By Stephanie Ball
Seagulls glide over a Corpus Christi, Texas, beach. A college-aged couple walks along the beach as saltwater waves cover their bare feet. Nearby, several Boy Scouts run and skip toward the ramp of the U.S.S. Lexington Museum on the Bay.
Locals and tourists are attracted to Corpus Christi for the variety of activities and attractions. Corpus is about a seven-hour drive from Dallas and a one-hour flight, which makes the location easily accessible for a summer vacation.
The first stop on a vacation to Corpus should be one of the many beaches. According to www.visitcorpuschristitx.com, there are two city beaches, Corpus and McGee, which offer picnic tables, showers and calm waters. Port Aransas, Padre Island and Rockport are within 45 minutes of the city as well.
Gift shops and seafood restaurants stretch across Corpus’ seawall and bay area.
A group of Courier editors recently visited Corpus for a journalism conference.
We visited Pier 99 Restaurant at 2822 N. Shoreline Blvd. The restaurant features the largest patio on the water in the coastal bend, according to www.pier99restaurant.com. We sat on the patio and enjoyed seafood and live music. Despite the hovering seagulls, the best feature of Pier 99 was the option for All-u-Can-Eat Fish for $12.99.
Those who do not like seafood can enjoy Mexican food at Dos Camales, a local favorite we discovered at 227 N. Water Street. The red and green salsa was mildly spicy with a distinct flavor that left us craving more to pile on the pita chips. The restaurant is located in the downtown and arts district area within walking distance of gelato, coffee and retail shops.
Visitors can walk off those calories by visiting the U.S.S. Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium.
We visited the Lexington first and climbed through the tiny sleeping quarters and control rooms. The ship was larger than we initially thought – we spent nearly an hour exploring the rooms and maneuvering steep stairways. According to www.usslexington.com, the 910-foot, 16-deck aircraft carrier served longer than any U.S. aircraft carrier.
The Lexington is an impressive historical icon that cannot be ignored.
Another attraction visitors should explore is the Texas State Aquarium, which is within minutes of the Lexington. The aquarium features interactive aquariums, dolphin shows, swamp reptiles, and land and water animals.
One of the more exciting exhibits is the observation room beneath the dolphin tank where guests can view the dolphins through glass. The aquarium is unique, and there are many sea creatures and animals that cannot be seen locally at the Dallas World Aquarium.
We were not able to view all of Corpus’ attractions, but the Selena Museum and South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center were on our list. Nearly everyone we encountered was friendly. The sandy beach and relaxed environment left us wishing we did not have to leave Corpus Christi.