Port Isabel is one of the oldest cities in deep South Texas. It has a long and interesting history dating back to 1519. This seaside community has historic roots and a storied history including shipwrecks, Spanish explorers, Pirate Landings, and Mexican & Civil War History. Come explore the legends and lore of Port Isabel in one of our Museums or climb the original lighthouse for a remarkable view.
Port Isabel Highlights
The Port Isabel Lighthouse
In 1852 the U. S. Department of Treasury constructed an eighty-two-foot-high brick lighthouse tower topped with a stationary white light which could be seen for fifteen miles. The lighthouse operated with changing equipment and with intermittent interruptions until 1905 until it was abandoned. During the Civil War, the lighthouse was used as an observation post for both Confederate and Union soldiers. It suffered some damage but. survived the war. Later, the lighthouse was acquired and restored by the Texas State Park Board. It remains the smallest state park in Texas and the only Texas Lighthouse open for visitors to climb.
The blocks surrounding the Lighthouse Park are known as Historic Lighthouse Square. This area was once the busy commerce center of this Port city. To this day the square is known for its boutique shopping, fine restaurants and pleasant walkable nature. Park your car and have a walk around lighthouse square. Enjoy a shady bench, an ice cream, some shopping, or a tour of our unique sculpture and enjoy the bay front view.
Museums of Port Isabel
The Museums of Port Isabel is a complex consisting of three diverse facilities, the Port Isabel Historic Museum, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, and the Point Isabel Lighthouse. All three are within walking distance of each other and are open year around to the public. Exhibits include artifacts from 1554 Spanish Shipwrecks, artifacts from the U.S. - Mexican War, our famous "fish mural" and fascinating Port Isabel History.
The Visitors Center
Be sure to stop in at the Lighthouse Keepers cottage which serves as Port Isabel's Visitors Center. This replica of the original keepers cottage is open to the public and full of valuable information for our guests.