9 Corpus Christi Beaches For Every Type Of Texas Traveler

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When it comes to ways to play in Texas, it’s hard to beat a day at a beach in Corpus Christi. Why spend a fortune on a tropical resort, when South Texas beaches are closer, more affordable, and offer spectacular views. You can even camp by the water, with sunrises and sunsets that reserve your day.

So what’s the best spot along the breezy Gulf Coast? Do you want solitude or culture? Do you fancy water sports, a romantic getaway or simply sunbathing? With over 100 miles of sandy shoreline to choose from, we’ve put together a guide to help you choose the best Corpus Christi beach to visit on your next South Texas getaway.

North Beach

Just over the Harbor Bridge from downtown Corpus Christi, North Beach will captivate the whole family with its great attractions.

Flamingos at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi’s North Beach.

Robin Soslow

Visit the USS Lexington, a WWII aircraft carrier that’s home to an F-14 Tomcat you’ll recognize from the movie “Top Gun.” The battleship also offers ghost tours and escape rooms. Just steps away, the Texas State Aquarium is home to huge tanks of sharks and other fish, habitats with otters and flamingos, touch tanks with stingrays and an underwater bridge to watch bottlenose dolphins glide under the waves . Secrets of North Beach locals: You can walk and bike along the 3-mile paved boardwalk and fish from the piers. Facilities include toilets and showers.

Find it: 201 Surfside Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78402

McGee Beach

In downtown Corpus Christi on the bay, McGee Beach is near restaurants, hotels, microbreweries, thrift stores, music, and attractions like the Texas Surf Museum. Swim with the family in calm waters, play volleyball on the sand, visit the playground or picnic on the beautifully designed seawall. There are restrooms, beach gear rentals, bikes, scooters and even Surrey bikes and jet skis and free parking along the seawall and in the lots. Driving is not permitted on this beach.

A beautifully designed historic seawall faces the bay at McGee Beach, a family beach in downtown Corpus Christi.

A beautifully designed historic seawall faces the bay at McGee Beach, a family beach in downtown Corpus Christi.

Robin Soslow

For a workout, jog or bike along the nearly 9-mile Corpus Christi Bay Trail. And just north of McGee Beach, visit the bayside memorial honoring Tejano superstar Selena.

Find it: 402 S. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78401


Barrier Island Beaches

Cross the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway from Corpus Christi to the beaches of Mustang Island and Padre Island. Each beach offers cool Texas attractions with free or cheap access, but parking on the sand requires a $12 permit, valid for one year, and available at many gas stations and grocery stores; see locations here. Also, check out this handy guide to beach parking permits before you go.

Mustang Island

Mustang Island State Park ($5 entrance fee) awaits with miles of clean sand for sunbathing, beach walks, picnicking and dolphin watching. This locals choice for beach camping is convenient for downtown Corpus Christi and Port Aransas. Stay at one of 48 campsites with water and electricity or 50 primitive sites with drive-up access from $20 a night. Facilities include hot toilets and showers, as well as shaded picnic shelters, rinse showers and portable toilets at the beach.

Mustang Island State Park has miles of sandy beach for beachgoers.

Mustang Island State Park has miles of sandy beach for beachgoers.

Robin Soslow

Join ranger-guided birding trips or follow the 20-mile Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail, where you’ll experience some of the best fishing in Texas.

Do you prefer comfort at the campsite? Outside of the state park, choose eco-friendly beachfront accommodations. Lively Beach offers fully-equipped condos with rooftop viewing decks, a large pool, and a beachfront boardwalk.

Waterfront spots for volleyball, dining, sailing, and sunset celebrations are just a short drive west on Sunset Island.

Find it: 9394 State Highway 361, Mile Markers 103-195, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Packery North Beach

Also called JP Luby Surf Park, the strong offshore winds of North Packery Beach attract surfers, kiteboarders, wakeboarders and jet skiers. Here, two surf-ready piers separate Mustang Island and Padre Island, and there are designated swimming areas for lots of water fun. Camp in a tent on the beach or stop at an electric campsite behind the sand dunes. Facilities include picnic tables, grills, public baths with restrooms, rental chairs and umbrellas.

A view of the pier at North Packery Beach in Corpus Christi.

A view of the pier at North Packery Beach in Corpus Christi.

