As Texas’ biggest beach town, Corpus Christi has so much to offer its visitors. Home to over 300,000 people there is little this town is lacking.
The city sits on the Gulf of Mexico and was founded in 1519 by the Spanish explorer, Alonso Álvarez de Pineda. He named the city Corpus Christi which directly translates to “Body of Christ”. He discovered it on the Christian holiday “Corpus Christi” making it an easy choice when naming his newfound land.
The city of Corpus Christi brings a mix of art, history, outdoor activities, and a metropolitan hub to the surrounding towns. You will find something here for every kind of traveler, rather you are looking to catch some rays at one of the many beaches or explore the USS Lexington and dive into some good ole Texas history.
Here are 31 things to do in Corpus Christi, so grab your beach towels, walking shoes, and let’s head down to the Texas coast with this travel guide.
Visit Texas Surf Museum
When you think of Texas, surfing isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. However, some dedicated surfers are trying to change that. Corpus Christi is home to the Texas Surf Museum. This museum represents surfers who are actively catching waves, how the sport came to life, and welcoming others to join in.
The owners of the museum wanted to create a space for the history of surfing and inspire those around the area to give it a try. This museum is free to visit and is a good way to spend a few hours whether you are an avid surfer or have never even tried.
If you love birding then Corpus Christi should be high on your list of destinations. Nominated as America’s Birdiest city for 10 years, Corpus Christi is the best place to go birding. It is located right in the middle of North America, being the perfect place for migration from North to South as well as East to West.
Regardless of the season, there are many birding activities going on throughout the year. Attend The Hummingbird Celebration in the fall or the annual Birdiest Festival in America in the spring.
Some of the best birding sites in the city are Blucher Park, Rose Hill Cemetery, and Hans A. and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge.
Hit Bay Trail
Looking for a way to see the city and get some exercise? Corpus Christi’s Bay Trail is one of the easiest ways to hit all the major attractions like the Art Museum of South Texas, Museum of Science and History, and Corpus Christi Marina all while getting some fresh air.
The trail is 8.9 miles long and follows the coast and it is concrete making it perfect for walking, jogging, biking, and even skating. Venture off the designated trail to find some good hikes or stop at 1 of the 8 parks along the route. This is one of the best free things to do in Corpus Christi.
Historical Houses in Heritage Park
One of my favorite free things to do in Corpus Christi is to visit all the historical homes in Heritage Park.
Start your self-guided walking tour at the Cultural Center at 1581 N. Chaparral, you will be able to tour the Galván House, Courtyard, and Lytton Memorial Rose Garden.
From there you can make your way to the other 12 homes that make up Heritage Park. While many of these homes have been moved from their original locations, they are all still the original structures.
Fun fact: If you are up for an adventure visit Sidbury House once the sun goes down, supposedly this historic home is haunted.
Many have reported having seen the ghost of a small child going in and out of the bedrooms and rearranging the toys. I guess there is only one way to find out…
Have a romantic dinner at Republic Bar and Grill
Get ready to put on your best heels and hit the town with your first stop at Republic Bar and Grill. As one of the most romantic places in Corpus Christi, you can’t miss having a date night here.
This steakhouse is known for its fine-cut meats and its massive wine collection.
Located on the 20th floor of the Omni, you will have panoramic views of the whole city. Republic Bar and Grill is expensive and you definitely get what you pay for with their top-tier service and mouth-watering food. You won’t find a better view or a better meal.
Go on a romantic horseback ride on the beach at sunset
One of my favorite ways to watch the sunset is horseback riding on the beach in Corpus Christi. As one of the main attractions on the beach you will see people riding horses on the beach throughout the whole day, there is no better way to see the coast.
If you are looking to spend some time with a loved one, book the sunset ride and have a picnic by the water while watching the sun go down, this is one of my favorite romantic activities in Corpus Christi.
The tour company makes sure to take good care of the animals and educate those riding them on ways to be respectful and properly care for the animal.
As the most popular tourist attraction in Corpus Christi, the USS Lexington Museum is a must-see. The USS Lexington arrived in Corpus Christi in 1992 where it is now stationed as a naval aviation museum.
As one of the world’s oldest aircraft carriers, this ship was commissioned in 1943 to join the 5th fleet at Pearl Harbor.
During that period, the ship was referred to as the “blue ghost” as the Japanese reported the boat to have sunk at least 5 times, but as we can see, each time it returned to battle as if it were a ghost haunting them.
The ship survived all of the attacks until the war was over and remained in commission for a few more years.
