Gulf Coast of Texas

The Texas Gulf Coast region is home to some of the best beaches in America, drawing millions of visitors each year, and well known as one of the best Texas camping and RV destinations. Stretching more than 350 miles from South Padre Island & the Rio Grande Valley, this region is renowned for its pristine beauty, wildlife & many recreational attractions. Discover the pristine beaches and quaint towns of the Texas Gulf Coast Region.

Tiny fishing villages have existed in Texas since the region was a colony of Mexico. Over the years, many of the small towns dotting the Texas coastal region have developed thriving tourism commerce instead of fishing, taking advantage of the rich history and semi-tropical seaside location.

Several of the many attractions along the Texas Gulf Coast campers will enjoy include: the Brazoria County Historical Museum. Aransas Pass Features the Lighthouse Lakes Kayak Trail, dozens of world-class birding locations, and access to excellent saltwater fishing. Baytown offers outdoor enthusiasts plenty of recreational opportunities. Beaumont is a unique blend of Texan and Cajun influences. Brownsville a historic border town offers a world-class zoo, golf courses, and world-renowned birding locations. Freeport is a Texas gem where visitors can find outstanding fishing, water sports, and many outdoor recreations.

For more camping destinations and vacation destinations in the Texas Gulf Coast region, Google: Harlingen, Kemah, Kingsville, Lake Jackson, League City, Matagorda, Orange, Port Aransas, Port Arthur, Port Isabel, Port O’Connor, Rockport, Surfside Beach, Victoria, and West Columbia.

The Gulf Coast of Texas features a wealth of activities and attractions, including some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Due to its seaside nature, many towns along the Gulf Coast are awash in boat charters, giving anglers ample opportunity to book deep-sea fishing excursions. Corpus Christi, one of the larger centers in the area, offers a robust choice of attractions, including the Texas State Aquarium. The city is also known as the gateway to the Padre Island National Seashore—a natural area dedicated to the conservation of native aquatic flora and fauna. The city of McAllen is another sizeable center found in the area. Located on the Rio Grande, McAllen is known for its abundance of citrus groves and for being just 10 mi (16 km) north of the Mexican border. Other popular destinations in this region include Brownsville, Harlingen and Kingsville, each offering a fine selection of outdoor activities, trendy restaurants, and charming accommodations.

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a major port city located in the Gulf Coast region of Texas. Featuring beachfront boulevards, exciting attractions and a myriad of popular annual events, Corpus Christi proves to be a trendy vacation destination. Perhaps the most popular attraction in this city is the Texas State Aquarium, which boasts exhibits on marine life and daily shows featuring otters, dolphins, and reptiles. The Corpus Christi Dog Track also draws crowds wishing to view live greyhound dog racing several times a week. Every year the city is abuzz during Buccaneer Days, a 20-day event that takes place in April and May. Featuring a carnival, a rodeo, parades, barbecues and dance competitions, this festival is perfect for all ages. Music enthusiasts flock to the Texas Jazz Festival, a four-day October event that features top jazz performances on several stages. Outdoor adventurers enjoy visiting nearby Padre Island National Seashore, which is noted for its fishing, camping and windsurfing opportunities.

Padre Island National Seashore

Stretching for 113 miles along the Texas Gulf Coast, Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. The Padre Island National Seashore is located on North Padre Island, approximately 30 miles southeast of Corpus Christi. The island can be reached by car via the JFK Causeway (State Highway 358). Near the Park Entrance Station, the 3/4-mile Grasslands Nature Trail is a self-guided trail that gives visitors the opportunity to discover the interior grasslands. The park is a paradise for birds lovers particularly during spring migration

McAllen

ar winter destination for people escaping colder climates, McAllen sits on the Rio Grande River, the border between the United States and Mexico. Famed for acres of citrus groves, the city is also a great location for birdwatchers as it is situated on a major migration route. McAllen is also home to a diverse number of reptile and mammal species. Because of the year-round warm temperatures, golf is a popular activity in the area and visitors have many courses to choose from. Referred to as the square dancing capital of the world, McAllen plays host to a wide variety of activities for retirees. The blending of American and Mexican influences has led to an interesting variety of buildings and structures in McAllen. Among these is the Quinta Mazatlan, one of the largest adobe structures in Texas and the current home of the World Birding Center.

World Birding Center – Quinta Mazatlan

Quinta Mazatlan, home to the World Birding Center in McAllen, is a 1930s estate with Spanish Revival adobe architecture. The mansion is surrounded by tropical gardens that play host to an array of bird species and native plants. Address: 600 Sunset Avenue McAllen  MI  USA  78503. 1 956 688-3370 

Brownsville

The Mexican border and the Gulf of Mexico are two of the outstanding threads in the fabric of Brownsville, a Texas city that boasts natural beauty, historical attractions and a variety of traveler amenities. Birdwatching is enjoyed by thousands of avid naturalists in Brownsville each year, many of whom descend on the city during the Brownsville International Birding Festival in February. The Gladys Porter Zoo is another popular Brownsville attraction, as it is home to over 370 species of animals and 225 plant species. Children enjoy visiting the Children’s Museum of Brownsville, which features several interactive and educational exhibits. Every year the city comes alive during the Charro Days Fiesta, a week-long February event that celebrates the local Hispanic culture. Those looking for fun in the sun flock to Brownsville’s Boca Chica Beach or take the 27 mi (44 km) trek to South Padre Island.

