University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Coastal Studies Laboratory

This small working lab is open for self-guided tours of its small fish tanks and various wall displays. If you can get past its meager utilitarian charms, you'll find lots of information about local marine life. Entrance is free, but you will have to pay the Isla Blanca entry fee to access the facility.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Isla Blanca County Park

0.24 MILES

Just south of the causeway, this county park is the most popular beach on SPI thanks to various concessions and facilities.

2. Port Isabel Historical Museum

3.03 MILES

Built (in 1899) sturdily of bricks to resist storms, the home of the history museum served at various times as the town’s railroad station, post office…

3. Port Isabel Lighthouse

3.05 MILES

The Port Isabel Lighthouse was built (of brick) in 1852, and remained in use until 1905. A climb up its 70 somewhat-precarious steps yields great views of…

4. Treasures of the Gulf Museum

3.06 MILES

Sunken treasure! That's the focus of this fun museum, which displays artifacts from three Spanish galleons that went down nearby in 1554. It does a good…

5. Sea Turtle, Inc

4.28 MILES

No, you can't handle the sea turtles. But you can see rescued turtles and learn firsthand about the slow regrowth of critically endangered Kemp's ridley…

7. Andy Bowie County Park

4.56 MILES

Across from (SPI) Convention Center, this pleasant beach park is surrounded by condo and hotel developments. It has a shaded picnic building with views…

8. Boca Chica Beach

5.44 MILES

Hugging the border just above where the Rio Grande empties into the gulf, Boca Chica is a rarely visited 10,680-acre wilderness very literally at the end…