Padre Island National Seashore, Corpus Christi

4.6
#1 of 15 in Beaches in Texas
Stretching 110 km (70 mi) along the coast featuring prairies, dunes, and wildlife, Padre Island National Seashore represents the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. Most of the area is undeveloped and accessible only to four-wheel-drive vehicles. The park offers swimming, fishing, camping, surfing, and wildlife-watching opportunities. About 45 percent of all North American bird species can be spotted at the park. Start your tour at the visitor center, where you can also see exhibits, get food and water supplies, and obtain camping licenses. Choose among the numerous RV or tent camping spots in the wilderness, or at the beach. A visit to Padre Island National Seashore represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Corpus Christi holiday planner to plot your vacation.
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Padre Island National Seashore Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
1,364 reviews
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4.7
TripAdvisor
  • August 14, 2017
    This National Seashore is a lovely beach with plenty of area to take a walk along the beautiful waters of the Gulf. It has a very clean beach and is not very crowded.  more »
  • August 14, 2017
    Easy-peasy access, beautiful open water with plenty of waves for fun. The rentals on the beach front were very reasonable and convenient.  more »
  • August 12, 2017
    Padre Island National Seashore is a true gem on North Padre Island and well-worth the 30' drive from Corpus Christi. There you'll find endless secluded beaches, a gentle slope into the water, and soft...  more »
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  • June 15, 2017
    Great place to get away from it all. This national park upholds its great standards. Nice facilities. Restrooms and showers. Viewing decks (including one up high for great views). They have kept this place updated for the past 20 years we've been coming. We really enjoy going out 20+ miles down the beach to see big shell little shell areas. Fun place for 4x4 (required after first few miles). You won't see many (if any) people that far out. Very occasionally a park ranger may go by which is good in case you have any problems. We saw lots of turtle patrol officials due to nesting season. You will see all the trash our ocean carries past the 4x4 only marker as this is a natural beach. Over 50 miles of beach requires the help of volunteers so ask for bags and gloves at headquarters. We easily fill up our truck bed with bulky and small items. While the trash is not cool it's a reality. Fortunately it gets entertaining trying to figure out what the heck these things are or where did this come from (such as unique types of wood, glass bottles, parts from boats, ridiculously huge things that only have a name in that profession). Whether you're coming by car, truck, or RV this beach is one of the best in Texas.
  • July 9, 2017
    It is a wonderful place to go! Very clean bathrooms, a little gift shop, vending machines. The beach is kept very clean and the water is warm and refreshing. And at 4'11" I could walk out quite a way and not go over my shoulders!
  • June 25, 2017
    Definitely a must to for a Texas visit. Yeah it's kinda far but is rare to be able to drive to a beach and go all across an island with your own car. When I say rare I mean it's rare in the US where everything is heavily regulated or privately owned. They say the park is undeveloped but it's actually pretty developed with roads and showers and services ;)
  • June 9, 2017
    My family and friends go here about 3-5 times a year. Its a great way to enjoy the beach and get far from people. Great for fishing and/or playing in the water. Take a drive up the beach, just make sure you have a 4x4 past the 5 mile marker. Just remember, leave it as you left it, if not better. Enjoy!
  • June 29, 2017
    Must do for anyone in Texas! We've camped here a few times and really love the place. The last time was for 3 days and nights Labor Day weekend, we had a blast and the water looked really good considering we had rains in late August. We had some high winds which flipped our tent totally over into the dunes. Everyone who who had sun shades and couldn't get them down fast enough lost theirs to the wind. Make sure you stake everything down with larger stakes than those provided by the Chinese manufacture of your tent and or sunshade. China must not have high winds because the stock stakes and tie-downs are useless, be prepared for high winds which can reach 50 mph when a thunderstorm passes near. Some of these reviewers talking minimal trash must never get out of their car! Lots of trash on PIPS, mostly from beach goers and washing up in the surf. I used to hear the ads on the radio and TV stating "Don't mess with Texas" as if it's someone other than the Texans polluting, cow-poop. It's mainly 90% of Texan's which continue to turn a blind eye and of the fact they are the problem and the also answer. If you've ever picked up trash from the beaches you find tons of it is from day-use, campers, fishermen and off shore pollution in the gulf. I've camped at Mustang Island State Park, just north of PIPS and found it to be worse than PIPS and it's all due to irresponsible day users and campers. Fellow beach lovers please take an extra trash bag with you when you go and help out, trash bags are also available at the entrance booth compliments of your $10 weekly entrance fee. Okay people, I understand you're further down the beach and away from the visitor center and the restrooms; no problem, bag it like we do when walking our dogs and please take it when you leave. Please leave nothing behind and always leave your site better than you received it. Be prepared for the many speeders along the beach, seems to be quite a few and not enough speeding tickets given out to the offenders. We've been there all day and usually we only see the rangers go down and up once. Many offenders don't care when they zoom by your site leaving a sand storm in your face. PIPS needs more policing of the 70 mile stretch of beaches, my guess is funding has been cut...again. No sense in having laws when they can't be enforced! Other than the trash on the beach or floating in the water, speeders or people who don't remove their personal waste, PIPS is the best thing going in Texas. Kudos to you who who aren't the offenders! I've talked about nurturing and loving the beach! It's so simple; be responsible, wear sun-block and have a great time!

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Where to stay in Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi offers an array of lodging throughout the city. Seaside condos, hotels, and motels clustered around the northern point of North Padre Island and spread along Mustang Island offer views over the Gulf of Mexico, and you can also set up a tent or park an RV at one of the campgrounds on the latter. An additional cluster of hotels, motels, and cottages sits along the west side of Corpus Christi Bay, providing convenient access to both the water and many of the city's prime attractions. The numerous national-chain hotels and motels lining South Padre Island Drive serve as viable options if you plan to divide your time between the barrier islands and downtown.
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