If you’re looking for a great family vacation get-away along the Texas Gulf Coast, then you need to make Corpus Christi, TX your destination. Nicknamed the “Sparkling City by the Sea”, Corpus Christi is one of Texas’ top seaside destinations. Corpus Christi is a vibrant, fast-growing city nestled among numerous bays, beaches, rivers, and estuaries.
If you love the water, then you’ll love Corpus. You can engage in every activity that’s wet and wild including coastal and deep-sea fishing, excellent beachcombing; swimming, surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, and boating. In addition to the water there a whole host of things to see and do such as cattle ranches, wildlife refuges, unique museums, and even a World War Two aircraft carrier. Here are a few of the city’s sites you won’t want to miss:
USS Lexington Museum
Corpus Christi is home to the USS LEXINGTON, CV-16, one of the most famous aircraft carriers of World War II. Commissioned in February 1943, she served the United States longer and set more records than any other carrier in the history of naval aviation.
The USS Lexington Museum on the Bay is a great place for all the family to experience hands-on history. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003, the vessel has been restored and is carefully maintained.
SkateThe Lexington Museum on the Bay is located at 2914 North Shoreline Blvd, in the city’s museum district. Some of the other attractions located in the museum district are the Museum of Asian Cultures, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the South Texas Institute for the Arts, the Harbor Playhouse Theatre as well as the Gulf Coast Aquarium.
For more information, go to the USS Lexington website at usslexington.com.
Padre Island National Seashore
Corpus Christi is where visitors gain access to the Padre Island National Seashore. Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the United States. Some of the popular outdoor activities include camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, beachcombing, and horseback riding. The park has almost 70 miles of protected coastline that feature, among other things, a coastal prairie, 380 species of birds, Spanish shipwrecks, a dynamic dune system, nesting grounds for endangered sea turtles, tidal flats, and Laguna Madre, one of the hyper-saline environments remaining in the world.
For more information, go to the National Parks Service website at nps.gov/pais/index.htm.
Texas State Aquarium
Declared the “Official Aquarium of the State of Texas”, the Texas State Aquarium is located near the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay. The aquarium’s exhibits and research focus on the plants and animals of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the first facility in the United States to do so.
Several touch pools, six aquariums, and three interactive computer kiosks help visitors learn more about the different habitats of the Laguna Madre, and Padre Island bays and estuaries. Some of the attractions featured at the Texas State Aquarium include Dolphin Bay, Stingray Lagoon, Otter Creek, Tortuga Bay (sea turtles) as well as recreations of the Amazon Rain Forest and the Flower Gardens Coral Reef.
For more information, go to the Texas State Aquarium website at texasstateaquarium.org.
Corpus Christi Bay Trail
Stretching nearly nine miles, the Corpus Christi Bay Trail is a scenic corridor with a hike and bike trail that begins near the American Bank Center and winds along the Corpus Christi Bay before arriving at the wetlands along Oso Bay. Along the way, you’ll get spectacular views of the bays, marinas and downtown skyline. If you have a skateboarder in the family, you’ll be sure to want to stop by the Corpus Christi Skate Park, located along the trail at Cole Park. This 12,000-square-foot concrete park includes a skating bowl and a street course with stairs, railings, and flat surfaces.
Corpus Christi Museums
A few of the more interesting local museums include:
The Corpus Christi Museum of History and Science is a great place to learn about the history of Corpus Christi and South Texas. The museum features historical exhibits that give visitors a glimpse of the cultures and people that have had an impact on the development of the city and region, a live reptile display, interactive activities for the children and natural history exhibits. For more info visit: ccmuseum.com.
Hailed as the Madonna of Latino pop music, Selena was a legendary performer whose life and career was tragically cut short. The Selena Museum exists as a tribute to the fallen pop star. Visitors can find information about all things Selena with costumes, gold records, magazine covers, and even the singer’s car on display. For more info visit: selenaforever.com/Selena_Museum/Selena_Museum.html
.Located in downtown Corpus Christi, K Space Contemporary is the oldest alternative art space in the Coastal Bend region. K Space provides a forum for under-represented artists whose works are considered to be experimental, non-commercial, or difficult to exhibit due to unusual installation requirements or site-specific ideas. For more info visit: kspacecontemporary.org.
The Texas Surf Museum is dedicated to recording and preserving Texas surfing history. This includes a large selection of classic surfboards, a replica of a surfboard shop, a theatre showing surfing movies as well as hundreds of photos that provide an entertaining retrospective of the colorful surfing history of the Lone Star state. For more info visit: texassurfmuseum.com.
And you won’t want to miss these nearby attractions:
Few places capture the spirit of the Old West like the King Ranch. Located about 45 minutes south of Corpus Christi, King Ranch is one of the largest and oldest working cattle ranches in the world. Founded in 1853 by Captain Richard King and Gideon K. Lewis, the King Ranch encompasses portions of six Texas counties. Kingsville, the small town that sprang up near the ranch is home to the King Ranch Museum, where visitors can learn about the history of cattle ranching in Texas.
For more information, go to the King Ranch web site at king-ranch.com.
Aransas Pass Wildlife Refuge
About a thirty-minute drive north of Corpus, the Aransas Pass Wildlife Refuge covers over 115,000 acres and provides vital resting, feeding, wintering, and nesting grounds for migratory birds and native Texas wildlife.
The Aransas Pass Wildlife Refuge is well known among birdwatchers as the winter home for the largest wild flock of endangered whooping cranes in the world. Other native species that can be observed in the Refuge include the American alligator, javelina (a kind of wild pig), roseate spoonbill, white-tailed deer, armadillo, and spectacular wildflowers.
For more information, visit the Aransas Pass Wildlife Refuge website at fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/aransas/index.html.
In addition to these exciting places, Corpus features many fine restaurants, hotels, and shops. If you’re looking for an ideal family vacation destination in Texas, then Corpus Christi should be at the top of your list. To get more information about this amazing city, contact the Corpus Christi Visitors Center at visitcorpuschristitx.org.