A group of staff members at USA Today has selected Rockport to be in the running for the newspaper’s Best Coastal Small Town. It’s actually a title the town has come close to winning before.
“In 2015, we were number 4,” Sandy Jumper from the Rockport Fulton Chamber of Commerce said. “In 2016, we were number 3, and then we kind of dropped off, but now we’re back in it.”
Hurricane Harvey in 2017 was the reason for the drop off, but Rockport has managed to reopen more than 90-percent of its businesses since then. Combine those efforts with a mile-long beach USA Today named number one in Texas last year, and some people in town are confident they’ll win this new title too.
“Being the number one beach and the number one small town, it kind of strikes to the heart of who we are,” Aransas County Navigation District Harbormaster Keith Barrett said.
Barrett, a Rockport native, is in charge of a number of venues including Rockport Beach. He thinks the sand, shallow water, and shade provided by tiki hut-like structures called palapas give Rockport an advantage in luring in tourists over other coastal cities. Rockport’s proximity to millions of people also helps.
“We’re close to a lot of the metropolitan areas of our state like Austin, San Antonio, and Houston,” Barrett said. “One thing those people from the large cities like to do is to get away to a small town and get that feel for it.”
But don’t confuse the small town feel that Rockport has for sleepiness. Local leaders say the city has a lot to offer and is worth of the Best Coastal Small Town title.
“We’ve got great restaurants and wonderful, unique shopping,” Jumper said. “It’s just a beautiful place, and the beach is amazing.”
The winner will be selected by a nationwide vote. Anyone can vote for the town of their choice once a day until the voting ends at noon on May 6. If you’d like to vote, click here.