The Texas Maritime Museum is located on Rockport’s harbor only a couple miles away from our campground. It was not a large museum, but it was thoughtfully laid out and had good displays. Its biggest claim to fame is that it has a number of artifacts from La Salle’s ship La Belle. The French explorer La Salle came to the area in the 1680’s to start a colony. It’s not clear why he landed in Texas. The French lands in Louisiana are several hundred miles to the east but maps were inaccurate at that time and the mouth of the Mississippi is misplaced into Texas on a lot of them. La Salle lost most of his ships and ended up being killed by one of the colonists. La Belle ran aground nearby and was covered up by mud and sand relatively quickly which caused it to be exceptionally well preserved. There was a large model of La Belle displayed as well as a number of artifacts from it and a video documentary about the La Belle.
There were models of coastal sailing ships and a section on the steam boats that were instrumental in developing the area. There are barrier islands that stretch all along the coast in this part of Texas so the waterway is protected and has always been a major highway for trade. There was a section on oil rigs, since there are a number of them in the area and then finally a section on the local sport fishing. There was a library that was open for researchers on the first floor.
The third floor of the museum was a walkway around the top of the building with a view of the harbor and the bay. The museum auctions off access to the walkway for the 4th of July harbor fireworks display. We think it was a worthwhile place to visit and we give it an A+ for accessibility since there was an elevator the let us get to all the floors and the bathrooms were eminently handicap accessible.