Activities Beach Events

Book Early to Experience the Texas SandFest in Port Aransas

Texas Sandfest 2019 |

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When you think of a small beachside city with a sand-sculpting competition on the beach, Port Aransas, Texas, should be the first place that comes to mind. The Texas SandFest in Port Aransas is an annual island tradition that began in 1997 and has grown every year since. The huge influx of crowds for the event often causes visitors to scramble for last-minute accommodations, with rentals closest to the beach being the most requested.

Typically, SandFest is held each year in April, but the dreaded Covid-19 caused it to be canceled for 2020, then rescheduled from April 2021 to October 15-17, 2021.

SandFest is a hugely popular event in Port Aransas and visitors plan months ahead to attend. While they don’t sell advance tickets (a $15 wristband can be bought at the entrance, cash only), booking your accommodations in town in advance is highly recommended. Rentals will sell out quickly.

HOT TIP: DON’T WAIT to book your hotel, condo or beachfront home rental as soon as possible. Everyone wants the rentals that have easy beach access for walking to the event, like a boardwalk over the dunes, so those properties tend to be very popular and sell out fast. Click here to search VRBO and enter this year’s SandFest dates.

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What to do at SandFest

There are so many awesome activities to enjoy on the sand at the Texas SandFest like amateur sand-sculpting, watching the master sand sculptors at work, kids activities (like an inflatable water slide in years’ past), shopping the arts and crafts vendors, eating from the food trucks and rotating live music. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes, a wide-brim hat and bring extra sunscreen, because I’ve never seen a vendor selling it there.

If you haven’t been to Port Aransas during the Texas SandFest (say what??), here’s what you need to know for fully enjoying your first experience, 7 Things Every SandFest Newbie Should Know.

Admission wristbands can be paid by CASH ONLY at either of the two entrances for $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids, while children 5 and under are free (prices are subject to change). Proceeds from SandFest benefit local nonprofit groups in Port Aransas. So it’s a win-win!

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Photos from the Texas SandFest 2019

I’m not sure how the weather always seems to work out beautifully for the Texas SandFest, but in April 2019, it was perfect! Hot and sunny, perfect for cold drinks and good food on the beach. Here’s a few photos from the 2019 Texas SandFest in Port Aransas.

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Photos from the Texas SandFest 2018

The creativity of the master sculptors at the Texas SandFest each year never ceases to amaze me, and the 2018 SandFest was no exception. The detail these sand artists carve into their creations is mesmerizing to watch. Here are a few photos from the 2018 Texas SandFest.

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REMEMBER: DON’T WAIT to book your hotel, condo or beachfront home rental as soon as possible. To find that beachfront rental with easy beach access for walking to the event, beachfront properties are VERY popular and sell out fast. Click here to search VRBO and enter this year’s SandFest dates. And don’t forget to reserve your beach cart in advance!

Where to find it

The Texas SandFest is held in Port Aransas, Texas, located on the northern part of Mustang Island. The annual event is held on the beach, typically between Beach Markers 8-12+, with special event parking available on the beach too.

Parking lots on the beach fill up early in the mornings, so look for ways to walk or bike to the beach if you can. We love our beach cruiser bikes for getting around town easily. The event spans quite a bit of beach which means lots of walking. Many families bring pull-along beach wagons for little ones to relax in (this wagon with all-terrain tires and cupholders looks awesome!) and dogs to have water bowls available.

How to learn more

Visit the Texas SandFest website to learn more about vendors, shuttles and on-the-beach parking. To reserve your rental for this year’s Texas SandFest, click here to search VRBO and enter this year’s SandFest dates.

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Jill Clark is the founder of Port Aransas Explorer, which is one of the best local blogs about Port Aransas, Texas. She believes that adventure can be found both near and far, and hopes to inspire others to explore Port Aransas like a local. While living in San Antonio, Jill explores more of island living every year and enjoys sharing her family's experiences with local events and hotspots.

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