by Courtney Elko
This more than 130-year-old hotel has reopened after sustaining some damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The restaurant continues to see repairs and updates but is also expected to reopen soon. Built in 1886, the hotel was first used to house workers building the jetty in Port Aransas, then became a hotel once the jetty was complete. It served as a headquarters for the Red Cross and Salvation Army in the early 1900s as its impressive structure was able to sustain natural disasters. Even following Hurricane Harvey, the Tarpon Inn was only shifted ever so slightly on its foundation.
The Tarpon Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, gained its name from the hundreds of fish scales that line the lobby. The scales are dated and signed by fishermen who caught tarpon as far back as the late 1800s. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who vacationed and fished off Port Aransas, even has a scale featured. While Roosevelt did not officially stay at the hotel, he is a part of its history, having sent the first telegram from Port Aransas from the hotel.
Families will love enjoying the hotel’s long, deep front porches that harken back to another era with wooden rocking chairs waiting. Kids will love the outdoor pool, and the beach is only a few short blocks away. The guestrooms are simple, with original hardwood floors and no televisions. But the FDR suite, ideal for families, offers a television and a kitchen.
Our Editor Loves
- Historic hotel
- Outdoor pool
- Family suites available
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
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There are 24 guestrooms and suites, and all open to the long front porch where several wooden rocking chairs sit.
The guestrooms are simple with a rustic feel in the original hardwood floors. The guestrooms feature one or two queen or full beds. One room features two twin beds. Each room offers a private bathroom with a shower/tub combination and air conditioning. There are no telephones or televisions in the guestrooms. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available.
There are a few suites available as well, including the FDR suite, which offers a separate living room area with a fireplace, television and DVD player, as well as a small kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave and oven. There is a king bed in the bedroom area, which has a door, and a daybed in the living room area, as well as a couch. There is a private balcony and an enclosed porch area with a dining table. The bathroom offers a shower/tub combination. The suites can accommodate between four and six people comfortably.
Stayed here two nights while visiting the area and liked it, didn’t love it. This seems to be a very historic hotel, but we felt a little run down. Our room was fairly clean, but also very small. The shower had some damage and was super small. The hotel is within walking distance of some good restaurants. The staff was fairly friendly, if we ever return to the area, we would probably check other options before booking here again.
Beautiful historic hotel, very reminiscent of the types you use to find in the Florida Keys. Our room was cozy comfortable. there are rocking chairs and ceiling fans outside of each. Great for sitting outside at night with a cool breeze and the sound of palm trees rustling. We had a great stay without the nuisance of TVs and telephones allowing my wife and I to just enjoy each other‘s company. Will definitely be back!
The outdoor pool is situated in the rear of the building and surrounded by grass and lounge chairs. Pool towels are provided.
Tarpon Scale Wall
As soon as you enter the lobby of the Tarpon Inn, you will notice the long wall covered in tarpon fish scales. Tarpon fishing is popular in Port Aransas and as a way of documenting a catch, fishermen would pull off a tarpon fish scale, sign and date it and list where they were from, and the size and weight of the fish. The Tarpon Inn soon became the place to display those tarpon trophies. Fishermen and celebrities have been leaving behind scales since the late 1800s. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt fished for tarpon in 1937 in Port Aransas. He did not stay at the hotel, instead choosing to stay on the Presidential yacht, but he did send the first telegram out of Port Aransas from the Tarpon Inn. He sent a sympathy telegram to Adolf Hitler following the destruction of the Hindenburg crash in May, 1937. A few of the other well-known Tarpon scale signatures come from Actress Hedy Lamarr, Academy Award Winning Actor Victor McLaglen and cake mix giant Duncan Hines.
Roosevelts at The Tarpon Inn
The restaurant is currently still being repaired and remodeled following damage sustained by Hurricane Harvey. Considered one of the best restaurants in Port Aransas, this fine dining restaurant is open to the public and situated in a separate building on the hotel property. Guests can enjoy breakfast and lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday and dinner seven days a week.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free parking for cars and golf carts is available.
Pets are welcome to stay here for an additional per pet fee.
The Best Time to Visit
The beach town offers mild weather most of the year with temperatures in the 60s in January and February and in the 90s in the summer. Most families visit the area in the summer months and around school holidays. However, the potential for hurricanes is typically at its highest in August and September.
Located on Mustang Island (which is north of North Padre Island), this hotel is located about 45 minutes from the Corpus Christi airport.
Golf carts are a popular mode of transportation in Port Aransas and several golf cart rental companies are within walking distance of this hotel. The beach is only a few short blocks away and families can walk there or take a golf cart or vehicle, as there is parking at the beach. All vehicles must have a parking permit, however, which can be purchased at a local convenience store.