The museum has a self-guided tour that will take you to their flight deck. This allows you the chance to get up close and personal with 20 aircraft as well as lets you test your aviation skills in their interactive flight simulator.
The museum is open every day from 9 am-6 pm and costs $18.95.
The Art Museum of South Texas
The Art Museum of South Texas has been showcasing art from all around The Americas since the 1930’s.
Over the past 2 decades, it has expanded to multiple buildings with rotating exhibits as well as permanent art for its guests to observe and appreciate.
The museum houses over 1,800 pieces from regional artists as well as artists across South, Central, and North America, creating a visual story for every kind of visitor.
The museum’s mission is to educate the public and create an awareness and appreciation for visual art.
Through this mission, they host many events, check out their website if you are looking for fun things to do in Corpus Christi on the weekend.
The art museum of South Texas also hosts dollar first Fridays. Every first Friday of the new month only costs $1 for entry. If you can’t make it on First Friday, it will be an $8 entry free.
Museum of Science and History
A fun thing to do in Corpus Christi Tx for kids is to head to the Museum of Science and History. This interactive museum makes for the perfect place to hide from the Texas heat with plenty of educational programs.
The museum was established in 1957 with the goal to inspire and educate kids through science and history.
The focus of this museum is to showcase South Texas and the local cultures of the region. Explore an excavated shipwreck from nearby Padre Island or learn the history of the Civil War and how this region played an important part.
Find yourself browsing historic photos and being transported back in time in their historic archives.
The museum also hosts many summer camps and weekend workshops for kids of all ages. They are open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am-5 pm and then on Sundays from 12 pm-5 pm.
Entrance fees are $12 for adults and $9 for kids.
Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
If you are a nature lover like me, I highly recommend heading to the South Texas botanical gardens and nature center for some outdoor fun! 182 acres of 11 uniquely crafted exhibits with a large butterfly house will have you exploring for the whole afternoon.
One of the things that makes these gardens so special is not just their vast array of flora but the ability to see fauna, such as rabbits, deer, and even some foxes frolicking in the gardens.
The gardens are also home to one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the United States. Their wetlands boardwalk is a major player on the Great Texas Birding Trail.
You will find many birds in their natural habitat as well as their large collection of exotic parrots.
This is the perfect family outing for a day of relaxing and appreciating the great outdoors. The center is open every day from 9 am-6 pm. So make sure to stop by on your weekend in Corpus Christi.
Corpus Christi is home to the Selena Museum, if you love Latin culture or enjoy good music then this is a must-stop.
Selena is the most famous Mexican-American singer in history and put Latin music on the map for the rest of the world.
The singer-songwriter died in 1995 at the early age of 23, she is still celebrated all around the world.
Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez have both honored her by dressing up as the famous artist for multiple Halloweens.
The museum is open Monday-Friday from 10 am-4 pm and costs $3 to go through Selena’s life, musical achievements, and sadly her death. I can not recommend this museum enough.
With its many unique spaces, the Art Center in Corpus Christi has many opportunities to engage with different mediums and local artists. They house rotating exhibits throughout the year to keep things fresh and new.
Along with its exhibits, there are different classes available to the public. Divided by experience level and ages you will find classes on oils, clay, and photography. The center holds new classes each month while introducing new mediums to assist in building one’s skill set.
Corpus Christi Hooks baseball team
Take me out to the ball game at Whataburger Field. Situated on that port of Corpus Christi you can enjoy a summer night eating hot dogs and drinking ice-cold beer while watching Corpus’ minor league baseball team The Hooks.
If you are in town out of baseball season there is a chance the field will be turned into an outdoor stadium for some good ole Texas country music. Make sure to bring your boots and go check it out.
Funtrackers amusement park
Funtrackers amusement park has everything you need for a day full of fun. Test your putt putt skills on their 18 hole course, or drive around the racetrack competing for 1st place in their go-karts.
Once the sun goes down, head indoors for some laser tag or play 1 of their 80 arcade games. Every time I go to Funtrackers I feel like a kid again and I can’t get enough. Make sure to trade in your winning tickets and pick something from their beloved prize wall.
Hurricane Alley Waterpark
Grab your swimsuit and sunscreen and head to this award-winning water park in the heart of Corpus Christi! Hurricane Alley Waterpark is one of the most popular things to do in the hot summer months.
You will find a multitude of adrenaline-inducing slides along with a 12,000 square foot wave pool to keep you cool throughout the whole day.
At a weekend rate of $20 per person, this waterpark makes for a very affordable activity in Corpus Christi.
Kayak Redfish Bay
Redfish Bay is a group of islands, grasslands, and channels that have been designated as a state of the scientific area.
The Texas wildlife department has made it illegal to take a boat out on this area with a motor that has the potential to tear and ruin the grasslands coming up from the marshes.
This has turned the bay into a hotspot for kayaking and paddleboarding. Some of the best fishing and birding is available in Redfish Bay.
As a lover of nature, this is one of my favorite activities as you can pack a lunch, grab a kayak and head out on the water for the whole day.
Padre Island National Seashore
To escape the city and find things to do around Corpus Christi, head to North Padre Island to enjoy a natural landscape.
Padre Island National Seashore, park protects 66 miles and a long untouched beach and releases protected sea turtles back into the ocean.
This side of the island is where The Gulf of Mexico turns into the Laguna Madre Bay, one of the few hypersaline lagoons in the world.
Also, read The 7 Best Beach Towns in Texas
For one of the best beaches in the area head to Mustang Island. The island stretches from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas for 18 miles. Boasting white sandy beaches and clean water, this is the perfect weekend getaway in Corpus Christi, Tx.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing time on the beach or some water sports, this little island has it all.
If you choose to just do a day trip here make sure to stay until the night as Mustang Island has some of the best sunsets in the area, and has a state park worthy of visiting with 20 miles of hiking trails.
National Wildlife Refuge
Looking to get out of the city and into nature? Head out to the National Wildlife Refuge for things to do near Corpus Christi. This refuge spans over 115,000 acres and is home to Texas wildlife and migrating birds.
The refuge is world-renowned for being a resting place for the largest wild flock of endangered whooping cranes each winter. You will find an array of public tours or can venture to the refuge on your own. This is a perfect outdoor classroom for those who are inspired by nature and how we can coexist in this world.
Laguna Madre Bay
The largest of the hypersaline lagoons in the world, the Laguna Madre is a must-see on your vacation in Corpus Christi. It has the most extensive clay dunes and tidal flats in North America.
Grab a kayak or a paddleboard and make your way through the channels changing from North Padre Island to Laguna Madre, keep your eye out for sea turtles and even some ocelots. This is a less populated area letting the animals live freely in their environment. Laguna Madre Bay is located 2 hours south of Corpus Christi making this a great weekend getaway.
When I am looking to stay close to the city but enjoy some peace and quiet I head to North Beach, only a 20-minute drive from the city center. North Beach is one of the most popular places in Corpus Christi, 1.5 miles of sandy beach, calm waters, and plenty of beachfront restaurants you will have everything you need for a day of fun in the sun.
You will find free parking, plenty of picnic tables to bring your own setup making it one of my favorite free things to do in Corpus Christi on the weekend.
Bob Hall Pier
Bob Hall Pier is a great option for those fishermen who want to do some deep-sea fishing but avoid the hefty price of a boat. Head out onto the 1,240 ft pier that gives you access to gulf coast fish that don’t come close to shore.
You are able to rent fishing gear or take your own. There are plenty of open spaces, picnic tables, and beach access points for those that are joining but not fishing. The park and the pier are open 24/7 making this a fun thing to do in Corpus Christi at night, just watch out for the crabs on the shore!
One of my favorite fun cheap things to do in Corpus Christi is to go Surfing. While Texas beaches are not known for their surfing, if you know where to go you can catch some pretty gnarly waves! Along the coastal bend, you will find some key spots that when the wind hits perfectly and suddenly you are in a surfers paradise.
The best spots are Bob Hall Pier, you can rent a board here and also take lessons if you are a beginner, North Padre Seawall, and Packery Channel Jetties.
A Dolphin Cruise is one of the best things to do in Corpus Christi. Situated on the gulf coast you will see a plethora of these incredible mammals making their way through the blue waters.
There are plenty of dolphin cruises throughout the island. My recommendation is to take the Scarlet Lady Dolphin Tours sunset cruise, to see dolphins jumping in and out of the water with a pink and purple background is breathtaking. If you are on a budget, you are also likely to see dolphins on the ferry to Port Aransas for free.
Sea turtle release
One of the best experiences and also maybe one of the hardest to plan for. Baby Sea turtles being released back into the ocean is an unpredictable experience as there is not a set date when these little hatchlings will be ready.
Your best chance at catching them is by planning your vacation to Corpus Christi between mid-June to late August. The release dates are typically given a week in advance and people from all over come to watch the hatchlings begin their journey into the Gulf of Mexico. You can call this hotline number 361-949-7163 to find out if they have any scheduled releases coming up.
