Port Aransas Bucket List

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Discover the Best Places to See Dolphins in Port Aransas, Texas: Your Ultimate Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Spotting Dolphins in
Port Aransas, Texas


two dolphins swimming in open water Welcome to Port Aransas the Dolphin Lover’s Paradise of south Texas. There are many opportunities for dolphin sightings in the area. We reached out to the Port A locals and dolphin guides to get some of the best places to see dolphins whether you want to see them from land or on the water. Here is our Port Aransas guide for the best places to see dolphins in the area.


Best Places to See Dolphins in Port Aransas


On Land: Prime viewing points along the coast and piers


Jetties, piers, the beach, and local parks are great spot to see dolphins for free, plus the dolphins pods frequently visit these areas. A group of dolphins is called a pod.

  1. Jetties/Beach: A frequent dolphin visit. Take a stroll down the Port Aransas South Jetty. The jetty is created of large granite boulders that stretch out into the Gulf of Mexico. Keep your eyes peeled for pods of dolphins swimming near the point. You can also commonly see sea turtles swimming and munching on moss growing on the large rocks.
  2. Horace Caldwell Pier: Horace Caldwell is the only pier on the beaches of Port Aransas. This pier is 1,240 feet long and is a popular spot for fishing, surfing, and dolphin sightings.   It costs $3 per person to gain access to the pier. There is also a small store at the entry of the pier with beach goodies, bait, and fishing pole rentals.
  3. Roberts Point Park: A local favorite and more consistent place locals go to see dolphins. Roberts Point Park is a peninsula surrounded by the Intracoastal shipping channel and the Port Aransas City Marina. Dolphins love riding the wakes created by the large ships coming and going. You can often see the pods meandering through the City Marina as well. They love riding the waves created by the big ships passing through our channels and you can commonly see dolphins exploring our local marina.
  4. Port Aransas Fishing Pier: The Port Aransas fishing pier is located on the Aransas Pass Channel at the end of Station St. This pier is free to use and is an excellent spot to fish, see dolphins, and watch boats as they come and go through the channel. The Aransas Channel is the only place where large vessels can gain entry to the Port of Corpus Christi, one of the largest ports in the United States.

On Water: Dolphin tours with a guide

Embarking on a dolphin-watching tour in Port Aransas is a fantastic way to experience the coastal beauty of the area and encounter its playful inhabitants. Here’s how you can plan your dolphin tour:

  1. Tour Duration and Schedule: Dolphin tours in Port Aransas typically last between 1.5 to 2 hours. Check the tour schedule to find a departure time that fits your itinerary. Most dolphin tours depart from the marinas or docks in Port Aransas. Make sure to arrive at the departure point at least 15-30 minutes before the scheduled departure time to check in and board the boat.
  2. What to Bring: Be sure to bring essentials such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, and a camera or smartphone to capture photos of the dolphins. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for being out on the water.
  3. Dolphin Watching: Once aboard the boat, sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic views as your captain navigates the waters in search of the best places to see dolphins in Port Aransas. Port Aransas is known for its abundant dolphin population, so keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins swimming alongside the boat or leaping out of the water. During the tour, your knowledgeable guide will provide commentary about the local marine life, ecosystem, and points of interest along the way. Feel free to ask questions and engage with the guide to learn more about the area.
  4. San Jose Island: Remote beauty and abundant marine life. San Jose Island is located on the other side of the Intracoastal Channel. It is only accessible via a jetty boat ride from Fisherman’s Warf. You can commonly see an array of wildlife while exploring the shores of San Jose. This remote island does not offer any facilities so plan accordingly.

Boat Tours and Charters for Up-Close Experiences

dolphin swimming near charter boat

We have compiled a list of all the tour guides in the area. Once you choose a guide book your dolphin tour in advance, especially if you’re visiting during peak tourist season. Consider booking a tour that offers small group sizes for a more personalized experience. Most Dolphin tours stay within in the Bay area and do not go off-shore. Be sure to tell your guide Port A Bucket List sent you for a great deal!



If you are booking an offshore trip your guide will know the best spots to see dolphins. For Example, dolphins can usually be found near shrimping boats and like to hang out around the off-shore oil rigs.


Best Time to See Dolphins in Port Aransas


The best time to see dolphins are morning through afternoon. They tend to be less active at night.

  1. Morning Hours: Optimal time for calm waters and active dolphins.
  2. Afternoon: Serene sunset views and playful dolphin encounters
  3. Seasonal Considerations: Dolphins are present all year long but tend to be most active Spring through Summer.


Respect Wildlife:


respect the locals with dolphins swimmingThere are no local places that offer swimming with dolphins. Remember to observe dolphins from a respectful distance and avoid making loud noises or sudden movements that could disturb them.  Enjoy the experience while minimizing your impact on the animals and their habitat

Regulations and Guidelines: Responsible dolphin interaction practices

The NOAA, National Marine Fisheries, recommends staying at least 50 yards away from dolphins, and even more if there are calves or juveniles present. It is illegal to swim with wild dolphins under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Port Aransas Dolphin Tours: Insider Tips and FAQs


  1. What is a Pod of Dolphins? A group of dolphins is called a pod.  Dolphins are social mammals and enjoy swimming and playing together. Gathering as a group or pod is also crucial in protecting themselves from predators such as sharks.
  2. What to pack when going to see dolphins? Sunscreen, binoculars, waterproof gear, and cameras.
  3.  Can you touch dolphins? It is recommended to stay at least 50 yards away from dolphins.
  4. What types of dolphins are in Port Aransas? The Bottle Nose Dolphin is the most common dolphin found in the warm waters of Port Aransas. Bottlenose dolphins are grey with a hint of purple on the underbelly. They roam alone or in pods of up to eight dolphins. They can grow up to 10 feet long.
  5.  Can you see whales in Port Aransas?  It is unlikely to come across any whale sighting in Port Aransas. The shallow sloping sea floor and warm waters keep large deep water cetaceans at bay. However, we have had common confirmed sightings of Manatee, Sperm Whales, and Pygmy Whale.
  6. Can you swim with dolphins in Port Aransas? No, you cannot swim with Dolphins in Port Aransas they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  7. How do you spot dolphins on the beach? On a calm day when the waves are relaxed, you can sometimes see pods of dolphins playing about 100 Yards out.

Local Insights: Insider tips from seasoned dolphin enthusiasts

Port Aransas has so many places to see dolphins from jetties, piers beach and parks or catching a ride with a local guide. Embarking on a dolphin tour in Port Aransas promises an unforgettable experience surrounded by the beauty of the Gulf Coast and the playful antics of its resident dolphins.

We would love to hear from you! Tell us about your own dolphin sighting in Port Arasnas and your tips for the best places to see them. Be sure to tag us on socail at @PortABucketList and include #PortABucketLit.

Other Things to Do in Port Aransas


So many things to do in Port Aransas

  1. Beyond Dolphin Watching: This is a great guide on where to connect with nature in Port Aransas. Lots of information on Fishing charters, birdwatching, and nature trails. Did you know we have a resident alligator named Boots?
  2. Culinary Delights: Local eateries serving fresh seafood and coastal cuisine a guide to Port Aransas restaurants. Did you know most places will cook your fishing catch?
  3. Events and Festivals: Always something going on from live music, art shows, and festivals. Check out our calendar and plan your Port Aransas Escape. Did you know Port Aransas is an official live music city of Texas?
  4. Ultimate Port A Bucket List A downloadable things-to-do-and-see checklist for an immersive Port Aransas experiences!

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