When I used to think of Texas, I thought of great barbecue, cowboy boots, and some awesome waterholes. The beach was not what came to my mind. But after our Texas winter retreat of full time RV living, the beach is now a great Texas memory for me.
Growing up in Tennessee, if we went to the beach that usually meant Florida and I would say most people do think of beautiful beaches when you think of the sunshine state. I am going to say though, Texas has some great beach spots. They may not look as tropical as Florida beaches, but there is something special about a Texas beach and Corpus Christi and let me tell you why!
Mustang Island State Park is a great budget friendly beach location. This state park is a short walk to the sandy beaches of the Texas shoreline. My experience with Texas beaches showed me that although the water might not be as clear and the surroundings may not be exotic, I love the rugged and natural feel you experience with these beaches.
We went camping at this park in February and although very windy, the weather was so nice and a nice break from the winter cold. Our hometown in Tennessee received a foot of snow (which is a lot for this area) while we were away and even though a small part of me missed seeing the winter wonderland, this beach helped take my mind off that split moment of sadness.
This time of year, we had the beach almost all to ourselves to run, play, or just ride our bikes down the beach. One of the unique things I loved about this state park beach area, was they offer beachfront camping and camp fires. Although we camped in our camper, I thought this experience would have been awesome! How cool is that to get to sleep on the beach and lounge by the campfire with the sunset in the background. This option is a super cheap way to camp as well while getting a beachfront location.
North Padre Island National Seashore If you are looking for nature at it’s finest, then Padre Island National Seashore is an experience unlike any other. This beach wins the title of the largest undeveloped barrier island in the world, containing 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches.
Go for a stroll on the grasslands nature trail or hop in your 4 wheel drive and go off-roading on the beach. Fish on the seashore or do some bird watching, there is so much unique things to do. One of the most amazing activities to witness on the Seashore is watching baby sea turtle hatchlings (including the rare Kemp’s Ridley species) get released into the wild for the first time.
The park has a program has a program set up to allows visitor to experience this spectacular event during the summer months. This park does not have hookups for water, sewer, or electric so this is truly a nature experience. Although we loved visiting this park we did not camp here and decided to stay at Mustang Island instead of moving locations.
USS Lexington Talk about a cool display and a awesome piece of history to have floating in Corpus Christi. This World War 2 aircraft carrier hosts 5 exhibits of self-guided tour routes including the flight deck, the hanger deck, the lower deck, and in total covers 100,000 square feet and 11 decks.
Some of the exhibits within exhibits (this ship is HUGE) include Pearl Harbor, walking the plank on the flight deck, a flight simulator, a captains cabin, and even a 3D mega theatre. As you tour the ship, you are able to see first hand how the crew lived and slept onboard as they served our country. The museum did a great job simulating the different areas as they were used such as but not limited to the barber, dental clinic, sick bay, and cafeteria to show a better understanding of the ship in use.
We went through this ship pretty quickly because we had a toddler with us even thought she did enjoy it (especially the flight deck) 3 hours aboard was all she had in her. You would thing in 3 hours you would see plenty but you could seriously spend all day here if you took your time and read everything so give yourself plenty of time because it is so worth it!
The Texas State Aquarium is located on North Beach right down the street from the U.S.S. Lexington. This aquarium has a beautiful location right on the water so you feel like you are truly a part of the marine wildlife. Some of the exhibits are located outside and this made for a unique aquarium experience. It is like you are in their habitat in the wild and you get lost in all adventure.
This aquarium was in many ways unlike any aquarium I have been to. It is very interactive and you are able to feed the stingrays, pet the sharks, and have up close and person meet and greets with some of the animals.
One of my favorite exhibits is the Dolphin …. which is the first time I have witnesses a show where you watch them perform underwater. You go below their tank and a large piece of glass separates you from the dolphins as they interact. It is a magical thing to see these animals glide back and forth underwater which is a view I have never seen of these beautiful animals. Although this aquarium didn’t take us very long to explore the exhibits are wonderful and we had a great time.
Harbor Bridge I have a thing for bridges. My dad was part of a crew that would build them when I was a kid and they have always been interesting to me. There is just something amazing about them and they bring so much beauty to a city while offering a panoramic water view. Corpus Christi has a beautiful bridge and gives a spectacular light show as the sun drifts off to sleep. My favorite view was parking by the USS Lexington which gives off a luminous nighttime glow and watching the lights change colors on the Harbor Bridge. It is a must see if you are in the area!
Snoopy’s on the Pier Want to try some of the best seafood in Corpus? The fish and chips are delicious and the view is almost as killer as the food. Choose to sit outside on the deck with a pier waterfront view or cozy up inside by the wood burning fire pit. It was a fun laid back atmosphere with some yummy cuisine that will not disappoint your taste buds.
We had a great trip to Corpus Christi and enjoyed the beaches, views, wildlife, and history you will find in the Texas gem. Now when I think of Texas I think of way more than just BBQ and cowboys. Texas is an awesome state!