2020 is a different kind of year and like everywhere in the country, big events are not happening. That changes the game a bit in Rockport but there is plenty of good news and opportunities to enjoy and support the local community are abundant. The outdoors are wide open for exploration and natural isolation in a low risk environment. Many of the local businesses are also back in action and ready to show their art and share the world class cuisine.
Beaches Opened May 1
The beaches, boat ramps and fishing access sites were largely closed across the state but have since reopened. This applies to the entire state and is mandated by the Governor. Rockport beaches and boat ramps are open to the public again and recreating outside is one of the better ways to enjoy Rockport this summer. Although the public access zones are open, social distancing and general precautions still apply. Maintain a 6-foot distance, use hand sanitizer and be cautious about drinking fountains, public restrooms and high contact areas. Focus on enjoying the sand, waterfront and the local bays and open ocean when possible. If one area is particularly crowded, consider utilizing a different beach or access area where the crowds are minimal. Otherwise, take full advantage of the great outdoors in Rockport.
Stay in Touch with the Community
The best way to stay current on local business openings and other events is through the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce website. Local businesses will also post updated policies on their doors and websites to keep everyone informed. Many of the mandates and directives are communicated through the governor’s office but the summer is showing a trend towards opening business while maintaining general precautions to keep everyone safe. The chamber website is also maintaining a spreadsheet of open attractions to help guide recreational decision making processes.
Focus on the Great Outdoors
With open access sites, a number of exciting outdoor activities are readily available. Soaking up the sun on a local beach is easy but avid outdoors people can also explore the bays from rented or owned kayaks. Motorized tours are also an option for anglers and for specific bird and wildlife watching.
Bird watching is a major attraction in the Rockport area and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge does not disappoint. The activity is also one of the safest ways to recreate while Covid-19 remains a risk. Grab a pair of binoculars and a spotting scope to view wildlife at a comfortable distance. You can walk trails and even drive the coastline while birding right from the vehicle when safely parked. The amount of contact required outside of your home or vehicle is minimal.
Anglers can also reel in some serious fish around Rockport with or without a boat. The local bays and shorelines have great access and fishing from piers or right from the beach can produce redfish, sea trout and black drum. A kayak or motorized skiff that drafts in shallow waters will also open a tone of ground to explore far away from the crowds. For open water, a bigger vessel is necessary to prepare for potential weather systems. The open ocean guides are capable of locating tarpon, jack crevalle and a number of other species that migrate through the big water zones in the Gulf of Mexico.
Support Local Business
Local businesses endured a long shutdown across the country and this summer is an excellent time to show your support and appreciation. Restaurants, artists, retailers and local nonprofits are largely reopening under new social distancing guidelines. Consider takeout or delivery if eating inside is high risk. Many restaurants are open for table seating however and are following sanitation guidelines. High risk individuals can still order takeout and do some window shopping without entering any crowded space however. Many of the local favorite places like the Center for the Arts, Texas Maritime Museum and Fulton Mansion State Historic Site are reopened to the public. The Fulton Market Days are also back, making it possible to interact with local vendors and artists that rely on the community events to showcase and sell unique, handmade products.
Other activity based businesses also make the outdoors more accessible and can do so in a safe and productive manner. The businesses like Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures or a day of fly fishing with local guide Kacee Bones is an incredible way to support the local economy while also learning and exploring the natural spaces here.