Beach park open; restoration continues

Many folks enjoy a morning stroll along the shore during the winter months.

Many folks enjoy a morning stroll along the shore during the winter months.

The beauty and fun of the great outdoors is only a short trip away to the I.B. Magee Jr. Beach Park, located at Mustang Island’s northern tip in Port Aransas.

The park is once again open after recovering from the damages caused by Hurricane Harvey with many new improvements. There are now 64 new RV sites with full hook ups that include 50-, 30-, and 20-amp service water and sewer. Most pad sites are 90 feet long and have adjoining concrete patios giving customers plenty of room.

When visiting the park, you also will see additional construction underway.

The park headquarters building is under construction recovering from damages from Hurricane Harvey. The general floor plan will remain the same as it was prior to the hurricane but will include the laundry and shower/restroom facilities that support the park.

The park soon will start the restoration of the storm water retention pond but with some added amenities.

The pond will be restored to include migratory bird habitat and a board walk system that will connect with the WWII Gun Mounts in the dunes at the back of the park.

There will be various kiosks and bird lookout stations for bird viewing along with environmental and historical signage.

Another element in rebuilding the RV park amenities was to limit overhead lighting for a night-friendly sky so folks can see the stars.

The park was as designed and certified to be 100 percent accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act and has four designated ADA sites and hook ups. Day parking on the beach from the south jetty to Horace Caldwell Pier is under county jurisdiction and is free. There are several beach cabanas/ picnic tables along this section of the beach for public use.

South from the pier, a beach parking window sticker is required at a cost of $12 per year.

The county also has a new vendor along the beach right out in front of the headquarters building. 361 Blue offers a beach concierge service for visitors who want to rent beach chairs, umbrellas and various beach-type games. They operate out of a mobile red cargo trailer that you cannot miss when driving down this section of beach.

Horace Caldwell Pier

Located within the park is Horace Caldwell Pier, a concrete, lighted pier that is 1,240 feet long and provides access to fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

The pier can be accessed 24 hours a day during the summer season, and costs $4 to enter and $3 per fishing pole. Each guest is limited to three poles. Permits that are given after entering the pier expire the following day at 5 a.m.

Those who would like to fish but don’t have poles can rent them. Check with the pier’s concessionaire on the rental rate.

Children under six, law enforcement and media are admitted for free and senior citizens and active military are admitted for half price.

The pier has a restaurant, Keepers, that serves lunch and dinner, and if you are interested in a “cold one,” you can have that, too. Fishing products, including poles, bait and tackle are for sale, as well as souvenirs and sundries. Surfboard rentals also are offered for those who’d like to hang 10.

At the pier you also will notice new construction taking place. The county is building a new observation deck on the north end, adjacent to the original concession building. This observation deck area will be open to the public to visit.

The park was named in memory of I.B. Magee Jr., a Port Aransas resident who was widely known for his community support. Magee lived in a house near the park, where he could watch visitors enjoying the park.

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