Robin Soslow

Popular with partiers, this beach allows for campfires and faces stunning sunsets. Right by the beach is the County Park Boardwalk nature trail, wildlife sanctuary, and boat launch.

Find it: 14813 Highway 361, Mileposts 195-208, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Packery South Channel Beach

At South Packery Channel Beach, surfers ride the waves kicked up by the pier and fishermen cast off the moorings. Campfires and camping are permitted, and you can walk, bike, and skate along the Padre Island Seawall, which stretches south to Whitecap Beach.

Find: 14802 Windward Drive, Mile Markers 210-213, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Michael J. Ellis Beach

Halfway along the seawall at Michael J. Ellis Beach, watch the sunrise, walk along the shore or seawall, swim, play volleyball, picnic, bike, and surf. The mood on this beach is calm as driving is not allowed along this beach.

Girl and seagulls on the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Girl and seagulls on the beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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Park in the free lot and walk down the ramp to the beach or take beach access road 3A to the water. Amenities include restrooms, showers, an ADA ramp, beach gear rentals, and many hotels. Campfires are also allowed.

Find it: 14926 Windward Dr., Mile Markers 213-219, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Whitecap Beach

At the south end of the North Padre Island seawall, this pretty Gulf Coast beach allows driving on part of the beach, while the beach in front of the seawall is pedestrian-only.

Horseback riding on Whitecap Beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Horseback riding on Whitecap Beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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The name Whitecap explains why surfers flock here. Go solo or in company, read or stroll or go horseback riding, there is something for everyone here. Campfires and camping are also permitted, and visitors have access to restrooms, showers, and an ADA ramp.

Find it: 14802 Whitecap Blvd., Mile Markers 221-227, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Padre Balli Surf Park

At Padre Balli Surf Park, surfers catch waves near the iconic Bob Hall Pier, wildlife biologists patrol for sea turtles, and locals welcome visitors to this family-friendly beach. Rentals include fishing gear and golf carts to navigate the area.

Bob Hall Pier at Padre Balli Park in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Bob Hall Pier at Padre Balli Park in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Jennifer Coulter/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Camping is easy here with 100 paved campgrounds suitable for RVs and 12 hardtop tent areas with electric and water hookups. Camping fees include use of public baths and Wi-Fi access. Campfires on the beach and camping are also permitted and amenities include picnic tables, cabanas, restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, ADA accessibility and restaurants.

Find it: 15820 Park Road 22, Mileposts 230-235, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Padre Island National Waterfront

Welcome to the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. Camp by the Gulf and with 4WD vehicles cruise 66 miles of pristine shoreline. Enjoy the tranquility at the edge of waves, dunes and meadows, cooling sea breezes and star-filled night skies.

Malaquite Beach (where you’ll find the park’s visitor center) is closed to vehicles, making it a relaxing place to play, sunbathe, and swim. Climb to the observation deck for great views, barbecue by a shaded picnic table, or borrow beach wheelchairs from the visitor center for free. At Malaquite Campground, semi-primitive RV and tent sites in the dunes face the gulf.

A baby seat turtle release at Padre Island National Seashore on Malaquite Beach.

A baby seat turtle release at Padre Island National Seashore on Malaquite Beach.

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Padre Island is a paradise for Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles and 380 species of birds. Birdwatching is best here in the spring and fall; look for the bird blind on the marsh side. During the summer months, biologists release sea turtle hatchlings from Malaquite Beach. For details on participating in a sea turtle release, call the Hatchling Hotline at 361-949-7163.

Bird Island Basin offers a boat launch, RV camping, and parking. Among America’s most popular spots for windsurfing, it’s also a great place to paddle, bird watch, and fish. On the prairie nature trail, visitors can even spot animals from deer to ghost crabs.

The Padre Island National Seashore is a popular place to camp on the beach, which stretches nearly 70 miles along the Gulf of Mexico in southern Texas.

The Padre Island National Seashore is a popular place to camp on the beach, which stretches nearly 70 miles along the Gulf of Mexico in southern Texas.

Robin Soslow

The park entrance fee includes the free RV and tent at the northern edge of the National Seashore. There is a nominal fee for camping at Malaquite Beach and Bird Island Basin.

Find it: 20301 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418



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