Mustang Island, Texas is a slice of paradise nestled along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, known for its beaches and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. This barrier island off the coast of Texas offers visitors many options to catch a glimpse into the diverse ecosystems thriving beneath the waves.
If you’re planning a visit to Mustang Island, and seeing a variety of marine life is on your wishlist, then you won’t be disappointed! The Gulf of Mexico is home to a rich variety of diverse marine life, from fascinating fish to majestic mammals. Numerous fish species inhabit the near shore area around Mustang Island’s piers and jetties, and visitors are likely to see dolphins and sea turtles in these areas as well. Though more rarely sighted, jellyfish are known to show up once in a while, and seabirds can be spotted all year long. In this guide, we’ll dive into the best ways you can see marine life around Mustang Island.
Explore Mustang Island’s tranquil waterways and coastal marshes via kayaking or paddleboard for a truly peaceful adventure. In thisarea, you are likely to encounter dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and coastal birds like herons, egrets, and pelicans, as you glide through the serene paddling trails that wind through Mustang Island State Park. To the north of Mustang Island, the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail offers several loops for paddlers to explore the mangrove and seagrass habitats where you will find numerous species of fish, as well as reptiles and deer living on the small islands. You can find kayak and paddleboard rentals in Port Aransas, as well as tour operators that offer guided tours if you’re not up for going on your own. For a unique experience, try the Glow Row, which offers a chance to see the Gulf at night in clear kayaks with underwater lighting.
Jet Ski Tours
Embarking on a jet ski tour around Mustang Island offers a thrilling and up-close experience with the diverse marine life that inhabits the surrounding waters. One of the most iconic marine animals you may spot during a jet ski tour is the bottlenose dolphin. These intelligent and playful mammals are frequently seen swimming and leaping in the wake of boats, including jet skis. Keep an eye out for schools of fish swimming beneath the surface, as well as seabirds diving to catch their next meal!
Snorkeling and Scuba
Grab your snorkel or scuba gear and explore the local waters teeming with marine life. While Mustang Island’s location on the Gulf of Mexico means the water has more sediment that can get kicked up by boat traffic, there are still great snorkeling opportunities. The Port Aransas Jetty is a good bet to see fish as they crowd close to the rocks, and the Mustang Island Fish Pass Jetty is known to have frequent sea turtle sightings. Both areas are popular for fishing, so you should be aware of your surroundings at all times. Nearby Corpus Christi has outfitters for any equipment you may need, as well as scuba instruction.
Dolphin Watching Tours
Dolphin watching tours are one of the most popular activities for visitors to Mustang Island, and there are several tour companies that offer this activity. Set off on a dolphin watching tour and witness these majestic mammals frolicking in the Gulf waters. With the help of knowledgeable guides, you’ll learn about dolphin behavior, habitat, and conservation efforts aimed at protecting these incredible animals. In addition to dolphins, keep an eye out for sea turtles, seabirds, and various species of fish that inhabit the Gulf waters.
Sea Turtle Nesting
The Padre Island National Seashore at the southern tip of Mustang Island is where several species of sea turtles nest every summer. Between June and August, the National Park Service hosts hatchling release events at Malaquite Beach where visitors can see these beautiful creatures make their way to the ocean. This is an awe-inspiring experience that also provides insight into the ongoing conservation efforts dedicated to protecting sea turtles on Mustang Island.
Port Aransas is called the Fishing Capital of Texas, so this is a must-do activity on your next visit! Cast your line into the waters off Mustang Island and reel in a prized catch. The most common species of fish found offshore in the Gulf are red snapper, kingfish, and grouper, while giant tuna, marlin and mahi mahi can be found in deeper waters. Inshore fishing around the Mustang Island jetties and in the channel can net you tarpon, black drum and redfish. You have your pick of fishing charter companies based in Port Aransas who will expertly guide you to the most productive fishing spots, as well as provide live bait and cleaning. The Gulf of Mexico boasts abundant fishing opportunities year-round, making it a favorite destination for anglers of all skill levels.
Beachcombing is a favorite activity for many visitors to Port Aransas. Take a leisurely stroll along Mustang Island’s pristine beaches and discover a treasure trove of seashells, sand dollars, and other marine artifacts washed ashore. Beachcombing on Mustang Island is a year-round activity, with each season offering its own unique treasures to discover. Head to Malaquite Beach to find the greatest variety of shells. From coquina shells to sand dollars, and even the occasional driftwood or sea glass, beachcombing on Mustang Island offers a peaceful way to discover the natural beauty of the vast coastline.
Exploring marine life on Mustang Island offers a truly unforgettable experience! Whether you’re dolphin watching, snorkeling among colorful fish, or witnessing the magic of sea turtle nesting, the opportunities for encountering the natural world are endless. Book your condo rental at the Sandpiper today, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Mustang Island.