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Port Aransas is a small beach town located on the Texas Gulf Coast on the Mustang Island barrier island. The population of Port Aransas is about 3,500, but because it is a popular tourist destination, the population can swell well above this number during the summer, especially during busy holiday weekends. During the rest of the year, tourist activity is not nearly as heavy, but Port Aransas is a popular destination for Mid-Westerner retirees during the winter. While living in a small town certainly doesn’t offer as many cultural opportunities compared to living in a big university city, many of the graduate students find they very much enjoy the laid back beach life style in Port Aransas. Not having to worry about parking fees, commuting, and traffic certainly makes living in Port Aransas much more enjoyable, too. In addition to enjoying the funky small town vibe of Port Aransas, many of our graduate students take advantage of the local beaches, access to bay and off-shore fishing, and the many great local restaurants and bars. However, when you need to escape the confines of a small town, Corpus Christi is just a 45 min drive away. With Austin and Houston being roughly a 4 hour trip away from Port Aransas, graduate students often will take weekend getaways to these destinations. For more information about living and studying at The University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, check out the Graduate Student Handbook, the GSA’s Guide to Port Aransas, and the MSI New Employee Handbook.

Housing for Students in Port Aransas:

The Marine Science Institute has 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom housing facilities for students, postdocs, and visiting students/scientists on a first-come first-served basis.


Beach Street Student Housing Complex (700 Beach Street) and Wilson Cottages Complex (730 Cotter Street)

Other Useful Links:

Port Aransas

Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce
City of Port Aransas
Port Aransas South Jetty (local newspaper)
Mustang Island State Park (~8 miles south of town)

Corpus Christi + Coastal Bend

City of Corpus Christi Information and Services Directory
Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors' Bureau
Texas State Aquarium
The USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier Museum
Padre Island National Seashore

Other things to see and do while you're here

Port Aransas Birding Center
The Beach
Lydia Ann Channel Lighthouse (from a distance or by boat; private)
Port A Community Swimming Pool