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  • Phil Foxall

Rainy Day in Rockport? Check out our Top Ten Things To Do in Rockport on a Rainy Day

If your looking for things to do in Rockport on a rainy day, look no further than our top ten things to do on a rainy Rockport day. Rainy days don’t need to dampen your spirits when you find yourself in the beautiful coastal haven of Rockport or Port Aransas, Texas. While these towns are renowned for their sun-soaked landscapes, there's a hidden world of indoor treasures waiting to be discovered when the clouds roll in. Join us as we explore the top ten rainy day activities, ensuring that your stay at Catchin’ Paradise and your visit to Rockport and Port Aransas remains vibrant, even when the skies are not.

1. Fulton Mansion

Address: 317 S Fulton Beach Rd, Rockport, TX 78382

Hours: Tues – Sat 10a-4p; Sun 1-4p; Closed Monday

Nestled along the Texas Gulf Coast, the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site stands as a testament to timeless elegance and historical significance. Built between 1874 and 1877, this majestic 4-story structure, also known as "Oakhurst," was the vision of Colonel George Ware Fulton and Harriet Gillette Smith. Even on rainy days, this architectural gem, located in Fulton on the Texas Gulf Coast in Aransas County, offers a captivating glimpse into the past.

As raindrops gently tap on the mansion's windows, step inside to discover a bygone era brought to life. The Fulton Mansion, one of the earliest Second Empire-style buildings in Texas, boasts not only architectural grandeur but also modern conveniences of its time. Indoor plumbing, gas lighting, central heating, and even three bathrooms with two built-in copper tubs – "Oakhurst" was a marvel in its day. The mansion's rich history extends through various owners, from the Davidsons in the early 20th century to the Copelands, who turned its grounds into an RV park in the mid-20th century.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the mansion underwent extensive restoration after being acquired by the State of Texas in 1976. Opened to the public in 1983, it became the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site. In 2008, the Texas Historical Commission took charge of this historical treasure. Rainy days offer a unique ambiance, enhancing the echoes of the past within the mansion's walls. Explore the rooms that once witnessed the lives of prominent figures and marvel at the architectural brilliance that has withstood the test of time. Fulton Mansion remains a captivating destination, providing a sheltered retreat into history, even as the rain continues to dance outside.

2. Texas Maritime Museum

Address: 1202 Navigation Cir, Rockport, TX 78382

Hours: Tues – Sat 10a-4p; Sun-Mon Closed

Step into the maritime tapestry of Texas at the Texas Maritime Museum, a beacon of nautical history and passion that transcends time. Originating from the late 1970s during Rockport's annual Seafair Festival, the museum's inception was a testament to the dedication of maritime enthusiasts who showcased their collections for public admiration. However, it wasn't until July 1, 1989, that the Texas Maritime Museum officially opened its doors, becoming a community-wide project that now stands as the official Maritime Museum of the State of Texas.

Venturing inside on a rainy day feels like diving into the depths of Texas' maritime legacy. The museum's rich history is accentuated by its accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums on August 5, 2005, a distinction achieved by less than 5 percent of all museums in the state. Despite being a designated 501(c)3 non-profit and not receiving state or federal funding, the Texas Maritime Museum thrives through the generosity of patrons and members, as well as annual fundraisers. The completion of the Robert J. Hewitt/ O’Connor Hewitt Foundation Maritime Collections and Education Center in May 2009 further elevated the museum's commitment to excellence, adding a 1,200 square foot education space and expanding collections exponentially.

On rainy days, the Texas Maritime Museum beckons visitors to uncover the maritime heritage that shaped the Lone Star State. Traverse through exhibits showcasing historic ships, maritime artifacts, and the evolution of seafaring in Texas. Raindrops on the windows only enhance the experience, creating an intimate atmosphere within the museum's walls. As you explore, you'll not only be immersed in nautical history but also supporting a cultural gem that stands as a testament to community passion and dedication to preserving Texas' maritime legacy.

3. Rockport Center for the Arts

Address: 106 S Austin St, Rockport, TX 78382

Hours: Tues – Sat 10a-5p; Sun noon-4p; Closed Monday

Embark on a journey through the vibrant world of creativity at the Rockport Center for the Arts, a sanctuary for artistic expression that thrives even on rainy days. Located at 106 S Austin St, Rockport, TX, this center is a dynamic hub for the arts in the coastal Rockport-Fulton area. After enduring the challenges brought by Hurricane Harvey, the Center re-established operations at its new facility, inviting visitors to explore a realm of exhibits, workshops, classes, and much more.

