For a truly memorable experience in this quaint seaside village, stay at the charming Tarpon Inn (200 E. Cotter Ave., 361/749-5555, www.thetarponinn.com, rooms range from $69 to $150 depending on size and season). An “inn” in every sense of the term, this historic establishment offers a slice of life in the late 1800s. In fact, it’s so authentic, you won’t even find a TV (or phone!) in your room. Fortunately, Wi-Fi service is available, so if you prefer, you can get online and avoid doing old-fashioned things like reading a book, relaxing in a rocking chair, playing croquet and horseshoes, or even talking. The rooms are small, but the lack of stuff in them—vintage beds and furniture notwithstanding—is imminently refreshing. Be sure to check out the old tarpon fish scales on the wall in the lobby, including those autographed by famous actors and politicians. The trolley stops out front every day to take guests to the beach or nearby shops.
Not quite as charming yet just as appealing in its local-ness is Alister Square Inn (122 S. Alister St., 361/749-3000, www.portaransas-texas.com, rates range $90–189). Though it’s a bit rough around the edges, this welcoming accommodation appeals to families and fishermen alike with its various lodging options (two-bedroom apartments, kitchenette suites, and standard hotel rooms), each featuring microwaves, refrigerators, and wireless Internet access. Alister Square is within walking distance of the beach, shopping boutiques, and restaurants.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition