8 Best Sights in South Texas and the Coast, Texas

Art Museum of South Texas

Spacious galleries inside these white shellcrete walls designed by architect Philip Johnson have beckoned South Texas art lovers and tourists for more than four decades. In 2006, the museum doubled in size, adding gallery space and a café that overlooks the bay and ship channel. The permanent collection comprises more than 1,500 pieces in a variety of mediums, with concentration on works of the Americas, and especially the region contiguous to Texas. In addition to the exhibits, the museum presents classes, lectures, films, and performances to highlight the art and artists of the region and of the Americas. The café courtyard has unobstructed stunning views of the water. Look for a spectacular chandelier by iconic glass artist Dale Chihuly.

1902 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $8, Tues.–Sat. 10–5, Sun. 1–5, Closed Mon.

Corpus Christ Museum of Science and History

Three Spanish treasure ships that ran aground on Padre Island in 1554 anchor the exhibits at this family-friendly museum. You'll want to schedule several hours to fully explore nine different exhibit areas that cover a variety of subjects, including agriculture, coastal ecology, history of trading, and reptile biology—each in a mind-bending, curiosity-building interactive way that will keep even the most skeptical teenagers engaged. Younger children have a designated area to play with dinosaur puzzles, climb on a two-story lighthouse, or make believe in a farmhouse. Pack a few extra coins to spend in the gift shop. Nerds love it!

1900 N. Chaparral St., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78401, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $10.95, Tues.–Sat. 10–5, Sun. noon–5

Isla Blanca Park

The beaches on the gulf side offer what most visitors are looking for: breezy winds, breaking surf, and pristine sand. The "bay side" on the Laguna Madre is mostly muddy, shallow, and calm. sits on the southernmost tip of the island and offers clean beaches and a number of nearby activities.
33174 State Park Rd., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78597, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $4

Recommended Fodor's Video

Museums of Port Isabel

For one entry fee you can see three different historic sites. The Point Isabel Lighthouse has been a local landmark since 1852 and is the only publicly accessible lighthouse on the Texas coast. The Port Isabel Historical Museum will illuminate the area's rich past, while the Treasures of the Gulf Museum highlights the riches found in three Spanish shipwrecks in nearby waters.
317 E. Railroad Ave., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78578, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $9, Tues.–Sat. 10–4., Closed Sun-Mon.

Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark

Are you and the kids growing weary of the saltwater in your eyes and the sand in your swimsuit? This popular park with two other Texas locations as well (Galveston and New Braunfels) offers chlorinated water relief. Highlights are a huge sand castle–themed play area and America's largest surfing machine. Schlitterbahn also has a swim-up bar and a restaurant. (You can bring your own cooler, but no glass or alcohol.)
33261 Park Rd., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78597, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $50.99, Closed Oct.–Mar

Selena Musuem

This small museum honors Selena Quintanilla Perez—known simply as Selena and considered by some to be the Mexican equivalent of Madonna—a wildly successful singer–songwriter during the 1990s who was murdered by a former president of her fan club. See her red Porsche, some of her favorite outfits, and other items that honor her memory and legendary career.

5410 Leopard St., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78408, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $3, Weekdays 10–4, Closed Sat-Sun.

Texas State Aquarium

Underwater adventure comes to life for all ages in an intimate educational environment that allows you to touch, watch, feed, and interact with hundreds of aquatic species. Interactive exhibits will introduce you to water-based tales from the Texas shore to the the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. If the weather is good be sure to pack the kids' swimsuits—they may get wet if the dophins get happy during their performance; even if they don't, the splash park will be waiting when the show is over.

2710 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78402, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $34.95, Daily 9–5

USS Lexington Museum

Retrofitted as a floating museum after 48 years of service, this World War II–era aircraft carrier is the most highly decorated in its class. Watch history take flight in a 3-D IMAX theater, then take a self-guided tour to explore nearly 100,000 square feet on 11 decks (which means lots of stairs) on which you'll see 20 aircraft on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation. Before you leave, strap yourself into a $180,000 fighter-jet flight simulator to take home an experience you'll never forget. Non-air-conditioned areas of the ship can get very warm during hot weather. Dress comfortably.

2914 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas, 78402, USA
sights Details
Rate Includes: $16.95, Labor Day–Memorial Day, daily 9–5; Memorial Day–Labor Day, daily 9–6