The island oasis, Port Aransas, Texas, is a favorite summer vacation spot for camping on the beach, fishing, and possibly hunting for buried treasure.
That’s right, hunt for buried treasure.
Port Aransas, Texas
After you locate Nessie in Rockport, keep heading south on I-35 toward Aransas Pass. Take 361 through town, and follow the signs for the free ferry to Port Aransas, the only city on Mustang Island.
Whether by motorcycle, car, or double-decker RV, the 10-minute ferry ride alone is worth a detour. The wait to cross board the ferry is usually under 10 minutes, except during spring break or the Fourth of July.
Once you cross the channel, you’re on island time. The pace is relaxed. On a warm day, the smell of coconut oil fills the air. Brightly colored restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops line the streets, their signs announcing never-ending sales.
Port Aransas is known locally as “Port A.” You may want to speak like a local, unless you want to be pegged as a tourist.
‘There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills’
Here’s your chance to fulfill that childhood dream of finding buried pirate treasure. According to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, gold doubloons have been unearthed from the sand dunes of Padre Island, the island directly south of Mustang Island.
Once a favorite haunt for pirate Captain Jean Lafitte, it is rumored he buried treasure in Port Aransas. While that may or may not be true, a Spanish fleet shipwrecked in the area in 1554. Salvage crews recovered a great deal of the treasure lost at sea, some of which is displayed in the nearby Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.
Not all of the buried treasure belongs to the shipwrecks. John Singer, brother of the inventor of the Singer sewing machine, buried $60,000 to $80,000 in 1857 and left as the war approached. Later, he and his wife returned to retrieve the money, only to discover a storm had removed their markers. They searched for a year but never found it.
Some claim the Singer treasure is still buried in the sand dunes; others believe it’s been found. But don’t bother looking for it — by the time you read this, I’ll have found it.
Join me next time for more of Port Aransas, when I tell you about the Whooping Crane Festival, the Lighthouse, and show you my favorite, the giant shark door.
To see many more photos, follow more of my weird, wacky, and wonderful RV adventures on Flickr.
My next stop: Strange RV Encounters: Port Aransas Festivals: Whooping Cranes, Sandcastles, and Beach Camping.
Read how it all began: Strange RV Encounters: An Introduction.