San Jose Island (also known as St. Joe’s or Saint Joseph’s) is a pristine island accessible by ferry from Port Aransas. Uninhabited with vehicle traffic prohibited, it’s a pristine beach great for sea shell collecting. 21 miles long, one brochure I read said that the best way to see the island is to rent bikes with sand tires and take them on the jetty boat to the island.
All set to explore, my sister, my nephew and I headed to the island on the 10 am Jetty Boat. The heat index was going to be pretty high (over 100 degrees), so we opted to go early, pack a picnic lunch and made plans to splash around in the water rather than hoof it too far around the island. The boat ride was short and pleasant (less than 10 minutes). We unloaded with our beach bag and picnic basket ad headed down the jetty to the shoreline. I was glad we weren’t laden down with more things because it was a bit of a walk to lug our stuff to our beach spot. More experienced (and better prepared!) beach goers rented carts at Fisherman’s Wharf for $10 for the day. We saw several families with rented carts loaded with tents, boogie boards, fishing poles, coolers etc. ready for a full day on the island. There are no facilities on the island, so bring plenty of water if you go in the heat of summer. Ferry’s run about every hour, but be sure to check the return schedule.
We spent two delightful hours on St. Joe’s. The waves were gentle and the water clear. There were a few families with us on the beach but fairly well spread out. My sister and I ate our sandwiches standing in the water to keep watch over my nephew who couldn’t be bothered to get out! We eventually convinced him to take a stroll down the beach (he splashed and played his way along behind us) to look for shells. My sister found a tiny sand dollar about the size of a dime. I was surprised to not see more shells on the shoreline. We stayed along the stretch of beach that would be easily accessible from the ferry by foot, so perhaps if we’d ventured farther along the shoreline by bike, and maybe earlier in the day, we would have seen more shells. After the stroll and a little more time in the water, we caught the 12:10 ferry back to Port A and for us, that was a perfect amount of time.