12 Top Tourist Attractions in Corpus Christi & Easy Day Trips

Tourist Attractions in Corpus Christi

12 Top Tourist Attractions in Corpus Christi & Easy Day Trips

The town of Corpus Christi, on a cove north of Brownsville, has grown in popularity over the years and is now one of the most visited tourist destinations in Texas. Much of its appeal is due to its beautiful coastal location with miles of beaches, important conservation areas and rich flora and fauna. The area was finalized after the arrival of Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda in 1519, the man responsible for giving the pretty tropical bay its Latin name of Corpus Christi (literally translated as the “body of Christ”). Today, this attractive city is just as well called the Texas Riviera, and for good reason: plenty of fine hotels and resorts, along with many exciting attractions and things to do,

1 Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island, south of Corpus Christi, is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world, stretching about 70 miles from end to end. It includes 130,000 hectares of beach, dunes and grassland habitats. Its location along the Central Flyway – an important migratory route for birds – makes it a birdwatcher’s paradise, home to 350 different species. Nearly half of all North American migratory bird species can be seen here at certain times throughout the year. It is also a haven for marine life such as sea turtles, including endangered species being reintroduced to the area. Best approached from the Malaquite Visitor Center, it’s a wonderful place to visit for a few hours or even as part of an overnight camping trip. Also worth a visit is the beautiful five-mile beach at Mustang Island State Park , a 3,954-acre park south of Port Aransas.

Adres: 20420 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.nps.gov/pais/index.htm

Read also: San Antonio

2 Editor’s Pick The Blue Ghost: USS Lexington

The Blue Ghost: USS Lexington
The Blue Ghost: USS Lexington

Commissioned in 1943 and a key player in the Pacific theater of World War II, the massive aircraft carrier USS Lexington should be part of any visit to Corpus Christi. Now a naval museum, “The Blue Ghost” was so named for her dark blue camouflage and the Japanese claims to have sunk her to make her appear in action elsewhere. Tour highlights include numerous vintage aircraft; a close-up view of the command’s deck and quarters; a huge collection of detailed scale models, simulators and games; and the thrilling Fighter Pilot3D movie. Guided tours are available, and if you’ve got the stamina, go for the four-hour Hard Hat Tour, which takes you into the bowels of this massive ship.

Adres: 914 N. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.usslexington.com

3 Texas Aquarium

Texas aquarium
Texas aquarium

The Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi offers information and fun displays related to the rich aquatic life of the Gulf of Mexico. Of particular interest is the Living Shores Exhibit with displays related to Laguna Madre (a body of water in the heart of Corpus Christi) that includes seahorse and crab exhibits, along with one of the largest touch pools in Texas. The most popular display is Dolphin Bay , a giant 400,000-gallon exhibit that houses Atlantic bottlenose dolphins complete with an underwater observation area, while the Hawn Wild Flight Theater hosts avian acrobatics of various birds of prey. For the younger children there is also a fun splash park and a fossil dig. It is also interestingCorpus Christi Zoo with its exotic animals and plants and petting zoo.

Adres: 2710 N. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official Site: https://texasstateaquarium.org/

4 South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center Care_SMC / photo modified
South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center Care_SMC / photo modified

Consisting of a first-class Orchid House and fine hibiscus garden, the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is a pleasant way to enjoy nature’s colorful floral contribution. Set in 180 acres, it’s also popular for its nature trails, where you’ll see numerous species of trees and shrubs, along with native grasses, herbs, cacti, and if you’re lucky, animals like deer and coyotes. Another wildlife park worth visiting is the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge with its pier, hiking and biking trails, and picnic areas.

Address: 8545 St. Staples Street, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.stxbot.org

5 The Art Museum of South Texas

The Art Museum of South Texas Terry Ross / photo modified
The Art Museum of South Texas Terry Ross / photo modified

One of the newer cultural attractions in Corpus Christi, the Art Museum of South Texas is housed in a beautiful modern facility on the city’s waterfront. The facility offers a wide variety of exhibitions and educational programs focused on the region’s multicultural heritage, and hosts numerous lectures and workshops, in addition to theatrical and musical performances. Another major arts facility is the Corpus Christi Arts Center , home to seven galleries, local artist studios, along with educational programs and on-site dining.

