A Natural Escape
The Coastal Bend is one of the top tourism destinations in the State of Texas, which is partly due to our region’s many historical, cultural and coastal attractions. There’s something to explore and discover among our unique nature-based attractions and activities found in our area.
Here are a few ways for you to refresh and de-stress as you get up-close-and-personal with bird watching, hiking, camping, fishing, and swimming.
FOR THE BIRDS
There are plenty of trails and birds to satisfy birdwatching enthusiasts. With over 215 species of birds spotted in the area, it’s no wonder the Audubon Society has routinely named Nueces County as one of the premier destinations for birdwatching in the country.
Interesting fact about The Padre Island National Seashore is that it contains 70 miles of protected coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats, and is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier in the world according to the National Park Service. Mustang Island State Park is another great place for you to enjoy five miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico where you can relax or have fun swimming, kayaking, camping and fishing.
Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail | Central Texas Coast
Grab your binoculars to observe vibrant migratory birds during spring and fall migration as well as over-wintering Whooping Cranes. Explore places filled with year-round birding opportunities and events within the Corpus Christi Bay Loop from Kingsville and Corpus Christi up to Goliad, then continue through the coastal communities of Port Aransas, Rockport-Fulton, and on to Bay City.
Hans A. Suter Wildlife Refuge
Take a hike, ride your bike, have a picnic, grill up some burgers and hot dogs, or take a walk on the pier that extends over the dune. Be sure to check for rails and shorebirds by the tidal pools bordering the boardwalk at Hans A. Suter Wildlife Refuge.
Before you rush to the lagoon that is accessed by the boardwalk, prepare to spend an hour or two on the short nature trail to relish the waterbird show of landbirds in migration. This is one of the most popular and protected birding spots along the migration path for Northern birds as they make their way to Mexico for the winter, then back again for spring.
South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center
The South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center is definitely not your grandmother’s botanical garden!
Did you know that the plumeria garden contains more than 100 plants and the Orchid House over 2,000 orchids? Explore the Arid Garden, Water Garden, Sensory Garden, Butterfly Garden, Hummingbird Garden and the shaded Bird & Butterfly Trail. Mingle with fluttering butterflies who will often stop and rest on your available arm or shoulder.
Immerse yourself in serene beauty, as you “walk on the wild side” with unique floral exhibits and gardens filled with cactus, hibiscus, roses, plumeria and orchids. Stroll through shaded native habitat, bridged ravines, and natural wetlands.
Discover exotic parrots, or native wildlife in the new Resident Reptiles exhibit. Visit the majestic Rose Pavilion or the rustic Palapa Grande on scenic Gator Lake. This 182-acre showcase on Oso Creek offers a unique and varied take on botanical gardens.
You must check out Nature’s Boutique in the Visitors Center, and shop for unique gifts, must-haves, cold drinks and snacks.
J.P. Luby Surf Park
Surf’s up! If you love the beach, don’t mind the sand in your hair, and enjoy the thrill of water activities, North Packery Beach on Mustang Island is the place for you. Yes, it is known by two names, but there is only one like it.
You’ll find yourself in a wonderland for surfing, jet-skiing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, snorkeling, and more. With a consistent offshore wind blowing in from the northwest, it sure makes for some killer waves. You can surf and snorkel to your heart’s content.
Too much action for you? No sweat, so to speak. Go swimming, or take a stroll along the beach, sit, relax and watch the sunset. Feeling hungry and wishing for some barbecue? Got that covered also. Bring you fixings and barbeque or grill over a ground fire on the shore. You can even do some surf fishing. Some equipment rental is available. There’s definitely something for everyone!
Horses on the Beach
Your fun begins on North Padre Island in Corpus Christi with Horses on the Beach. You will experience the sound of the gulls, the waves hitting against the shore, and the breeze on your face as your horse takes you for a ride along the water on the sand, like a bona fide Texas cowboy. You will be matched with a horse based on its personality and your experience. Choose from sunset rides or daytime excursions. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, this is a great way to spend time at the beach with your partner, family, or friends.
Now that you've read about the many wonderful places to refresh and relieve stress, wait no more. Get up and get out! Outdoors, that is. A whole world of nature awaits you.