By June Naylor
Photos courtesy of Sunflower Beach
Sunflower Beach offers family-friendly options for bunking in style on the Texas coast.
Just off Corpus Christi, Mustang Island is anchored at one end by the village of Port Aransas.
Now remarkably recovered from Hurricane Harvey’s devastation 2½ years ago — the storm decimated the businesses in this beach community — the town and its environs make for possibly the prettiest beach playground along the Gulf of Mexico.
While the Texas coast lacks white-sand beaches and bright blue waters, it makes up for it in hospitality and a casual charm. A new development, Sunflower Beach, is fashioned after Florida’s popular Destin-area resorts like Seaside and Rosemary Beach, and is a bargain for vacationing families.
In addition to homes, villas and condos, a selection of charming modern cabins called The Camp gives you a choice of stylish retreats that sleep up to seven guests. Each provides spacious bedrooms and plenty of unwinding possibilities in living areas and on balconies and patios. Furnished kitchens, indoor-outdoor showers, deep tubs and fireplaces add to the appeal.
It’s a quick walk to two swimming pools (one for adults only) and play areas for kids, as well as a boardwalk that crosses the wild dunes to a private beach area where Sunflower staff will set up your chairs and umbrellas for the day and bring your snacks, drinks and lunch.
For your meals, the kids no doubt will be happy with pizza or home-cooked burgers in the cabin, but tempting dining-out options include the grouper Reuben and shrimp and grits at the Black Marlin Bar & Grill, meatballs and spicy sausage and penne at Dylan’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, and crabcakes and chargrilled oysters at Tortuga’s Saltwater Grill.
Feel like burning off some calories? Borrow bicycles for the 3-mile ride into downtown Port A, where a nature center lets you roam a network of boardwalks to see alligators and assorted water birds (kingfishers, herons and many more) in picturesque marshes. Book a deep-sea fishing trip at the marina, or fly kites on the windy beach beside the jetties.
Looking for a souvenir of your trip to take home? Check out a watercolor by a local artist at the Port Aransas Art Center. It’ll be a nice addition to the seashells the kids have collected and some sand in your suitcases.