Adres: 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.artmuseumofsouthtexas.org

6 Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History Terry Ross / photo modified
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History Terry Ross / photo modified

As much fun for adults as it is for kids, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History features a variety of exhibits related to the cultural and natural history of South Texas. Specific attractions worth seeing include shipwreck, a section for children and local reptiles. Also of interest is the museum’s wonderful collection of old carriages, displays related to the culture of the area’s indigenous peoples, and a look at the ecology of this vast coastal region. Fun educational programs are also available, including excursions to the surrounding countryside and nature reserves.

Address: 1900 N. Chaparral Street, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: https://www.ccmuseum.com/

7 Selena Museum

Selena Museum Terry Ross / photo modified
Selena Museum Terry Ross / photo modified

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez is a beloved figure in Corpus Christi, both a source of pride and sadness. This best-selling Latina singer was famous in her lifetime for her success as the queen of Tejano music, but her life was cut short at the age of 23 when she was shot and killed. Selena’s final resting place is in Seaside Memorial Park, and a local artist has memorialized her in a life-sized bronze statue that sits on the seawall, aptly titled Mirador de la Flor(Overlook of the Flower). Fans still visit the memorial, and her family has maintained the Selena Museum in Corpus Christi where she lived and died. Exhibits include stories about her life; a reproduction of her recording studio; costumes she wore on stage; awards; and other personal items, including her Porsche.

Adres: 5410 Leopard Street, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.selenaforever.com

8 Bob Hall Pier

Bob Hall Pier
Bob Hall Pier

Located on Padre Island in Padre Balli Park, Bob Hall Pier extends 1,240 feet into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There is a small fee to use the pier. You can simply walk and enjoy the view and the fresh sea air or join the many fishermen. Due to its extreme length, those fishing from the pier can catch deep-water fish without having to enter a boat, so tourists see an abundance of people fishing for the catch of the day, as well as plenty of vendors selling tackle and bait. For those who need lessons or don’t have luggage space for a pole and reel, the Tackle Loaner program is a convenient way for tourists to enjoy the experience. The rest of this 400-acre park is a popular place to spend the day sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. Facilities also include a bathhouse,

Address: 15820 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, Texas

9 Texas Surf Museum

Texas Jay Phagan Surf Museum / photo modified
Texas Jay Phagan Surf Museum / photo modified

When the average person thinks of surfing, Texas is probably one of the last locations that comes to mind. In fact, the Texas coasts along the Gulf of Mexico are very popular with surfers, and the Texas Surf Museum proudly chronicles the state’s own surfing history, as well as the long history of the sport worldwide. Permanent exhibits include hundreds of photos, surf gear, interesting facts, a movie, and even a bench made from surfboards. The museum also features multiple rotating exhibits that explore a wide variety of topics, including cultural aspects of the sport, the physics of water sports, and marine life. The museum is open daily and admission is free.

Adres: 309A N. Water Street, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.texassurfmuseum.org

10 Off Corpus Christi Bay Trail

By Corpus Christi Bay Trail
By Corpus Christi Bay Trail

A great way to see all that this beautiful coastal city has to offer is to take a walk or bike ride along the Corpus Christi Bay Trail. Stretching nearly nine miles from end to end, this extraordinary trail network is ideal for sightseeing, passing many of the city’s top attractions, including the Museum of Science and History and the Art Museum of South Texas . Along the way, you’ll come across plenty of things to see and do, including marinas, concert halls, a university campus, and six parks with beautiful views of the water. It’s also a great spot for bird watchers, with brown pelicans and falcons sightings are frequent.

