Rockport Beach a hub of activity (video)

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

Aug. 24, 2013 at 3:24 a.m.

Shops near the beach offer shopping in Rockport.

Shops near the beach offer shopping in Rockport.

ROCKPORT - The Reid family packed gobs of wet sand atop an elaborate castle at Rockport Beach.

Originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, they decided to spend the week lounging in Rockport in the sun because it is clean and not as commercialized as other summer destinations, said Holly Reid, 29.

"If you want to go buy a shirt with a shark on it, Port Aransas is for you, but if you want to relax, Rockport is the best," she said as her three daughters splashed in knee-deep, waveless water.

"It's very safe in that respect because we don't have all the rip tide currents like you do in the Gulf," said Keith Barrett, a harbor master with the Aransas County Navigation District.

The District built Rockport Beach in the late 1950s by dredging channels.

It was the first Texas beach to become Blue Wave certified for its pristine amenities some 14 years ago. It has maintained that title ever since with the help of four workers who do everything from replenishing sand to picking up litter, he said.

In addition to shady umbrellas and volleyball nets, the property offers three pavilions that can accommodate up to 250 guests for weddings, family reunions, birthdays and conferences.

Barrett described the beach as a hub of activity as about 1,500 women competed last year in a fishing tournament, reeling in red fish, speckled trout and flounder.

Christine Haun, 19, took advantage of that wildlife as a former member of Cuero 4-H Exchange. She spent the day kayaking and catching crabs as a way of connecting with kids visiting from Tennessee.

"It (the beach) is great for conservation," said Haun, who is now a sophomore at Texas Woman's University in Denton. "If you don't know what's out here, it's kind of hard to protect it."

Her friend, Hayley Slade, 16, of Tennessee, slathered on three coats of sunscreen, so she wouldn't burn during the outing.

Her only fishing trips had been to a pond in Missouri with her grandfather. The Crossroads' flat landscape, salt water and nets as opposed to fishing poles were all new to her.

"It's peaceful here," she said, smiling. "I like it."



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