Step inside on a rainy day, and the Rockport Center for the Arts unfolds as a haven of inspiration. The new facility, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, stands as a testament to resilience, offering free admission to the public. Whether you're a seasoned art enthusiast or just starting your artistic journey, the center caters to all ages, making it an ideal destination for families seeking creative refuge from the rain.

The Rockport Center for the Arts invites you to immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of exhibits, from paintings to sculptures, showcasing the talent of local and regional artists. Beyond visual arts, the center hosts a myriad of special events, education workshops, and performing arts, adding a dynamic layer to your rainy-day exploration. As you plan your visit, be sure to check the website for details on upcoming exhibits and events, ensuring you don't miss any of the artistic wonders that await within this coastal haven. Rainy days become an opportunity to delve into the heart of the arts, fostering creativity and appreciation for the diverse expressions that thrive in Rockport.

4. Bay Education Center

Address: 121 Seabreeze Dr, Rockport, TX 78382

Hours: Tues – Sat 10a-4p; Closed Sunday and Monday

Step into the Bay Education Center in Rockport, Texas, and embark on an immersive exploration of the Mission-Aransas Estuary and the National Estuarine Research Reserve. This interpretive center provides a haven of knowledge about the vital role coastal habitats play in South Texas ecology and economy. Rainy days offer the perfect opportunity to delve into the intricate web of our natural coastal resources.

Beyond the panoramic views of estuaries and coastal landscapes, the Bay Education Center invites visitors to engage with its captivating Science On A Sphere® (SOS) exhibit. This 3D digital globe, created by NOAA, brings Earth science concepts to life for visitors of all ages. Imagine learning about the intricacies of our planet—from transportation routes seen from space to the changing global air temperatures—within the shelter of the center's walls. Join one of the interactive Discovery Discussions led by knowledgeable interpreters, unraveling mysteries such as the magnitude of Hurricane Harvey and the intricate workings of ocean circulation. The Bay Education Center isn't just a refuge from the rain; it's a doorway to understanding and appreciating the coastal wonders that surround us, making it an ideal destination for families and individuals alike. Be sure to check their website for additional details and events to enhance your rainy-day exploration of South Texas' coastal marvels.

5. USS Lexington: A Rainy Day Aboard a Floating Museum

Address: 2914 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402

Hours: Summer Hours 9a-6p / Winter Hours 9a-5p

While not in Rockport or Port Aransas, the USS Lexington, affectionately known as "The Blue Ghost," stands resilient on North Beach, a testament to the community's dedication, fundraising efforts, and love for naval history. Arriving in 1992 as the world's oldest aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington has transcended its original role to become a naval aviation museum, educational facility, and a beloved tourist attraction in the area.

On rainy days, visitors can step aboard this living piece of history and explore the Essex-class carrier that set more records than any other in the history of naval aviation. Commissioned in 1943 as the USS Cabot, the ship became the USS Lexington after the original CV-2 was sunk in the Coral Sea during World War II. The "Blue Ghost" participated in nearly every major operation in the Pacific Theater, earning its nickname from Tokyo Rose, who reported it sunk multiple times. The USS Lexington's combat legacy is etched in history, and its self-sufficiency since becoming a museum in 1992 adds a unique layer to its enduring story. Rain or shine, this floating museum invites visitors to witness the resilience and contributions of this proud veteran of the seas.

6. Shopping in the Cultural Arts District: Retail Therapy Rain or Shine

Location: Cultural Arts District, Rockport, TX 78382

When the rain invites you to stay indoors, indulge in retail therapy in Rockport's Cultural Arts District. The Cultural Arts District in Rockport is one of only 54 recognized Cultural Arts Districts in Texas! Quaint boutiques and art galleries await, offering a diverse array of treasures. From unique clothing to coastal-themed souvenirs, these shops provide a delightful escape from the weather. The Cultural Arts District is a fantastic option for families, allowing both kids and adults to explore and pick up charming mementos to remember their rainy-day adventure. Be sure to check out Goin’ Coastal, a Catchin’ Paradise favorite!

