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Coastal Comeback Special Report

Texans are resilient. We’ve been tested time and again, from despotism to depressions, oil busts to dust bowls—and now by Hurricane Harvey. But as in past trials, Texans have found a way to turn obstacles into opportunity and seize the chance for renewal. Consider Lee Roy Hoskins, owner of Port Aransas’ venerable Tarpon Inn, who labored for months to rebuild after the hurricane. “We had a lot of things we needed to work on anyway,” Hoskins says with a smile.

The story of Hurricane Harvey is well known. Cameras were rolling as the storm blasted the coast and then dumped flooding rains for nearly two weeks, turning city streets into murky rivers. When the sun finally came out, we took hope as the media highlighted heroic stories of survival, community, and fundraising efforts led by celebrities like J.J. Watt and George Strait.

After those distressing days last summer, the news cycle moved on to the next breaking disaster, and life returned to normal for those of us spared the wrath of one of the most damaging storms on record. But for the places affected by Harvey—including many of Texas’ favorite travel destinations—very little has remained the same for the past nine months.

As a magazine dedicated to chronicling the best of Texas travel and culture, Texas Highways has been keeping watch. Starting in the weeks after the hurricane, we deployed writers to follow the stories of Harvey recovery in Port Aransas, Rockport-Fulton, and Houston. We found Texans’ characteristic grit on full display and stories of reinvention and growth.

It would be hasty to suggest it’s business as usual on the Texas Gulf Coast, but plenty of old favorites and interesting developments justify a return visit. And these places are eager to welcome you back. In Rockport, check out the new home of the famed Rockport Center for the Arts in its burgeoning downtown. In midtown Houston, try the smoked brisket pho at Saigon House, where new partners gutted a damaged building and reopened as one of the city’s most innovative Vietnamese restaurants. And in Port Aransas, charter a fishing tour or take it easy and head to The Phoenix for surf and turf. “We had no choice but to rebuild,” co-owner Vanessa Brundrett says. “After all, our name is The Phoenix.”

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