A tranquil, private island paradise
Those in the know are already well acquainted with San José; called St. Jo’s by locals, this 21-mile-long, privately owned island is accessible only by the Jetty Boat (tickets are $12). The water is some of the clearest you’ll find in Texas, where the water is often muddy and murky, and there are no cars allowed, so you’re guaranteed a fume-free experience on some pretty, unspoiled sand. The bird watching, jetty fishing, and seashell game are what set this beach apart from some other more populous spots, but with no services to speak of (including water, port-a-potties, shade, or habitation in general), you’ll want to be prepared, boy-scout style: packed coolers, umbrellas, and a willingness to pee in the ocean are essential.
Know before you go: There are a lot of fishermen on the beach, so make sure to look around a little bit before finding your spot to ensure a hook-free swim experience. The Jetty Boat only comes every two hours, so make sure you’re prepared with plenty of water and snacks, and note that the last boat back leaves at 6pm. There aren’t any shelters, so if you want shade you’ll have to bring your own. Also, there’s only one trash can -- prepare to pack in and pack out anything you bring.
Where to eat/drink: It’s all BYO on the beach, but you can find some great food and drink in Port Aransas. If all that beachin’ has made you hungry, indulge in a major lunch at MacDaddy’s Family Kitchen. Their MacDaddy Burger (fried onions, fried jalapenos and added brisket, for good measure) is a crowd favorite. Channel the Caribbean at Irie’s Island Food, a little spot rockin’ fusion food. Sports fans will appreciate the big screens, Bloody Mary bar and 20 taps at Stingray’s Taphouse and if you’re looking for some late night and live tunes, Giggity’s is the go-to.