Things to do in Corpus Christi: 8 reasons to travel

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From the sandy shores of the Gulf to all things Selena.

Landlocked cities like Houston, Dallas, and Austin may have plenty of freshwater and man-made bathing spots, but no lake or river can compare to the versatility and vastness of the Texas coastline. Corpus Christi is a large coastal city that lives up to its reputation as a top destination for beaches, fishing, and all that fun in the sun. Add a plethora of museums, historic sites, bars, and restaurants, and it’s hard to be bored in this sparkling seaside city. Without further ado, here are eight great reasons to visit Corpus Christi.

Go to the beach, duh

Texas’ long Gulf Coast is home to endless sandy shores, and Corpus Christi is home to some of the state’s most popular. Major destinations include Mustang Island State Park, Whitecap Beach and Padre Island National Seaside, which spans approximately 70 miles of windy coastline. Whether you’re building elaborate sandcastles, wading in the water, or fishing on a pier, Corpus has you covered.

Mustang Island State Park stands out for its long stretch of family beaches with nearly 100 designated campsites, half of which are equipped with water and electricity for as little as $ 20 a night. Located right across from Corpus Christi Bay, the island offers the perfect mix of waves and wildlife, making it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts, surfers, and bird watchers.

Mirador de la Flor
Mirador de la Flor | Flickr / Terry Ross

Do “anything for Selenas” at the Tejano Icon Museum and Memorial

At the peak of her career, the late superstar Selena Quintanilla was making history as one of the most successful female artists to ever make her debut on the traditional Tejano music charts. The exceptionally talented hypermarket met its tragic fate in 1995, but its legacy lives on and is widely celebrated in Corpus Christi, its home and final resting place.

The Selena Museum, owned and operated by Selena’s father Abraham Quintanilla, includes a close examination of what made the singer so iconic. The museum houses a number of Selena’s personal effects, including a collection of her legendary stage outfits, as well as authentic memorabilia like many awards and plaques received both in life and posthumously.

Another popular Selena site is the Mirador de la Flor, a commemorative statue bearing the effigy of the late star. Located near the sea wall of Corpus Christi Bay, the memorial includes Paseo De La Flor, a walkway leading to the water.

Embark on an educational trip to the Museum of Science and History

For curious travelers, Corpus Christi Science and History Museum serves a fun and immersive environment suitable for visitors of all ages. Exhibits feature traditional dioramas as well as interactive activities like in the HEB Science Center, which is designed for ages three and up and has all kinds of indoor and outdoor play and education areas covering topics such as l cell anatomy and the function of atoms. His latest exhibition, “Prehistoric Predators and Prey,” focuses on extinct creatures from land, air and sea, including the gigantic oceanic megalodon, fortunately long extinct.

Become an expert in all things aquatic at the Texas State Aquarium

There is no shortage of marine life Texas State Aquarium. Located next to bustling North Beach, this aquarium has 18 different exhibits spanning huge aquariums filled with scaly swimmers from all over the world, as well as a selection of recreated habitats like Swamp Tales, which features wetland species. , and Tortuga Cay, home to a group of cheerful sea turtles. Head to Dolphin Bay for the daily introductions of resident dolphins Kai, Shadow, Liko, and Schooner, or if you prefer to spot them in their free time, visit the bay’s underwater observation platform to get an in-depth glimpse of those big noses frolicking under the waves.

Climb aboard the historic USS Lexington

You don’t have to be an army enthusiast to be impressed with the USS Lexington, a WWII aircraft carrier that has become a destination of choice for outsiders passing through Corpus. The transporter became a permanent fixture off the North Beach coast in 1992, and since completing its transition into a museum, it has been visited by over 8 million people. Explore the ship on your own or take a guided tour to get a full feel for the historical significance of the enormous ship. If you enjoy the spookier aspects of visiting a real-life relic, the museum also offers ghost tours covering tales of paranormal activity said to have been observed on and under the bridge.

Cultivate yourself at the South Texas Museum of Art

Art lovers will be seduced by the many offers of the South Texas Art Museum, a subsidiary of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The museum itself features an aesthetic exterior, from well-maintained grounds to a pyramid-shaped roof, but the visuals don’t end there. It’s easy to spend an afternoon wandering through the various galleries littered with countless classical and contemporary works. Current exhibits include the permanent Spanish Colonial Gallery and the most recently installed Luster, a selection of hyperrealistic automobile paintings. For the kids, be sure to stop by the Artcade, an interactive space where toddlers play, learn, and create their own masterpieces.

Get to know the local flora and fauna

the Oso Bay Wetland Conservation and Learning Center is part of the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department, and while it has all the hallmarks of a standard park, the peaceful green expanses are just the tip of the iceberg here. For starters, there are several miles of trails traversing four different habitats: mesquite thorn scrub, freshwater ponds, wetlands, and an open prairie. Each section is home to a diverse population of plant and animal species, including turtles, insects, and coastal birds, making the reserve a great place for bird watchers and nature lovers.

Likewise, the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center holds its place with a unique range of plants and wildlife. Highlights include an iguana house, orchid observatory, and hummingbird garden.

Hop bar along the beach

Like most major cities, Corpus Christi is home to a vibrant nightlife scene packed with live music venues, nightclubs, cocktail bars, breweries, and dives ready to have a good time for locals and tourists alike. Microbreweries like The Lorelei brewery. and Nueces Brewing Co. are great places to start the night, and if going to the club is more of your jam, head to the Bay Area and find a place to rock that money maker within walking distance of the beach. Our choices ? Club Rio and Pure offer a two-iron experience fueled by hip-hop rhythms and Tejano jams, Club 54 for DJ and disco ball vibes, and River of whiskey for a hell of a time.

If posting to one destination is more your thing, Water street market at your back. Located a few blocks from Corpus Christi Marina, this outdoor entertainment center features a restaurant, oyster bar, sushi room, food truck AND club surfing. Party goers can feast on fresh seafood, open a few cold ones, and see a live band that same night at a unique party store.

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Polly Anna Rocha is a contributor to Thrillist.

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