession of owners: a private residence, a restaurant, a backdrop for a trailer park and a recreation center.
• It was acquired by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1976.
• It became a Texas Historical Commission property in 2008.
• The Fulton family built it and lived in it for 18 years.
• George W. Fulton was a man of many talents who achieved some success as an engineer and inventor, as well as a ranching entrepreneur and promoter of the Texas Gulf Coast.
• George and Harriet Smith Fulton were married for more than 50 years.

We walked through Harriet’s gardens, heard stories of living in a grand Victorian villa, interacted with the exhibits found in the Education and History Center and browsed the gift shop. That was an exciting taste of history.

Speaking of taste, let’s put our taste buds to work at the finest cuisine the Coastal Bend has to offer. Paradise Key Dockside Bar & Grill on Cove Harbor provides spectacular views of the bay and wildlife preserve from their panoramic indoor dining room or dockside bar and dining area. We are surrounded by breathtaking views of nature. It is easy to get to by car or by boat.

But we cannot satisfy our hunger by views only. Paradise Key specializes in freshly prepared seafood and unique “Marina Munchies.” They have Rockport’s best burgers, great steaks, delicious tropical drinks and live music set in a friendly, beach-casual atmosphere.

It’s been a fun and exciting journey for us, and now it’s time to head back to basecamp. Come back next time to join us for another adventure as we discover more hidden treasures in and near Corpus Christi, Texas.

Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at CityOf.com. For more information on where to relax, have fun and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Coastal Bend, visit us online at www.cityof.com/corpuschristi to explore the featured premier restaurants, attractions and local events.

Photo by Neonskies www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography