|Corpus Christi, Texas
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Christi is a major deep-water port and one of Texas' s most popular seacoast
playground cities. Known simply as "Corpus" to Texans, the city has retained its
small town friendliness and charm throughout its years of expansion.
It is located on the Gulf of Mexico in South
Texas, is halfway between Houston and Brownsville.
Visitors will find
gorgeous ocean views, and many activities centered around beaches and water
sports: fishing, sailing, windsurfing, and just swimming and relaxing on the
The two-mile sea
wall running through the heart of the business district was constructed in such
a way as to open the city to the Bay rather than to form a barricade. Steps lead
down to the water and to the popular "T" head docks where pleasure boats tie
up. This very attractive waterfront was designed in the late 1930's by Guzon
Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore.
North of downtown,
over the bridge, is the site of the USS Lexington, a floating naval museum, as
well as Texas State Aquarium, and extensive park and picnic areas. Scenic bay
front cruises provide an orientation to all that the waterfront offers. A
favorite with children is the ferryboat ride into the ship channel to watch the
dolphins frolic in their natural habitat.
The Beach Loop is a
scenic drive that takes about an hour with no stops (if the ferry isn't too
busy). It is wise, however, to allow a few hours for browsing the shops, walking
the beach, swimming in the surf, and enjoying the view.
Begin the Loop in
Downtown Corpus Christi, then cruise along Ocean Drive savoring the gorgeous
view of the bay. Turn at Ennis Joslin Road to reach South Padre Island Drive (S.P.I.D.)
also known as Route 358, and turn east. You will soon reach a causeway which
meanders up and down over scenic bridges and takes you to Padre Island National
Seashore. Turn left on Route 361 (a paved road that runs through the middle of
the island). There are several Beach Access Roads along the way.
Route 361 takes you
into Port Aransas, which is the deep-sea fishing capital of Texas. Gulf waters
contain an abundance of king mackerel, red snapper and pompano. The Great Texas
Coastal Birding Trail offers birders plenty of sightings in this area year
around. The sunny beaches, eclectic island atmosphere, funky shops and waterside
restaurants of Port Aransas appeal to just about everyone. It is almost
impossible to drive through without stopping for an hour or two.
Aransas, you can drive onto a ferry for a great ride. If you get out of your car
on the ferry, you might see some porpoise following behind. Continuing on Route
361, you will reach Aransas Pass, known as the "shrimp capital of the world",
then Gregory, Portland, and back to Corpus Christi.
If time permits,
take a side trip along Route 35 to the sleepy little town of Rockport, the area
"artist community". There you will find a wide variety of stores featuring local
art, paintings, seashells, and beachwear. If you continue to Fulton, you will
pass the Fulton Mansion, a Texas landmark which has periodic tours through the
For an entertaining
and enjoyable meal, stop at Boiling Pot Seafood which serves huge pots of boiled
crabs, shrimp, corn, and potatoes. They will ceremoniously deposit all of this
in the middle of your table, put giant bibs on everyone, and hand out wooden
mallets for cracking the shellfish. Open from lunch to late evening, seven days
a week, they feature blues bands on the weekends, but the process of pounding
and cracking your way through the meal is entertainment enough!
Texas is cattle
country and no city captures the roping, wrangling, ranching spirit of the old
west like Kingsville. Just south of Corpus Christi, Kingsville is the city that
grew up around the famous King Ranch. Bigger than the state of Rhode Island, the
King Ranch is one of the largest (825,000 acres) and oldest working cattle
ranches in the world. Guided tours are offered at the ranch and its history is
also preserved in exhibits at the Conner Museum at Texas A&M
The Corpus Christi
area is a shopper's paradise. From malls and retail centers, to antique shops,
souvenir centers and galleries, there are many days of shopping pleasure to be
status as one of the breeziest (warm breezes) cities in the nation makes it a
prime vacation spot for those who love the wind and waves. Each spring, the
city hosts the annual U.S. Open Windsurfing Regatta. In addition, weekly
sailboat regattas are held on Wednesday evening all year round.
The variety of
waterways, from open Gulf beaches to protected coves, make the Corpus Christi
area attractive to beginners and experts alike. In keeping with the city's image
of maintaining glistening waterways, Corpus Christi's Water Garden at Bayfront
Arts and Science Park sparkles for visitors who see, hear, and touch the
garden's water. Some 150 fountains form the nucleus of the park, which is
lighted at night.
downtown area provides visitors with an array of stores, restaurants, and
nightlife. The center of activity downtown is the Water Street Market, a
collection of places to dine, shop, and then relax with a cool drink and evening
These are just a
few of the unforgettable sights and sounds of Corpus Christi. How can anyone
resist a visit to this Sparkling City by the Sea?