Rockport, Texas, Named #2 Best Coastal Small Town in U.S.

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Tony Maples Photography


Just heard some exciting news for Rockport, one of our favorite Gulf Coast towns. The small village was almost wiped out when Hurricane Harvey made landfall there in August 2017. So Rockport-Fulton Chamber officials are thrilled to be named #2 in the nation for Best Coastal Small Town in the “USA Today” Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.

As the only Texas town nominated in the top 10 category for coastal towns with a population under 25,000, Rockport’s determined efforts to rebuild their town are paying off. This award is especially meaningful for Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce members, who literally rolled up their sleeves to help rebuild their town.

Photo: Rockport Rising, John Martell Photography

Rockport High School students had to be bussed to another community while workers rebuilt their building. For a community that relied on birding, boating, fishing, and tourism, the destruction of many hotels and inns was another huge blow to the economy. Workers who flooded into the area had to bring their own trailers for lodging.

One of Rockport’s most popular events, the annual Hummerbird Festival in September, had to be canceled since it came less than a month after the hurricane. But the historic Fulton Mansion was still standing, along with the legendary Big Tree on Goose Island.

My husband and I drove down to Rockport, as soon as we were able, to offer support for one of our favorite communities. During frequent visits to the area, we had become close friends with Sandy Jumper, Rockport-Fulton Chamber V.P. of Marketing and Promotion. We were sad to see many of our favorite places closed indefinitely. But seeing the spirited dedication of everyone in the community, we had no doubts Rockport would be back, better than before.

Rockport Named #2 Best Coastal Small Town

As Chamber VP, Jumper rallied the community to vote in the contest after nominations were announced. Like most chamber and city officials, the Jumpers also lost their own home and place of business.

“We are ecstatic to be chosen as Number 2 in this category,” Jumper said in a press announcement. “Throughout the contest, we jumped from #14 to #3 and fluctuated between the top 2 spots for the last week. It was through the consistent support of our visitors, our community, the Coastal Bend, and the State of Texas, we received this honor. This is the third time we have made the 10 Best List for Best Coastal Small Town in the U.S. We were chosen in the Top 5 in 2015 and 2016.”

Rockport-Fulton photo by Lefty Ray
Fishing Still Great in Aransas Bay

Photo: Lefty Ray

Rockport was the only Texas town in the competition for 10 Best Coastal Small Towns. The list included Sandusky, OH., Rockport, TX., Chincoteague, Va., Georgetown, SC., Bay St. Louis, MS., Gulf Shores AL., Southport, NC., St. Simmons Island, GA., Saugatuck MI., and Bayfield WI.

Chamber President/CEO Diane Probst said, “These awards and accolades prove tourism is one of the driving factors for the local economy.” Other accolades received from USA Today’s 10 Best in the Rockport-Fulton area include: Rockport Beach receiving #1 Beach in Texas in 2018 and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge receiving awards for Best Birding site and Best National Wildlife Refuge in recent years.

Now that summer is here, it’s time to head back to the Gulf Coast and revisit these beloved, award-winning coastal communities. Check for lodging information plus an updated schedule of activities and events.