South Texas’ Coastal Bend is a region where the culture is laid-back, and where you’ll find locals and tourists alike enjoying the Gulf of Mexico’s beaches and bays. Some prefer lake life a little more inland, while others make a living farming or ranching.
Outdoor adventures including fishing, boating, hunting and hiking are always popular here, though certainly not the only activities around. From Corpus Christi and Nueces County, and out to surrounding South Texas cities and towns, there’s plenty for all ages to enjoy.
Plus, when you consider the moderate living costs and relatively close proximity to major cities such as Houston and San Antonio, it’s easy to understand the appeal of living in South Texas’ Coastal Bend. Let’s take a closer look at the draw of this region for both
residents and visitors.
As long as it has existed in history, Corpus Christi has attracted new residents to the Coastal Bend of South Texas. This was especially true during historically difficult times, including after the Civil War and during the Great Depression.
In 1519, Spanish explorer Alonzo Alverez de Pineda discovered and named Corpus Christi (or “Body of Christ” in Spanish) upon arriving at a beautiful Texas beach during a Roman Catholic holiday. More than 300 years later in 1838-39, Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney founded and established a settlement in the area as “Kinney’s Ranch.” That settlement would incorporate in 1852 as Corpus Christi.
The Battle of Corpus Christi during the Civil War was a significant point in history for the town, as well as for the USS Lexington, a WWII aircraft carrier docked here since 1992. Today, the ship offers tours, escape rooms, overnight adventures and more.
Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend have a long-standing commitment to agriculture, recreation and historical preservation. Education is also a priority, with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and its cutting-edge ocean and environment research institutions. There’s also Texas A&M University-Kingsville, another well-rated school that provides top engineering, agriculture and social sciences programs. These schools have influenced major area industries including gas/oil/refineries, farming, the military and tourism.
Corpus Christi, nestled in the arc of South Texas’ Coastal Bend, offers a world of natural beauty. The beaches are the best place to start exploring, and there are some excellent ones. Padre Island National Seashore is a well-known beach, and a family-friendly location separated from the college spring break hot spot South Padre Island. The seashore is along the Laguna Madre, where people enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, camping … and even watching sea turtle hatchlings emerge each year.
A region this gorgeous is certainly well-protected, as evident by the various state parks and wildlife areas. Corpus Christi’s Mustang Island State Park has great surfing, kayaking and bird-watching opportunities, while Lake Corpus Christi State Park offers freshwater fishing, camping, swimming and other adventures on some 14,000 acres.
Goose Island State Park in Rockport (Aransas County) is famous for its “Big Tree,” one of the largest live Oaks in America. Located along the St. Charles and Aransas bays, it’s a little rough for swimming, but ideal for birding, hiking, geocaching and fishing (but watch out for alligators!). Lastly, venture to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to observe endangered animal species and to learn about wetlands preservation.
When visiting Corpus Christi, Texas, or surrounding areas, it’s easy to imagine relaxing on the beach or deep-sea fishing all the time. But once you convert into a satisfied local, you’ll notice there’s a lot more to discover here.Catch a game at Whataburger Field, home of the Houston Astro’s Double-A Affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks. Then head over to the Water Street Market downtown to check out cool bars and burger joints with live music like the Executive Surf Club, or indulge in some shellfish at Oyster Bar.
For more family-friendly fun, the Texas State Aquarium right on the shoreline features wildlife exhibits ranging from ocelots to sharks, dolphins to flamingos and many others in between. Let the kids enjoy the splash park while you savor the views of Corpus Christi Bay. If you enjoy golf, tennis or working out in luxury, the Corpus Christi Country Club is the place to be; it’s also a top spot for weddings and events.
Finally, for a couple leisurely outings that are equally educational, consider the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center and the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. The former offers an incredible array of diverse plant and animal life, while the latter is essentially a one-stop approach to learning almost all there is to know about the region.