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Do you love spending time at the beach? Enjoy making sand castles with your kids? Then you must take a trip to the Texas SandFest! Find out why it’s such a great weekend getaway for families and everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip below!
What is the Texas SandFest?
Texas SandFest began in 1997 as a local sand sculpting competition. Since then, it has grown into the largest sculpting competition using native sand in the United States. The event raises money for local charities and scholarships for local high school students.
This three day event draws master and semiprofessional sand sculptors from all over the world. And their huge sand creations will blow you away!
Activities and Entertainment at the Festival
There is so much more to Texas SandFest than just watching the masters play in the sand. The event really does have something for everyone. There’s live music, amateur sand sculpting, food, and so much more.
Of course, the highlight of the entire event is watching the master and semiprofessional sculptors as they work on their amazing larger-than-life artwork. Beyond that, however, you can expect:
- Lesson Mountain-an area where kids can learn techniques to make their own awesome sand castles
- Face painting and balloon animals
- Live music
- Food trucks
- Catch Co.’s Bassmobile-a company dedicated to teaching and encouraging people to go fishing
- Shopping-you will find everything from clothing and jewelry to golf carts and boats at SandFest
- and much more!
Why should you take your kids to the Texas SandFest?
This festival is very family friendly. It is located right on the beach, so it is the perfect excuse to get outside and spend some quality time sticking your toes in the sand with your family.
After getting their faces painted, your kids can learn to make their own sand sculptures while the adults enjoy soaking up the sunshine and listening to live music.
My favorite part of this whole event is strolling along the beach and watching the sculptors as they work on their pieces. The detail they put into these large works of art is truly amazing. They are just mesmerizing to watch!
This is a great excuse for a weekend getaway to Texas. You can get art, sand, sun, and relaxing time with family all in one place.
When and where is the Texas SandFest?
This sand sculpting competition is held every year in Port Aransas, Texas. You can find Port Aransas 30 miles outside of Corpus Christi, Texas on the Gulf Coast. Because Port Aransas is on an island, you will need to take a short 10 minute ferry ride to get there.
Texas SandFest is held each April. In 2022, the dates for the festival are April 8-10. It will be held rain or shine.
Parking and Prices
You have two options for parking at the Texas SandFest: on the beach or at one of the park-and-ride locations.
There are two parking lots on the beach. One is near the north entrance to SandFest and the other is near the south entrance to the festival. You must have a permit to park in either of these lots, which will cost you $12.
If you would prefer to park for free or don’t want to fight the traffic to park on the beach, you can park in one of three free lots on the island and take a free shuttle to the beach. These lots are located at Roberts Point Park near the ferry landing, the Port Aransas Community Park, or on Gracie’s Way.
To enter SandFest, you must purchase a wristband. The wristbands are good for all three days of the event. There are no one-day tickets.
You can either buy your wristbands at the gate or purchase them in advance online here. If you get your wristbands at the gate, please note that it is cash only.
The gate prices are $15 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12, and children under 6 are free.
Where to Stay
Port Aransas is a small town, but it is 100% a tourist destination. Therefore, there are plenty of options of places to stay during your trip. For a list of all the options, see the Sandfest website.
You are allowed to camp or park your RV right on the beach in Port Aransas if you want. The parking spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis. For SandFest, the lot opens at midday on the Thursday before the event begins on Friday.
You must have a parking permit to park on the beach, which will cost you $12. There is a three night limit. Please note that there are no utility hookups on the beach.
Vacation Home Rentals
Another option is renting a vacation home or condo. There are tons of them available in Port Aransas. Some of them are within walking distance of the beach and the festival.
Lastly, there are several hotels in and around Port Aransas if that is more your style. These include the Beach Lodge, which is right on the beach and mere steps from the entrance to the SandFest.
Tips for Visiting
To make your trip to the Texas SandFest as awesome as possible, here are some tips:
- Check out the sculptures periodically throughout the three day event to see how they progress.
- Definitely look at the entries as late as possible on Sunday to see them finished or close to finished.
- You can bring your dog with you, as long as it is well-behaved and kept on a leash.
- No ice chests, coolers, or outside alcohol are allowed inside the festival gates.
- You are prohibited from bringing bicycles, skateboards, or personal/rental golf carts to the festival.
- You can bring a folding chair to sit in as long as you don’t block foot traffic.
- Bring a stroller or wagon to carry your small children.
- Take your time looking at the sculptures so you can appreciate all the details.
- Take some time to enjoy the water during your trip.
Texas SandFest is the largest native sand sculpting competition in the United States. It is held in Port Aransas, Texas each spring. This is a wonderful family-friendly event that has something for everyone. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind event that you will be talking about for years to come!
For help planning your next family vacation, see my ultimate guide to traveling with kids, how to take amazing vacations on any budget, how to plan an epic vacation, and tips to help you save for vacation.
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