As the largest coastal city in Texas and the gateway to the wildly popular Padre Island, Corpus Christi sees thousands of travelers and revelers pass through on their way to local beaches and other area destinations every year. The city itself is home to the floating USS Lexington Museum, a sparkling bay front area, the Texas State Aquarium, and other attractions suitable for kids. By visiting Corpus Christi, you can enjoy the excitement of Padre Island, including water sports, while immersing yourself in a unique cultural experience on Texas' southern shores.
Along the city's impressive bay front area, you'll find a series of compact, gazebo-like structures called miradors. Each one contains a plaque commemorating an important event in the city's history, so this is a great way to learn the story of Corpus Christi while taking in its gorgeous waterfront. As an added bonus, the miradors provide shelter from the sun—an invaluable asset in the summer.
Corpus Christi has a long, proud tradition of naval aviation, and this incredible decommissioned aircraft carrier is a tool for teaching visitors about it. Nicknamed the “Blue Ghost” after seemingly being sunk during WWII and then being spotted intact by the Japanese military, the massive Lexington can hardly be missed nowadays. The on-site museum provides in-depth information about World War II and the Lexington's role in the conflict, and it also helps visitors connect the dots between Corpus Christi and the events that unfolded around the world during that pivotal time.
Of the many notable exhibits at this state-of-the-art aquarium, Islands of Steel is among the most educational and fascinating. It recreates the habitat that develops around an oil platform to provide a glimpse into the way humans affect sea creatures and ocean environments. There's a lot more to the aquarium than that, including the Floating Phantoms exhibit, which boasts an 800-gallon tank with jellyfish and sea nettles. Most species in this exhibit are found in the nearby Gulf of Mexico, providing insight into the area's natural environment off the coast of Corpus Christi before you plunge into the water yourself.
Because it's the longest undeveloped barrier island in the country, North Padre Island provides the perfect setting for outdoor adventures of both the serene and more active varieties. From otherworldly bird-watching to delightfully secluded beaches, the seashore is a must-see for anyone who visits Corpus Christi. Note that the majority of the island is only accessible via four-wheel-drive vehicles. If you don't arrive in Corpus Christi with your own, don't worry; you can rent one easily in the city. Take your time driving along the sand to fully appreciate the pristine splendor of Texas' Gulf Coast.
With its location within the city limits, Corpus Christi International Airport (CRP) is a convenient option for air travelers and is generally the airport used when flying to the city. San Antonio International Airport (SAT) is also a viable option.
Interstates 37 and 77 deliver car travelers to the city and the coast, and there's a Greyhound station downtown for those who arrive via bus. The nearest Amtrak station is located in San Antonio.
Corpus Christi is blessed with year-round warm, sunny weather. Temperate but strong breezes from the Gulf help to keep the humidity in check, and area beaches are always there if the heat becomes tough to bear.
If you'd like to explore the city and surrounding areas without massive crowds, you should avoid visiting in March, which is when spring break revelers descend on the region en masse. As with any beach community, hotel prices tend to peak during the summer. That being said, if you'd like to splurge and enjoy finer amenities on your vacation or corporate trip, you can't go wrong with a Corpus Christi beach hotel.
Corpus Christi is a unique location for the sprawling state of Texas. Though one of the larger cities in the state, it is most easily defined as a beach town, and the city's duality may be its biggest appeal.