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Key Info

9394 State Highway 361

Price & Hours

$5 for visitors 13 and older; free for kids 12 and younger
Thurs-Sun 8 a.m.-5p.m.

Details

Beaches, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 2.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Sitting almost 30 miles south of downtown Corpus Christi, Mustang Island State Park is well worth the drive. This 18-mile-long barrier island features beautiful dunes and a bevy of wildlife, including 400 different bird species, raccoons, fish, deer and sea turtles.

This park offers spacious sands for sunbathing and sandcastle building. Visitors can also swim in the warm Gulf of Mexico waters or take their kayaks out along the Mustang Island Paddling trail, which features more than 20 miles of waterways ready for exploration. Kayak rentals are available just south of the park as well as in Port Aransas. You can extend your stay by bedding down at one of the campsites available at the park.

Past visitors reported that the park is beautiful with clean beaches. They also appreciated the new shower house nearby the entrance. Campers like the park's campgrounds and say the sites are close to the waterfront.

Mustang Island State Park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. It is temporarily closed from Monday through Wednesday. To enjoy the park, you'll pay $5 per person ages 13 and older. Kids 12 and younger can enter for free. You can also reserve day passes online in advance. There is some parking available on-site. To get to the park, you'll cross over the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway then take 361 North to the park. Visit the park's website for more information.

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#1 Padre Island National Seashore

This barrier island stretches along the Texas coast for 113 miles, though it's split into two islands. While its southern section, South Padre Island, is a well-known spring break destination, Padre Island offers a calmer seaside getaway near Corpus Christi. In particular, travelers rave about the island's national seashore, a 70-mile stretch of land protected by the National Park Service, for its pristine beaches, calm atmosphere and space to spread out.

At the national seashore, travelers can build sandcastles on the beach, windsurf on Laguna Madre (a small body of water that is saltier than the ocean) or hop on a four-wheeler and cruise down the sands. If you time your trip for a summer visit, you may even be able to catch a sea turtle hatchling release. Remember that these releases have no set schedule as the baby turtles will hatch when they like. And if you're looking to save on accommodations, you can do so here by camping on the beach. Just know that camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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Courtesy of Visit Corpus Christi
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