7. Port Aransas Museum and Farley Historic Boat Shop

Address: 101 E Brundrett Ave, Port Aransas, TX 78373

Hours: Tues – Fri 8a-noon/1p-5p; Sat 10a-2p; Closed Sunday

In the heart of Port Aransas, the Port Aransas Museum and Farley Historic Boat Shop offer a captivating journey into the island's rich maritime heritage, blending the legacy of boat-building pioneers Barn

and Fred Farley with the charm of a restored 1900s "kit" home. As early as 1910, the Farley brothers established the Farley and Son Boat Works, crafting boats with a singular purpose – to conquer the waters and catch the elusive tarpon, a gamefish that once lured anglers from across the nation to Port Aransas. Over six decades, the Farley Boat became an icon, weaving its story into the fabric of Port Aransas and Mustang Island.

Today, the Port Aransas Museum preserves the Farley brothers' legacy, showcasing memorabilia and artifacts from their boat-building enterprise alongside a curated collection of items representing the island's sports fishing industry. Housed in the meticulously restored 1900s "kit" home, the museum provides a glimpse into the challenges faced by settlers arriving in Port Aransas and in need of shelter in a region with limited construction supplies. Among its treasures is the lighthouse lens once adorning the Lydia Ann Lighthouse, over 12,000 photographs chronicling Port Aransas history, and the bell from the train that delivered the rocks for the Mustang Island jetties – a bell visitors are encouraged to ring, connecting with the island's past in a tangible and immersive way. Rainy days become an opportunity to step back in time, exploring the maritime odyssey of the Farley brothers and the island they helped shape, all within the welcoming walls of the Port Aransas Museum.

8. Port Aransas Arts Center

Address: 323 N Alister St, Port Aransas, TX 78373

Hours: Mon-Sat 11a-5p

On rainy days, when the coastal air is filled with a sense of creative anticipation, the Port Aransas Art Center beckons art enthusiasts and visitors alike to its welcoming 4,000 square foot facility at 323 N Alister St. The Art Center traces its roots to a passionate group of artists who envisioned a space where creativity could flourish. Originally operating in a small, rented facility, the Port Aransas Art Center's commitment to fostering artistic expression eventually led to the construction of a larger, modern building that opened its doors in late summer 2017.

The journey to this resilient art hub involved years of patient fundraising and dedication to acquiring the land for the new facility. Despite the challenges posed by Hurricane Harvey shortly after its opening, the well-thought-out design and construction of the building withstood the storm. The Art Center weathered the tempest and, in the aftermath, became a community haven, welcoming other organizations that faced greater challenges in the hurricane's wake. Although the hurricane temporarily halted the Art Center's pottery program, efforts are underway to re-establish this cherished aspect of its offerings.

Visitors stepping into the Port Aransas Art Center on rainy days are greeted by a vibrant space that encapsulates the spirit of artistic resilience. The gallery and classroom settings provide a nurturing environment where artists and art lovers can gather, encouraging, educating, and supporting one another. Whether admiring the diverse works on display or participating in one of the center's educational programs, rainy days become an opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant world of fine art, celebrating the enduring legacy of the Port Aransas Art Center.

9. Fire It Ceramics: Rainy Day Pottery Fun

Address: 715 Tarpon St, Port Aransas, TX 78373

Hours: 9a-9p; Off Season Hours Sun-Thur 10a-6p, Fri-Sat 10a-8p

For a hands-on and memorable rainy-day experience, head to Fire It Ceramics in Port Aransas. This pottery studio invites visitors of all ages to unleash their creativity. Choose your ceramic piece, paint it with vibrant colors, and watch as your masterpiece comes to life. It's a fantastic way for families to bond and create lasting memories while staying dry indoors.

10. Catchin' Paradise: Board Games and More

Address: Catchin’ Paradise

When the rain invites you to stay indoors, Catchin' Paradise is the perfect spot for some laid-back family fun. We offer plenty of board and card games for the kids and the adults in your group. We also have plenty of covered area downstairs to play on our custom cornhole boards or to relax on custom picnic table with your family and friends.

Bonus Idea: Explore Local Restaurants and Bars

On a rainy evening, immerse yourself in the culinary delights of Rockport and Port Aransas. From seafood joints to cozy cafes, these towns boast a diverse culinary scene. Savor fresh catches, indulge in comfort food, or explore local specialties. Additionally, the bars offer a warm and inviting atmosphere, perfect for trying out regional beverages and cocktails. Rainy days become an opportunity to embark on a culinary adventure, making it an ideal bonus idea for both adults and families.

We hope that these recommendations help answer the question: What to do in Rockport when it Rains? Embrace the rainy days in Rockport and Port Aransas, discovering the hidden gems that thrive indoors. From cultural explorations to hands-on activities, these destinations cater to a variety of interests, ensuring that your coastal getaway remains unforgettable, rain or shine.

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