7 Best Beaches in Corpus Christi for Families


The beaches in Corpus Christi are some of the best in the nation!

Whether your family is native to Corpus Christi, you’ve recently moved here, or you’re just looking for some fun, summer is right around the corner.  DON’T WORRY!  This isn’t about how you need to tone up, or buy a new swimsuit.  It’s about where to do your beach-going in the Coastal Bend. These beaches don’t care if you are “summer-ready” or not.  They just want your toes in their sand!

Since there are more than a handful in and around the Coastal Bend, it can be hard to know just where to go.  So, I’ll break it down for ya.

Best Beaches in Corpus Christi

The truth is that the Coastal Bend has a LOT of beaches that are accessible to the public. Some are a bit more remote than others, so we’ve put together this list of the 7 best Coastal Bend area beaches that are perfect for families.

These beaches are family-friendly and have close access to facilities such as food and restrooms.

But more importantly, they offer a safe, fun place for your family to enjoy the sounds of the waves and the seagulls – and to soak up that South Texas sun!

*note: Coastal Bend beaches require a beach pass. For beaches around Corpus Christi and Padre Island, you can buy the $12 beach passes at local HEBs, gas stations, and at the beach itself. For places like Rockport and PINS, you’ll need to buy a pass at the entrance to the beach. Prices vary.*

Here are 7 of the best beaches for families in the Coastal Bend:

Whitecap Beach

Whitecap Beach is named after the white sands you’ll find at one of the Coastal Bend’s most popular beach areas. There are many hotels, resorts and Air BnBs in the area, some of which you can walk directly onto the beach from.

Stretching from Whitecap Beach to South Packery Beach is the mile-long Padre Island Seawall which protects many hotels and resorts. The seawall offers a sand-free path for biking, jogging, or walking along the beach. Midway along the seawall is the Michael J. Ellis Beach which offers free parking, clean facilities, showers and dressing rooms. There are also lifeguards posted along the way, and this area of the beach is ADA accessible.

The Beach at Rockport

Ask someone where to go to the beach in the Coastal Bend, and many times Rockport will be suggested. The beaches there are always clean and well maintained. There are FREE shade huts so that you don’t have to bring your own tent. Rockport is also a very laid back community; you’ll often find families and retirees at the beach, which makes it a nice place for a family beach day.

Once the kids get tired of the beach, there’s also a huge pirate ship playground for them to play at!

The Beaches at Port Aransas

If you are looking for a tourist experience, even if you’re not a tourist, Port Aransas beach is the place to be. If we have the time, my family will make the drive to the stretch of beach in Port Aransas. 

These beaches are beautiful, and the town is quaint. The sand is soft and beautiful, and the water is warm and clean. The air is oh so breezy. It’s one of the perfect places to pull up a fold-out chair and just relax. You’ll thank me later.

young boy playing with toys in the beach water

The Beach at San Jose Island 

San Jose Island beach is adorable! It is PERFECT for those of you who want to avoid the crowds.  AND you get to take the Jetty Boat to get there!  This little boat is so much fun and the kids will love it!

Since there is hardly any foot traffic on this beach, the shells are perfect.  They aren’t trampled on or picked over.  You can even find whole sand dollars.  It truly is amazing.  Watch your kiddos walk up and down the beach for hours just picking up seashells. 

Plus, there is the fishing.  Dads.  Do you want to fish AND take your kids to the beach?  Well, here you go.  Wade fishing at its finest.

a man fishing on the beach in corpus christi
several toddlers playing in the water at the beach

Mustang Island Beaches

Mustang Island beaches are, by far, a family favorite for us.  The water is almost always beautiful and you can drive on the beach and pick the perfect spot for your brood.  Bring toys, food, grills, and ice chests; stay the day, the night, or the week; make a fire, and set up a tent! 

The possibilities are endless on this beach. Located just about 20 minutes south of Corpus Christi, Mustang Island can get busy during peak seasons, but it is never so busy that you can’t find a spot to park and enjoy yourself. 

There is more than one access road that’ll get you to the water, so you have miles of beach to choose from!2 young boys running towards the beach water


McGee Beach on Shoreline Boulevard in Corpus Christi

McGee Beach is one of Corpus Christi’s better beaches.  It is routinely maintained and almost right in the heart of downtown.  It is backed by several highly-rated hotels and gives you a beautiful view of the bay. 

There are numerous restaurants nearby for those grumbly tummies.  The water is shallow and perfect for the kids to play in.  Not only is there a beach, but just across the street there are playgrounds for when the sand gets “boring.”

If you don’t want to leave Corpus Christi’s downtown area, but still want to get that beach experience, then McGee Beach is the beach for you.

3 young children sitting on the boardwalk at corpus christi beach

Bonus: Padre Island National Seashore (PINS)

While the Padre Island National Seashore isn’t the closest beach, it is one everyone should experience. Protecting sixty-six miles of wild coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, this narrow barrier island is home to one of the last intact coastal prairie habitats in the US. The seashore offers the opportunity to camp, fish, bird watch, swim, look for seashells and more.

It is suggested that you have 4 wheel drive to drive onto the beach, especially if you want to make it to the southern most tip. Make sure you double check the weather and tides before going out; help is few and far between out there, and cell signal is spotty. There is a parking lot when you first get onto the seashore for those that do not have 4 wheel drive, or feel comfortable driving onto the beach.

Little Shell Beach is approximately 25 miles south of the entrance to PINS. There you’ll find what the name says, little shells. If you drive for a few more miles, you’ll find Big Shell Beach where you’ll find bigger shells, as well as bird skulls and animal bones.


Whether you just moved here or you are simply visiting the Coastal Bend, we hope your family finds some quality fun-in-the-sun time at one of these Corpus Christi area beaches!

Don’t forget the sunscreen and stay hydrated! If you are new to the area, the South Texas sun can be brutal and we don’t want a little sunburn to ruin your visit!

Happy Beach-ing!

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Rachel is so excited to be here! Originally from Colorado, she moved to Texas as a youngin and never left. She moved to Corpus Christi with her little family 4 years ago and they love it. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom, Rachel is a full-time graduate student at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, where she is working on her Masters in Counseling Psychology. She hopes to becomes an LPC in the clinical and mental health field. Rachel and her husband of almost 10 years have 3 beautifully and equally boisterous boys {ages 7, 5, and 1 1/2}. When Rachel isn't studying or trying to figure out what to make for dinner, she spends much of her time wondering where that puddle on her floor came from and who hit who first. In any down time she has, she enjoys running, crocheting, reading, and googling new dinner ideas. Her life keeps her on her tippy-toes but she wouldn't have it any other way!


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