The city of Corpus Christi stretches along the Texas shore next to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, boasting miles of beautiful waterfront. Vacations here are best spent enjoying the balmy South Texas weather by fishing with the kids, swimming, or exploring the protected waters by boat. When you want to get out of the sun, check out the city’s cultural and educational attractions. Use these child-friendly spots for location inspiration as you research vacation rentals in Corpus Christi.

1. Visit the Aquarium

Get a peek at the underwater world at the Texas State Aquarium. View fish in a coral reef, see the birth and growth cycles of jellyfish and watch the adorable dolphins at Dolphin Bay. If you’re traveling with little children, the aquarium’s live-touch exhibits make a great stop; kids can feed stingrays, pet live sharks, and interact with hermit crabs. Pop into the Whataburger 4D Theater for an immersive video experience, or watch birds in the Hawn Wild Flight Theater.

2. Tour a WWII Aircraft Carrier

Stand in awe on the flight deck of a WWII aircraft carrier at the USS Lexington museum. Once an operational warship, this enormous boat is now a museum. Explore crew cabins, check out the navigation bridge, and try a flight simulator on the hangar deck. Military exhibits teach kids about different battles in American history, and the 3D Mega Theater takes you into the world of aircraft carriers.

3. Play in the Sand

Enjoy the Corpus Christi sunshine at one of the many beaches near the city. If you want to rent boogie boards or other water sports equipment, check out Padre Palli Beach or North Packery Beach. Surprise your little surfers with a lesson at J.P. Luby Surf Park, or opt for a relaxing day at the quiet Whitecap Beach. Other great local beaches include South Packery Channel Beach, Mustang Island State Park, and Padre Island Seawall Beach.

4. Ride Horses on the Beach

Create a classic beach experience with a horseback tour down the shore. Book a ride with one of Corpus Christi’s excellent stables; many companies offer instruction and kid-friendly horses, so you can take the whole family. For the most comfortable and picturesque experience, choose a sunrise or sunset ride, and be sure to book in advance to guarantee a spot during the high season.

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5. Watch a Sea Turtle Release

If you’re visiting Corpus Christi during the summer, head to the Padre Island National Seashore to watch a sea turtle release. Each year, the National Park Service monitors sea turtle nests and alerts the public to their anticipated hatch dates. Bring your kids and watch the tiny turtles make their way slowly into the ocean. Park staff is usually on hand to keep the animals safe, and there are plenty of opportunities for photos.

6. Kayak Laguna Madre

Get a closer look at the sea birds of Corpus Christi with a kayak trip around Laguna Madre. The calm, shallow waters are a safe choice for kids and beginning paddlers. The easiest spots to launch are Padre Island National Seashore and the Bird Island Basin day-use area. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and water for your excursion.

7. Learn About Texas

Step into Texas’ storied past at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. Kids can look at the bounty from a 1600s-era shipwreck, see photos from the state’s early days, and watch actors bring history to life. In the science center, try the climbing wall and make noise on the piano staircase. Don’t miss the Musical Garden, where the whole family can play enormous instruments.

8. Visit a Water Park

Spend a sunny day cooling off at one of Corpus Christi’s water parks. Pack your swimsuits for a trip to the Schlitterbahn Riverpark, where you can float on a lazy river or learn to boogie board in the Boogie Bahn inland surfing ride. Take a high-speed ride down the Cliffhanger tube chute or Torrent River, or relax with your toddler in Lil’ Skippers Cove. At Hurricane Alley Waterpark, ride the lazy river, fly down water slides, or take the family to an evening “Dive-In” movie.

9. Attend a Baseball Game

Soak up the energetic atmosphere at a Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game. This minor league team, which is affiliated with the Houston Astros, frequently plays at Whataburger Field. Tickets are affordable, particularly if you choose the grass berm area; come for family nights for even better deals.

10. Explore City Parks

Explore some of Corpus Christi’s most popular parks with a bike ride along the Schanen Hike and Bike Trail. The trail, which is a kid-friendly 1.25 miles long, connects five different parks. Rent bikes and start on Yorktown Boulevard or Saratoga Boulevard, stopping to play on different playgrounds as you go. The path is paved and separated from traffic, so you can ride safely with new bikers.

11. Fish on the McGee Beach Jetties

Load up your tackle box and head for McGee Beach. The jetties are a popular fishing spot; simply drop a line into Emerald Cove to catch a variety of saltwater fish. When your kids get tired of casting, head down to the beach for swimming, or rent a surfboard to try the gentle waves.

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