North Padre Island/Corpus Christi Travel Guide
My little family and I have just returned from an amazing long weekend vacation to North Padre Island and the city of Corpus Christi. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to this trip every year! Growing up in Texas and being close to the Gulf, it is a long-time summer tradition to head to the Coast.
So what’s the experience like you ask? Well, for my family and I it starts with a two and a half hour road trip to the Island from San Antonio, enjoying all the beautiful countryside scenery along the way. There’s several beaches in the Corpus Christi area to choose from, but for the last few years we’ve chosen Whitecap beach on North Padre Island.
What I love about Texas beaches is that you can actually drive right up on to the beach in your vehicle and stay all day and even night if you wanted to! We always find a good spot, set up a canopy tent, and just enjoy the day with family and friends. It’s fun to walk along the beach and see rows on rows on rows of colorful tents, flags, and umbrellas as far down as the eye can see. This is a very family friendly beach by the way in case you are traveling with kids.
The water is pretty calm, salty, and definitely warm. It’s the perfect beach to sit at the shoreline and tan, play with your little ones, or both in my case!
As far as meals throughout the day, most people barbecue right on the beach because they’re aren’t any restaurants along the beach. Tip: Dont forget to bring trash bags, tent stakes, and sunscreen! No bottles or cans aloud.
North Padre Island is just a few minutes away from the city of Corpus Christi, which also has a lot to offer! So my recommendation is to visit both areas on the same trip. Here’s a couple of places I recommend in the general area.
This is by far my favorite restaurant in the Corpus Christi/North Padre Island area. John and I have been going here for years and it never disappoints. This veteran seafood restaurant has both great local food and a great atmosphere with dining options either inside or outside on the deck with bay views. This is also the perfect place to catch the sunset. Tip: You can’t make reservations here so arrive early to pick your table. There’s usually a small line that forms but it moves quickly so don’t worry.
This spot is right next door to Snoopy’s Pier. So after dinner, stop by for some delicious Blue Bell ice cream. You can eat inside or out on the pier. Tip: Don’t forget to get a cute Insta pic before your ice cream melts in front of the sign!
Mirador de la Flor (Selena Statue).
This is such a special place that I highly recommend checking out! Also known as Selena’s seawall, it’s a monument in Corpus Christi located just off North Shoreline. The monument consists of a 5’8″ life-sized bronze statue of Selena wearing a leather jacket with microphone in hand. It’s a beautiful area and a quick stop (maybe 30 minutes or so). It’s open 24 hours a day and is free. The statue was unveiled in 1997 to honor Selena, the Tejano singer who was taken from the world too soon at just age twenty-three.
Corpus Christi downtown Seawall
For a really relaxing experience with some beautiful views, be sure to take a stroll down the Corpus Christi Seawall. This area includes eight gazebos (one hosting the Selena statue) with staircases leading down to the bay. I personally think this is one of the most beautiful and peaceful areas of Corpus Christi. You can grab a picnic lunch or breakfast and sit along a seawall bench and just enjoy the moment! Tip: This is the area for good Instagram spots!
The USS Lexington
Located off North Shoreline is the USS Lexington. This is another must see if you are visiting the Corpus Christi area. The USS Lexington, nicknamed “The Blue Ghost” is an Essex class aircraft carrier built during WWII for the United States Navy. You do not have to be a history buff to enjoy this place. You can take photos here, enjoy the gift shop, or spend several hours exploring the Lexington’s many levels. My favorite part is the view of the bay off the boat, and also the colorful line of planes on the upper deck. To really have the chance to enjoy everything plan at least 1.5 to 2 hours here.
I recommend checking out this area if you find yourself already at the Lexington anyway, because it’s located right next door! I like to take photos here and walk around, but just keep in mind that this “beach” is actually a bay not the ocean so for a better beach experience head to North Padre (as mentioned above). Here is how you plan your time here. First head to the Lexington, then walk around North Beach to get photos and for a quick stroll, then either lunch or dinner at Blackbeard’s on the Beach which sadly we didn’t make it to this last trip 🙁
Whataburger on the Bay
So….everyone goes to In-N-Out Burger in California, but here in South Central Texas we have Whataburger, and I prefer it! In my hometown of San Antonio there’s a Whataburger around every corner, but it actually originated in Corpus Christi in 1950. This trip we stopped by the big Whataburger on the Bay which is much more fun because there’s a second level and you can stop by on the way to the Lexington!
That covers my North Padre Island/Corpus Christi travel guide. Please be sure to comment/like/and subscribe to my blog if you enjoyed this content. I’d love to hear from you! You can watch the travel vlog for this vacation here!