In Cameron County, Port Isabel is located just northeast of Brownsville on Hwy 100 on South Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Queen Isabella Causeway, with a swing bridge across the ship channel between Port Isabel and South Padre Island, was completed in February 1954 at a cost of $2.2 million. The causeway drew tourists to the area.
During the 1980s the town continued to attract tourists. Recreational opportunities included fishing, boating, and hunting. In 1989 the port handled 263,335 short tons of cargo. In 1990 Port Isabel had a population of 4,622 and a school, although the number of businesses had declined. The town continued to support itself from the shrimping and fishing industry as well as the tourist industry.
Port Isabel is part of the Brownsville-Harlingen-San Benito, Texas metro area.