Harlingen

Just north of Mexico and only a few miles from white sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico sits Harlingen. Thanks to the two major bird flyways that cross over it, Harlingen is home to world-renowned tropical bird watching and the Rio Grande Birding Festival. The area is a nature lover’s paradise with nearby beaches, a 40-acre (16-ha) bird sanctuary and over 45,000 acres (18,211 ha) of wildlife preserves surrounding the city. Downtown Harlingen is rich with antiques, clothing, crafts, and food, and is home to a large street-vendor market the first Saturday of every month. Car fanatics enjoy the Chevrolet Antique Car Museum while history buffs marvel at the Iwo Jima Museum, home to the original sculpture used to cast the bronze Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The warm sun, great shopping and tourist attractions in Harlingen welcome any traveler.

Rio Grande Valley Museum Harlingen

The Rio Grande Museum offers visitors many images of history and nature through temporary exhibits on topics as varied as archaeology or agriculture, custom cowboys boots or Texas wildflowers, Gulf fish or folk art from Mexico. Changing several times a year, there is often programs and craft classes as well. Address: Boxwood & Raintree South Harlingen  TX  USA  78550. 1 956 430-8500 

Iwo Jima Memorial & Museum Harlingen

The Iwo Jima Memorial features the original sculpture used to cast the bronze Marine Corp Memorial in Arlington, VA, depicting the raising of the US flag over Iwo Jima during World War II. The Museum displays many artifacts from the era as well as some from Desert Storm. Address: 320 Iwo Jima Boulevard Harlingen  TX  USA  78550. 1 956 412-2207 

Kingsville, TX

Recognized as the birthplace of the American ranching industry, Kingsville is located on purchased land that was once a part of the Ricon De Santa Gertrudis Spanish Land Grant. Captain Richard E. King developed the land in 1853, and also established the King Ranch. This ranch is still in operation today, and visitors are invited to observe and experience both the history of ranching and of the area through its visitor center. The city’s natural environment, characterized by shorelines, brush and arid deserts, has created a diverse habitat for over 450 species of birds. Bird watching activities are available throughout the city at Dick Kleberg Park, Texas A&M; University Campus, King Ranch and the Santa Gertrudis Creek Bird Sanctuary. Visitors can best experience Kingsville’s diverse history, culture and residents at the Wildlife & Birding Festival, the Parade of Lights and the Kingsville Moon Festival.

Victoria, TX

Victoria is known as the Crossroads of South Texas since it is located roughly equal distances from San Antonio, Houston, and Corpus Christi. As the second oldest city in Texas, Victoria continues to boast an Old West charm, which is evident when visiting De Leon Plaza – the city’s original town square. Besides the western charm, the city is also known for its premier parks, attractions, and annual festivals. A popular hangout in Victoria is Riverside Park, which encompasses 562 acres and hosts a 27-hole golf course, an expansive rose garden and the Texas Zoo. The zoo is an attraction that should not be missed, as it showcases over 700 species of animals native to Texas, including the armadillo, river otter, and prairie dog. Every June the city is abuzz during the eight-day Victoria Bach Festival, which features orchestral, choral and chamber music performances by renowned musicians.

Rockport, TX

Rockport is a quintessential Texas Gulf Coast city, offering a wide array of beaches, seafood and ocean-view accommodations for visitors to enjoy. Outdoor activities are paramount for most guests and few will be disappointed, with fishing, boating and other aquatic attractions readily available. Aside from the number of water-based activities, the Annual Whooping Crane Strut, a perennial running race, draws athletes from around the country each spring. Birdwatching is another popular activity in Rockport as it is on the migratory path of several species of birds. For culture, the Rockport Art Center provides a gallery space that represents the artists who live in the area and complements the annual Rockport Art Festival each July. Seafood lovers rejoice in the wide variety of shrimp and other fresh seafood available at the local restaurants. A history of local sea-going vessels and the sailors that piloted them can be found at the Texas Maritime Museum, offering photographs and a selection of artifacts that have been pulled from the ocean.

South Padre Island

Located in the Gulf of Mexico off the East Coast of Texas, South Padre Island offers visitors a number of beaches, fishing, boating, and other water-based activities. The proximity of the ocean allows for such attractions as the Dolphin and Nature Research Center, an observatory that allows visitors hands-on experience with bottle-nosed dolphins and other sea creatures. For a different thrill, Gravity Park is an amusement facility that boasts the world’s tallest reverse bungee, a trampoline, go-carts and more. In the spring and fall, wildlife enthusiasts flock to South Padre Island in search of rare migratory birds and the other fauna native to the area. Tours can be arranged through companies such as Nature Adventure Tours, which offer workshops on the local environment. These attractions are bolstered by various accommodations, shops, and services that cater to guests on the island. One unique way to experience the Gulf Coast is by horseback, something that the Island Equestrian Center specializes in.

South Padre Island Dolphin and Nature Research Center

The South Padre Island Dolphin and Nature Research Center features hands-on touch tanks, dolphin exhibits and daily presentations with the dolphins at the center.
Address: 5009 Padre Blvd South Padre Island  TX  USA