Port Isabel, population 5084, is located 35 miles southeast of Harlingen and 22 miles northeast of Brownsville, Texas and 25 miles from the U.S./Mexico border. It lies on the eastern end of the Rio Grande Valley at the Brazos-Santiago Pass to the Gulf of Mexico. The latitude of Port Isabel is 26.073N. The longitude is 97.208W. It is in the Central Standard time zone. Elevation is 7 feet. Port Isabel is 180 miles from Monterrey, Mexico; 286 miles from San Antonio; 366 miles from Houston; 531 miles from Dallas; 688 miles from Mexico City; and 815 miles from El Paso, Texas.
Incorporated in 1927, the City of Port Isabel has a Home Rule type of government with five council members including the mayor, a city planning commission and a city master plan. The city has a full-time manager and staff. Emergency personnel include 18 police officers, 6 police vehicles, a volunteer fire department and fully staffed emergency medical services. The fire department has one fire marshal, 5 vehicles and a fire insurance rating of 0.42 full key rate and a fire protection class of 6. Service is provided to industry beyond the corporate limits.
Port Isabel and the Laguna Madre area is home to about 2,500 school age children attending one of four public schools; Garriga Elementary School (Grades K-2), Derry Elementary School, (3-5), Port Isabel Junior High School (6-8), and Port Isabel High School (9-12). Port Isabel is within 25 miles of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, and 40 miles from Texas State Technical College, the University Preparatory School and the Marine Academy in Harlingen.
As historic and cultural preservation is a priority for the community, Port Isabel has three museums, the Point Isabel Lighthouse, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum and the Port Isabel Historic Museum. Port Isabel also has an accredited public library. Recreational, social and cultural facilities include: a public swimming pool, golf courses, tennis courts, Laguna Madre Boys & Girls Club, high school auditorium and a community center. Clubs and organizations include: Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, American Legion Post #498, Friends of the Library, Laguna Madre Art League, Laguna Madre Humane Society, Laguna Madre Museum Foundation, Laguna Madre Yacht Club, Habitat for Humanity (Laguna Madre Chapter), Laguna Madre Golf Association and numerous committees and subcommittees.
The Port Isabel/Cameron County Airport is located ten miles from Port Isabel. Municipally owned, it has a lighted primary runway of 10,000 feet. The Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport is located in Brownsville, just 22 miles south with commercial and passenger service. The Valley International Airport, located in Harlingen, 35 miles northeast, is a hub serving the lower Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island.
The Laguna Madre community is served locally by several publications including Port Isabel/South Padre Press (semi-weekly), Coastal Current (weekly), Island Breeze (two times weekly), and South Padre Parade (weekly). Rio Grande Valley newspapers serving the area include: Brownsville Herald and Valley Morning Star, El Nuevo Heraldo, La Frontera, Mid Valley Town Crier and the Bargain Book.
The climate is mild, semi-tropical. January mean minimum temperature is 51.4 F, July mean maximum is 92.5 F. Annual average temperature is 73.6 F. September is the month with the highest precipitation with an average rainfall of 5.13”, March is the lowest precipitation month with 1.11”. Annual average is 27.62”.
Port Isabel has a diverse demographic picture. Median resident age is 34 years, median household income is $28,413, median house value is $82,349. Ethnic groups represented in Port Isabel breakdown following: 74.4% Hispanic, 24.5% Non-Hispanic, 15.5% from other races, and 3.01% from two or more races. (Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races.)
Industries providing employment include: arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services (25.1%); educational, health and social services (12.2%); retail trade (10.9%). Daytime population change die to commuting: +21.1%. Workers who live and work in Port Isabel: 38.5%
Taxation: Ad valorem rate per $100 evaluation:
City of Port Isabel 1.061634
Cameron County 0.348191
State of Texas none
Point Isabel ISD 1.057000
Laguna Madre Water District 0.105800
Texas Southmost College 0.161089
South Texas ISD 0.0492
Port Isabel is a historic community with roots dating back to inhabitation by the Coahilitecan Indians prior to European settlements. It’s stragetic location played an important role in the U.S. Mexican War, the U.S. Civil War and the California Gold Rush. Natural clay bluffs and a proximity to the Gulf of Mexico made it a safe harbor for passage to points west and north. The Laguna Madre area has been settled, ranched, fished, shrimped and still plays a vital role in Cameron County and south Texas. Whether considering a visit, a new home or a business home, our quality of life and diversity make Port Isabel a great place to stop for day or stay a for a lifetime.