On the Road!
Planning a trip to the coast is sure to generate lots of excitement and anticipation. And with a little advance planning, you can make getting there part of the fun.
We live in Austin and make the trip from there to Port Aransas quite often. Over the years, we have compiled what we think is the shortest and most scenic route to take. It’s all a matter of knowing the right route and the best stops along the way – food stops, fun stops, and especially those all important potty breaks. Here are our own, personal driving directions with turn by turn directions and recommended side stops.
- From Austin, take 183 South towards Lockhart.
- If it’s near lunch time, take a BBQ break in Lockhart. Then continue on 183 S towards Luling. [Black’s BB Que has the best selection of non-meat sides.]
- In Luling,if you did not stop in Lockhart for BBQ, you have another chance. Turn right on Davis just before the RR tracks, and stop at City Market.
- Turn Alert!!! Turn left just over the RR tracks to stay on 183 S. Another fun place to stop is the Luling Pottery Market. You’ll see it on the left just after the Rusty Rooster on your right.
- There is a decent potty break in Gonzales at the Circle G truck stop [on your right towards the far end of Gonzales]. If you want a stop at the architectural antiques store, it is on the business road into the main square. The business 183 will come back together with 183 on the far side of town and you’ll keep heading south.
- About 5 miles before you hit Cuero, look for the Buffalo on the left side of the road.
- In Quero at Church Street is Tillmans Antiques.
- Turn Alert!!! Warning: at some point, just past Cuero, you will go over a fairly long bridge over a river over the Guadalupe River. You will need to veer left to stay on 183 ( towards Goliad).
- In Goliad, stay on 183 S towards Refugio. [If you are interested in history, there are several possible stops along 183 including the Mission on your right as you head to the coast and General Zaragosa memorial on your left.]
- Stay on 183 S until you get to Refugio. [Approx. 110 miles from Luling]
- In Refugio, 183 will veer right at the Burger King/ Shell station [on your left at the traffic light]
- Turn Alert!!! Go 1.3 miles and take a left on Empresario at the light.
- Turn Alert!!! Go 1.5 miles and turn right at the first stop sign onto Hwy 136 towards Bayside
- Turn Alert!!! Follow Hwy 136 through Bayside. Stop and eat the fried egg sandwiches at Crofutt’s. Good pre-ferry potty break too. Consider stocking up on baked goodies. Turn left at a flashing stop light [in the middle of nowhere] onto Hwy 188.
- Follow Hwy 188 until it T’s at the local Hwy 35. You will go PAST the multi-lane Hwy 35 a few miles before you turn right when 188 ends at 35.
- Follow 35. It will have a small joggle [at a donut shop] where 35 veers right but you will need stay left/straight towards Port Aransas. There is a green sign for 90 at the joggle. Turn Alert!!! Turn left on 361 at the light where there is an HEB. [Stop to get any items you may have forgotten]. There is also a Valero / Stripes just after you turn, if you need gas. It is your last potty break opportunity before the ferry. In the peak season, NEVER get on the ferry line without stopping first.
- Take the ferry to Port Aransas. Look for dolphins, and beware of friendly birds coming to sit on your car.
- When you get off the ferry, turn right at the Valero/Stripes onto Cut Off Road.
- Then at the 2nd street on your left turn onto W Ave C. Then the 2nd street again on your left is Gulf. Turn left onto Gulf and immediately on your right is where you’ll pick up the key at the Life in Paradise office, 217 Gulf Street.
- After you pick up a key, backtrack on Ave C to Cut Off Road.
- Turn left onto Cut Off Road and follow it around the curve, straight through the light at Alister until you get to 11th Street [Shells Pasta & Seafood restaurant and a Holiday Inn Express are at the intersection.]
- Go right on 11th Street for about 3/4 of a mile — you’ll see the sign for the Commons on your right just after Faith Harbor Condominiums. The official address is 2120 S. 11th Street.
For the drive back, just do everything above backwards and leave time to make the stops you missed on the way down. Safe travels!