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When visiting the beaches of Port Aransas, you’ll find that the beaches are wide and fairly flat. For this reason, driving on the beach is allowed in the sandy lane-like areas in front of the dunes.
While driving on the beach won’t cost you a thing, parking on the beach will require a beach parking permit, which is a simple sticker to be placed in the corner of your car’s windshield. These annual permits are valid for the year and can be purchased for only $12.00. Having a beach parking permit will allow you to park legally for “free” on the beach between Marker 0-62.
Annual beach parking permits can be purchased at:
- Port Aransas City Hall
- Port Aransas Visitor Center/Chamber of Commerce
- IGA Family Center (local grocery)
- Stripes convenience store
- Other locations around town and on the beach (during peak season)
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Where to park for free at the beach
Free beach parking is allowed between the South Jetty and Horace Caldwell Pier, and also between Beach Markers 52-58.
Where to camp on the beach
RV and tent camping are permitted on the beach in Port Aransas. However, according to the city, there is a 3-night limit during any 3-week period.
One of the best areas to camp in Port Aransas is at I.B. MaGee Beach Park. Located on the northern most point of Mustang Island in Port Aransas near the South Jetty, I.B. Magee Beach Park consists of 167 acres and is open all year (once they make repairs from Hurricane Harvey from August 2017).
There are campsites with water and electric hookups and a dump station. A fresh water rinse shower located next to the park office. They also have a beach bathhouse with coin operated showers and a first-aid station.
There are just a few guidelines for the placement of your tent or camper at the beach…
Check the tide
To camp on the beach, you must position your campsite away from the water’s edge… 50 feet, to be exact. You want to fall asleep to the sound of the waves, not be in the actual waves themselves.
Check your location
To ensure your safety, especially at night, you should position your campsite about 200 feet away from any beach access road. Allow yourself plenty of space to be seen at night by any late night traffic or safety patrols.
Camping is not allowed within 25 feet of the obvious driving lane on the beach or in any area that would create an unsafe condition. I’d recommend setting up your campsite inside the bollards to ensure you’re out of the lane of traffic at night.
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Clean up when you leave
Be sure to take your trash with you when you pack up. Keeping the beach clean and free of trash is so important. While small fires no larger than 3 ft. x 3 ft. are permitted on the beach, be sure to extinguish your campfire before leaving your camp site.
Regardless of where along the coast of Mustang Island that you choose to park, the view is sure to be stellar as you watch the waves roll in. Spend your days enjoying the cool water, playing in the sand, and creating family memories to last a lifetime.
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