11 Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

The 70,000-acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, along the Texas Gulf coast is located about 50 miles north of Corpus Christi. Established as a winter home for endangered whooping cranes, the refuge is also home to alligators, snakes and countless other bird species that live among vast mud flats, salt marshes, grasslands and freshwater ponds. The refuge also has easy walking trails and a scenic, one-way road that offers easy access and plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the views, including a lookout tower with a range for bird watchers.

Adres: 1 Wildlife Circle, Austwell, Texas

Official Site: www.fws.gov/refuge/aransas/

12 Historic Homes: Centennial and Sidbury

Built in 1849, Centennial House (also known as the Britton-Evans House ) is the oldest building in Corpus Christi and was also once used as a Civil War hospital. Now fully restored and furnished with antiques and artifacts from ancient times, this fine old house is open to the public for tours. Another old house of note is Sidbury House , built in 1893. It is the only surviving example of Victorian architecture in Corpus Christi, notable for its irregular outlines, large verandahs, steep roofs and balconies with detailed woodwork.

Adres: 411 N. Upper Broadway, Corpus Christi, Texas

Official site: www.ccahs.com

Where to Stay in Corpus Christi for Sightseeing

The best place to stay in Corpus Christi is the North Beaches area, where you’ll find a long stretch of beautiful sand and one of the city’s main attractions, the USS Lexington. Just south of the bridge to downtown is the Texas State Aquarium and the Art Museum of South Texas. Alternatively, another good option further south is the trendy and vibrant Marina Arts District, with restaurants, shops and all manner of entertainment options. Below are some highly rated hotels in convenient locations:

  • Luxury Hotels: The Omni Corpus Christi Hotel is the premier luxury hotel in town and is located on the water in the Marina Arts District. Rooms have a balcony overlooking Corpus Christi Bay. The Staybridge Suites also offers rooms with a kitchen, an outdoor pool and laundry facilities and offers free light meals and beverages Monday through Wednesday. In the same area, and perfect for families or an extended stay, is the Residence Inn. This hotel offers oversized rooms with a kitchen and separate dining area along with an outdoor BBQ area.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: The mid-range hotels are mainly clustered along Highway 358 several miles south of downtown. The new SpringHill Suites, with its outdoor pool, are a good option for families, offering large rooms with mini-fridges and microwaves. Featuring a saltwater pool, the new Hampton Inn & Suites is located in the same area on a quiet side street, steps from a number of chain restaurants and close to a shopping mall. Close to La Palmera Shopping Center, the nearby Fairfield Inn & Suites offers well-appointed guestrooms and an outdoor pool.
  • Budget Hotels: Ideal for families, the colorful Hotel De Ville in North Beach offers beautiful views, a beachfront restaurant, and a Ferris wheel that guests can ride for free. Also in the North Beaches area, the newly renovated Sea Shell Inn Motel is just steps from the beach and has basic rooms at a low price.

Day trips from Corpus Christi

Day trips from Corpus Christi
Day trips from Corpus Christi

Numerous fun attractions and areas of outstanding natural beauty are within driving distance of Corpus Christi. One of the most popular drives is to the Rio Grande Valley, near the border with Mexico 80 miles south, where you’ll find the Art and Heritage Museum Harlingen (formerly the Rio Grande Valley Museum), which includes a collection of historic buildings, including the house of the city’s founder, the Paso Real Stagecoach Inn, and the city’s original hospital, along with collections of historic artifacts, documents, and photographs.

Other day trips of interest include the short drive north to the small towns of Fulton and Rockport on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail . Here you’ll find Fulton Mansion State Historic Park , a three-story Victorian mansion built in 1877, and the Rockport Center for the Arts housed in a 19th-century mansion and home to numerous visual and performing arts productions. Rockport is also home to the Texas Maritime Museum with its displays related to the state’s maritime history, from Spanish exploration to the contemporary search for offshore oil and gas.

Read also:

Uncovering the Hidden Gems of Texas

Beaches in Texas

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