by: Sherry Maddox

We’re blessed in South Texas to have access to a wide variety of terrains. We can rock climb Texas Hill Country; canoe the murky waters in the southeast swamplands; off-road through the western deserts; or hike through the majesty of the Piney Woods, all within two hours of our home. If you’re like this traveler, though and enjoy leisurely outdoor activities, head due south towards the Gulf Coast for some fun in the sand and surf. A short three and a half hour drive from Houston, Corpus Christi felt very far away in the best of ways.

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Aerial View of North Padre Island

Recently, my fhusband and I had a tiny opening in our hectic schedules and thought it would be the perfect time to head down to Corpus Christi, Texas to enjoy the sun and explore a slew of outdoor activities we had never done before!

Harbor Bridge Corpus Christi

Harbor Bridge Corpus Christi

ROADTRIP TIP: Hit up Padre Bali Park for a day of beach relaxation.

For those who’ve never been, hotels along the beach in Corpus Christi fill up very fast, so we had no shot at staying on the water with our relatively spur of the moment planning. Fortunately, Corpus (that’s what we Texans call it) is a fairly large town. We had no trouble finding something close by, and we ended up going the vacation condo route (wonderful for us!) and stayed at the Village by the Beach condominiums just a short drive to the beach on North Padre Island. Before we checked into our condo, we decided to indulge in our passion for museum going, or “museuming” as we have dubbed it.

water gardens at Art Museum of South Texas

water gardens at Art Museum of South Texas

Our first stop was the Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History. This is a charming museum chronicling Corpus’ growth and development and more broadly, the history of Spanish colonialism in the New World. There were tons of hands-on and interactive experiences. The highlight for me was the full-sized, “shipwrecked” vessel that recapped the story of colonial empires crisscrossing the globe on their explorations. And then there were the dinosaurs, which you really can’t beat. There was a life-sized mockup of a pterosaur, a humongous T-Rex skull and a fossilized skeleton of a Mossasaur –look that guy up, he’s impressive.

corpus christi museum of science and history

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

We made a quick stop at the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures down by the shore. I had no idea this gem existed before it surfaced on the Roadtrippers app, and we were soon immersed in all things Far East. An ornate glass and wood hallway lined with decorative paper lanterns transported us to some exotic location. The museum may be small, but it is packed from wall-to-wall with beautiful examples of Asian art and culture and the attendees there could not have been nicer.
Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures

Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures

Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures

Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures

We checked into our vacation rental on Padre Island and loved how all the arrangements were made online and we were given a code to use as a key to enter our property! The condo was gorgeous with granite countertops, a tropical flare, LOTS OF SPACE, premium internet and hi speed wifi. We enjoyed a cocktail on the balcony looking over the pool before heading down to the beach!

village by the beach, padre island, north padre island, corpus christi, port aransas

Pool at Village by the Beach condominiums on North Padre Island

Now, I enjoy the powdery white sands of Corpus Christi’s Gulf Coast beaches. I have fond memories of my childhood tied that location and I’ll take every chance I can to experience the nostalgia. We enjoyed a a drive on the beach (yes you can drive right on the beach here!) before we settled on a spot to sit in the surf and soak up some sun before heading back to the condo for a swim and BarBQ with friends. We enjoyed the uncrowded beaches and wind surfers right in front of us. We loved

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Public Beach at Bob Hall Pier

The next morning, we hit up the beach again before a little bit more museuming. We started out at the The Art Museum of South Texas, which was a pleasant surprise. They had a wide variety of art ranging from modern to classical and a Western art section.
On for a light lunch at Hester’s Cafe inside the Art Museum of South Texas. The staff was friendly, the food very good, and the view was nothing short of spectacular.
dobson cafe at the art museum of south texas in corpus christi texas

Hester’s cafe at the art museum of south texas

 

After that, it was a trip to see the U.S.S. Lexington. This retired aircraft carrier is a floating museum and a must-see for any fans of military or U.S. history. I’ve visited the Lex at least five times over the years, but I still get a ton of enjoyment out of every visit. There are dozens of photo ops and lots of interactive exhibits. I cannot recommend it enough.

Our weekend was definitely a success – packed with sightseeing, lots of relaxing, and tons of sun. A great way to close out the summer I wish lasted a bit longer.

By: Sherry Maddox

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