As one of Texas’ most beloved Gulf Coast cities, there are plenty of beautiful beaches in Corpus Christi to enjoy.
There are so many great spots near the bay that can entertain a variety of interests. Some places have horseback riding, some are secluded and private, some are great for families.
We’ve included beaches both in Corpus Christi proper and within a short drive of the city.
No matter what your interests are, one of the best beaches in Corpus Christi is no doubt right for you!
North Beach in Corpus Christi
When most people think of Corpus Christi beaches, they’re thinking of North Beach! This beach is 1.5 miles of walkable coastline, there are no vehicles allowed in this stretch.
The two largest tourist attractions in Corpus are on this beach: the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier turned into a museum. There is a cute Ferris wheel nearby to see the full skyline, and it has a boardwalk as well, to stroll along the water.
You’ll get a chance to have some of the freshest seafood in Texas, or catch it yourself at one of the fishing piers on-site.
McGee Beach is one of the most family-friendly beaches in Corpus Christi. If you’re nervous about little (or big!) ones in the water for the first time this is a good place to go as the water is much calmer.
The beach is fairly close to downtown, making it a great place to stake out a spot for the day. This beach is much more laid back and it’s more catered to families.
Similar to North Beach there is no vehicle traffic on the beach so there is less to worry about in terms of traffic. It is fully loaded with public restrooms and equipment rental for a myriad of aquatic activities!
As you can probably tell from the name, Whitecap Beach is a white sand beach stretching for 1.5 miles near the Padre Island SeaWall.
Similar to McGee Beach this beach is more so dedicated to those that are looking for a spot to layout and relax.
This tends to be a much more secluded beach than North Beach. If you’re only planning for a quick afternoon trip this is also the best place to bring a small picnic lunch.
There are areas to walk or ride a bike as well as set up a small campfire. Please make sure you pay attention to any posted notices in relation to campfires! If you’d like to park your car on site you will need to get a parking permit.
Mustang Island State Park
With over 5 miles of coastline, you can spend the whole day in this beautiful Texas state park and never get bored.
In addition to the beach, there are also hiking trails and fishing piers. Sometimes during the spring and fall, you can also catch the semi-annual bird migrations.
You can also camp here through their many electric and water campsites, or if you’re more daring you can camp out at the primitive sites. There is a small $5 fee to enter which helps keep the parks clean and functional throughout the year!
Port Aransas Beach
While Port Aransas is technically not part of Corpus Christi, it is only a short 15-minute drive away from the city.
Port Aransas is located just across the bay from downtown and encompasses all of the same facilities and beachside activities. The beach is quite open and spacious, it is also extremely convenient as several of the local resorts in Port Aransas are on the beach.
There are some free parking spots, as well as some that require a permit. For $12 you can get a yearly beach parking pass. Additionally, there are permits available for small campfires.
The beach is monitored by lifeguards which makes it a great place for families with young children!
South Packery Channel/Jetty Beach
South Packery Jetty Beach separates Mustang Island from Padre Island. It is the more laid back beach comparative to its northern twin.
You can go fishing off of the piers or you can spend time on the sand building sandcastles.
There is also fishing equipment available for rental near the water.
There is only one entrance onto the beach, you can park there with a permit. Because the beach is a little more private, feel free to bring lawn chairs or extra towels to spread out!
Michael J. Ellis Beach
For a more popular beach destination, Michael J. Ellis Beach is just the ticket. This beach is just a mile from the Padre Island Seawall and it has plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sun and sand.
Lifeguards are present to man swimmers and surfers, and additionally, it is closed off from vehicular traffic making it a great, safe option. There are fun seasonal vendors located around the beach, and you can even take your bike out for a sunset ride.
There are restrooms and showers on site which make it a convenient choice for families.
North Packery Beach
As we mentioned earlier, South Packery Beach is a really calm and tranquil place to enjoy the beach but if you want something a little more active, the northern side is the way to be!
This Corpus Christi beach is very popular for surfers, in fact, it is locally known as the J.P. Luby Surf Park. The park stays fairly busy, especially during the spring and summer holidays.
You can go surfing, wakeboarding, kiteboarding, and more! There are plenty of vendors who have equipment available for rental and if you plan a fun outing you can even have a cookout off of a ground fire!
Malaquite Beach is the perfect spot for a getaway with family and friends. It is a part of the Padre Island National Seashore, not to be confused with South Padre Island. Padre Island National Seashore is actually a protected national park!
There is a visitors center that is quite popular which has all of the necessary information about the beach as well as several public facilities for use.
This stretch of beach is vehicle free and after a long day of surfing or swimming, there are restrooms and showers to clean up in before you head out again.
This area is regularly referred to as one of the cleanest beaches in Corpus Christi, it is well worth the $10 per vehicle entrance fee!
Padre Island Seawall Beach
Padre Island Seawall Beach stretches from Whitecap Beach to South Packery Beach. The beach is blocked off from vehicular traffic making it a great choice for families.
The seawall is about 14 feet above the water if you wanted to go rollerblading or biking near the water.
It also provides great sprawling views of the gulf.
Nearby parking is available for free without a permit, however, parking on the beach requires a parking permit and these can be purchased online or in person.
San Jose Island
Saint Joseph Island, otherwise known as San Jose Island, is a relatively remote location with nothing but beaches near Corpus Christi.
You can only get there by ferry ride but there is so much rich history to the place that it would be a shame not to check it out! The first-ever American flag was planted on San Jose Island as a mark of French and Spaniard defeat. To this day there are said to be remnants of the Spaniards strewn throughout the beaches in the form of coins and ornaments.
Additionally, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was said to have loved fishing here. He took a trip out on the water in the USS Potomac despite being in a wheelchair at the time!
While much of the land continues to be privately owned the beaches are still public. If you have a free afternoon I definitely suggest checking this location out!
Padre Balli Surf Park
If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop among the best beaches in Corpus Christi, Padre Balli Surf Park is it!
This location is great for kids because there is no vehicular traffic. Additionally, there are restaurants nearby to grab a quick bite.
There are public restrooms and showers available at the headquarters.
This is typically a very popular camping spot due to its water and electrical campsites. There are also cabanas and picnic tables in the park. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The entrance to the beach is free but you will need a parking permit to park on the beach.