The lighthouse was built in 1852 at the request of sea captains that needed assistance navigating the waters of the low-lying Texas coast. Over the years, technological advances made all Texas lighthouses obsolete by the early 1900s. A museum and reconstructed lighthouse keeper’s cottage sit in the shadow of Port Isabel’s 72-foot lighthouse. Climb 75 winding stairs, three short ladders, and take in the coastal sites of South Padre Island beaches at the last Texas lighthouse open to the public.
With a perch 50 feet above the ground, it is popular with photographers and other visitors, because they can enjoy great views of South Padre Island and the beaches. In fact, a number of couples have climbed the 75 winding stairs, including three short ladders, to exchange wedding vows at the top of the tower.
The grassy knoll where the lighthouse sits is ideal for strolling and relaxing, and the facilities are for historical study and scenic viewing. Picnic tables are also available.
In December of 2022, the lighthouse revealed a new 3rd order Fresnel Lens. The ceremony for the lighting of the lens drew thousands of attendees and received national media attention.
Port Isabel Lighthouse is operated by the city of Port Isabel. For more information, including admission and tour fees, go the city of Port Isabel - Port Isabel Lighthouse website.