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Rockport: Trading Your Roots for a Routine of Fishing, Birding, and Wildlife-Watching

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The laid-back atmosphere of Rockport, Texas is in direct contrast to its wildlife- and water-related activities that continue to draw the tourist dollar down around Copano Bay to the Texas Gulf Coast community. It has the type of atmosphere that make many want to come for a weekend and stay for eternity. And that’s it’s that type of draw that entices people time and again to this town disguised as a small fishing village, where below the surface, life is both active and attractive in this port of call.

Rockport: Trading Your Roots for a Routine of Fishing, Birding, and Wildlife-Watching

Photo: Wikimedia

With bird watching, water-skiing, fishing, sailing, camping, and so on, the variety of outdoor activities appears to be the biggest draw to Rockport. On any given weekend, tourists can be found hiking, crabbing, swimming, and sunbathing, while the locals expound on the virtues of the town which appear to be vested in community heart. There’s a lot of town pride down here, not to mention the same feeling for the Lone Star State. Rockport’s Texas Maritime Museum (where they’re “happy to sea you,”) holds a wealth of state maritime history. From its location on the Texas coast, it effuses as many details as a visitor can take in regarding the influence that the Gulf coastline has had in the development of Texas. And the opportunity to get out on that particular body of water is enticing, to say the least. But it’s not just fishing (although that is a huge draw) that brings the tourists and locals out in Rockport. From their boats, they can often see the teeming wildlife that inhabits the area, including deer, alligators, feral hogs, whooping cranes and often abundant amounts of ducks – which is another Rockport draw where the hunters are concerned.

Rockport: Trading Your Roots for a Routine of Fishing, Birding, and Wildlife-Watching

Photo: Wikimedia

However, respect for the environment also buttresses another Rockport main, which is birding. Ranked as one of the top sites for birdwatching in the entire U.S., the town features a massive variety of species, which can be seen easily in their natural habits. With the hobby booming throughout the spring and fall migrations, the shoreline of Rockport holds many a year-round fowl, although migration time appears to draw the largest binocular-bespectacled bird-watcher to the town to witness a single tree which may hold hundreds of weary but brightly colored birds. That being said, there are numerous sites in the area that provide prime viewing opportunities. The Connie Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary hosts shorebirds and ducks are the chief attractions here. And volunteers from the Friends of Connie Hagar organization, in conjunction with the city and the Texas Department of Trans­portation, have added trails, a boardwalk, and plants to a public area in the north of Rockport, created a garden designed to produce berries and fruits for the birds, and another to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. There’s also the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary, including an observation platform from which some serious birding can be accomplished.

Rockport: Trading Your Roots for a Routine of Fishing, Birding, and Wildlife-Watching

Photo:

That being said, there are numerous sites in the area that provide prime viewing opportunities. The Connie Hagar Wildlife Sanctuary hosts shorebirds and ducks are the chief attractions here. And volunteers from the Friends of Connie Hagar organization, in conjunction with the city and the Texas Department of Trans­portation, have added trails, a boardwalk, and plants to a public area in the north of Rockport, created a garden designed to produce berries and fruits for the birds, and another to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. There’s also the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary, including an observation platform from which some serious birding can be accomplished.

Rockport: Trading Your Roots for a Routine of Fishing, Birding, and Wildlife-Watching

Photo: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

But possibly the most famous birding site in the area is the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. With over 70,000 acres, the refuge supports whooping cranes along with hundreds of other species of birds, living in concert with javelinas, deer, bobcats, alligators, and raccoons, amongst its 16-mile touring road and six hiking trails. Visitors can also tour the interpretive center, which provides ample information regarding the flora and fauna of the area, the birds and wildlife, the habitats that are naturally found here, and how it all came together in Rockport.

Rockport: Trading Your Roots for a Routine of Fishing, Birding, and Wildlife-Watching

Photo: Pixabay

Another booming commodity in this Texas Gulf Coast town is art and artists. A trend that began developing in the 1950s, Rockport has become home to the Rockport Center for the Arts, over a dozen galleries and art shops, several types of classes in a number of mediums, and approximately 150 resident artists. And amongst the throngs of wonderful stores that market their wares, you can find another great thing this Texas town has a lot of – good food! From shore lunches to fancy restaurants, Rockport can provide. You can even buy fresh catches right from the boats in the harbor! Cap that off with as many beautiful Texas sunsets as you can handle, and you’ll be wondering where this place has been all your life, and how you too, can pick up roots to trade for paddles, fishing lines, and binoculars.