Looking to try a new sport? Head to Padre Island National Seashore at Bird Island Basin to fly through the water with just a board and sail. Windsurfing is becoming more and more popular on the coast of Texas. It has the longest undeveloped barrier island in North America making it the perfect location for this extreme sport.
The best time to travel to Corpus Christi is in September, the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the beach and the summer tourists are all headed back home. You will have your choice of beaches, no long waits at restaurants, and plenty of hotel options.
Things to do in Corpus Christi at night – Best bars and lounges
Lazy Beach Brewing
Lazy Beach Brewing is a local brewing company and my favorite place to spend the evenings. Whether I’m catching up with friends or sparking up a conversation with a stranger this is a fun thing to do in Corpus at night.
The brewery opened in 2015 and makes small-batch brews. The brewery has 15 different brews on tap and a wide-open outdoor patio for those warm summer nights. You won’t find their beer anywhere else and they have a new brew come out every single Saturday, giving all of us the perfect excuse to return time and time again.
The Pelican Lounge is the perfect place to go in Corpus Christi at night. This lively bar has my favorite happy hour, great food, and views of the Corpus Christi dunes from their patio. They have a lot of games and pool tables that are open all night long. Pelican Lounge always has something going on every night of the week with live music, shuffleboard tournaments, and they hold weekly karaoke nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
House of Rock
Every time I visit somewhere new I always want to know “Where do the locals hangout?” well look no further than House of Rock. In the heart of downtown Corpus Christi, this Rock bar has everything a local and tourist needs. Divided into 3 different bars you are able to get exactly what you are looking for.
They have live music every night from Wednesday to Sunday and an open mic night on Tuesdays. Occasionally they will have concerts that require a cover fee or a pre-purchased ticket so make sure to check on their website before you head out.
The Gold Fish
Looking for the best cocktails in Corpus Christi, then The Gold Fish is for you! Out of all the places in town they definitely serve up the best-curated cocktails. Whether you want a minty mojito or an old fashioned, the bartenders are true mixologists and guaranteed to leave you happy and warm.
Enjoy the sights and sounds this weekend in Corpus Christi from their large outdoor garden. The Gold Fish is my go-to spot when I am out on the town on my own and I regularly check their Instagram for events throughout the week.
Black Diamond Oyster Bar
Locally owned and operated this oyster bar has been in business since 1968 and is a local favorite. They are known for their fresh seafood and deep-fried oysters but I personally recommend the Black Diamond Burger. The food here is a bit more expensive for Corpus Christi but a great place, especially for couples.
Doc’s Seafood and Steak Restaurant
If you ask anyone in Corpus where you should go eat, 9 out of 10 times they will say Docs. Located right on the water with amazing views of the sunset and incredible seafood, you can understand why it’s everyone’s favorite. I recommend the Seafood Lover plate to get a taste of everything or the Yellow Fin Tuna Tacos.
Good food, good beer, and great prices. Snoopy’s Pier is a local restaurant that has been operating for 40 years on the waterfront. With a beautiful view of the ocean and a full plate of shrimp cocktails, you will find yourself coming here every night of your trip. Make sure to pop over to their dessert spot, Snoopy’s Veranda for some ice cream after dinner.
Andy’s Country Kitchen
The best place to grab a home-cooked breakfast or a hearty lunch. Andy’s Country Kitchen is everything Texas stands for when it comes to food. Try their steak and eggs for breakfast, a popular meal in the south, or the chicken fried steak for lunch. Make sure to come hungry, the portions are very large.
Lively Beach – Luxury Stay
Lively Beach is a private condominium for Corpus Christi guests to have a luxury experience with private beach access, a resort-style pool, and a beach club to meet others staying in the area. This resort is located near mustang island, a short drive from Corpus Christi city and into the nature of the island.
Best Western – Mid Range Stay
As Trip Advisors 2021 Travelers Choice Hotel, Best Western has everything you will need for your trip to Corpus Christi. Each room has a view of the marina, the hotel has a swimming pool and a continental breakfast. You are a quick 5-minute walk to the water and a short drive to everywhere else in the city.
Sleep inn & Suites – Budget Stay
An award-winning hotel at a fantastic price. If you are on a budget this is a great option for you. Located in the center with a short drive to the beach you will have access to everything. The hotel has an outdoor pool and a continental breakfast.
Check out more hotel options on this map
About the Author
Carae is a born and raised Texan and a lover of new places and adventure. She has been traveling around the world solo for 3 years now. She moved to West Africa in hopes of seeing the world and has not been disappointed. She has met the coolest people and believes to have seen the prettiest places and never wants it to stop. You can follow her travels at caraeofsunshine.com
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