Port Isabel Lighthouse SHS, Port Isabel

Port Isabel Lighthouse

The only lighthouse in Texas that is open to the public, we love visiting the Port Isabel Lighthouse, which once illuminated the South Gulf Coast as a beacon to ships!  While the town of Port Isabel has grown around it, it’s not hard to imagine a time in the 1800’s when it was the only thing on the salt plains, and the lonely life of the lighthouse keeper!

Port Isabel LighthousePort Isabel Lighthouse

The old lighthouse keepers house has been replicated for use as a Welcome Center and Museum.  We enjoyed seeing the old pictures of the lighthouse and learning a little more about the history.

There are also restrooms located just outside the museum.

Port Isabel Lighthouse

Admission was taken at the lighthouse.  As state park passholders, we were able to use our State Park Pass for FREE admission.  Then we began the climb up the lighthouse.  It’s only 75 winding steps to the top, but it does get a little narrow.  Then there are sets of ladders to the top.  You can’t help but think about the poor lighthouse keeper who got to the top only to realize he had forgotten something at the bottom!

My Mommy Tip:  Children under 4 are not allowed to go up in the lighthouse for safety reasons.  

During the summer, bring a blanket and lay out under the stars to watch a FREE movie projected on the lighthouse on Friday Nights!

Port Isabel Lighthouse Square

From the top you can step outside to get a 360 degree look around!  Historic Port Isabel consist of several cute shops and restaurants!

Port Isabel Lighthouse Square

The Laguna Madre is the shallow bay that sits between the Mainland and South Padre Island.  It is important as a nursery for young animals.  A hypersaline bay, it is actually saltier than the Gulf!

Port Isabel Lighthouse Square

The Lighthouse Keeper’s House, with Pirate’s Landing behind that, and the Queen Isabella Causeway reaching across the Laguna Madre Bay to South Padre Island.  At over 2 miles, it is the longest bridge in Texas!


Port Isabel Lighthouse

We had a lot of fun at the top!

Port Isabel Lighthouse Square

Once back on the ground, we set out to do some sightseeing around Port Isabel!

Port Isabel Lighthouse Square

There are cute little jewelry shops!

Port Isabel Lighthouse Square

And fun gift shops!

We loved Seas the Day!  In addition to great home decor and handmade jewelry, they have jewelry classes, too!  Click HERE to visit their website.

Pirate's Landing, Port Isabel

Pirate’s Landing is a Seafood Restaurant overlooking the Laguna Madre, with a fun pirate theme!  Click HERE to visit their website and see their menu!

Pirate's Landing, Port Isabel

They have tons of cute photo ops!

Pirate's Landing, Port Isabel

So many photo ops!

Take a few minutes to visit the Sea Life Nature Center, too!  They have touch tanks and great information about the flora and fauna in the Laguna Madre!  You can also schedule a dolphin cruise with Rizzo the Dolphin Dog!


Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of….. Root Beer!


Davey Jones Ice Cream Locker is a fun spot to stop for Ice Cream or homemade fudge and visit their parrots!


There’s just fun all over the little square!


Pirates Landing Fishing Pier is the longest fishing pier in Texas, stretching out into the Laguna Madre Bay!


The Black Dragon is a very unique pirate ship cruise in the Bay, with fun activities geared for children and fun for the entire family!  Before each cruise, they have a FREE pirate show on the pier!


For more information on the Black Dragon, click HERE.

Know Before You Go

Dogs are allowed on the grounds at the Port Isabel Lighthouse, and for the FREE summer movies, but not inside the buildings or lighthouse.

There is FREE parking along the road, and all around the square.

Things To Do in Port Isabel 


Despite it’s name, the South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center is located on the Port Isabel side of the causeway, and offers a small aquarium with touch tanks and dolphin tours with Rozzi the Dolphin Dog to go out in the Laguna Madre and see the resident, wild dolphins!  Best yet, your dogs are welcome to go with you!  Click HERE to read more about this amazing place!


Will and Jack’s Burger Shack and Beer Garden is just a little hole in the wall in Historic Downtown Port Isabel, just across the street and under the shadow of the Port Isabel Lighthouse!  Click HERE to visit their facebook page.


The Historic Queen Isabel Inn overlooks the Laguna Madre and has one and two bedroom suites complete with kitchenettes just steps from Historic Downtown Port Isabel.  Click HERE for more information.


Port Isabel Lighthouse SHS
421 East Queen Isabella Blvd., Port Isabel
Click HERE to visit their website. 

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