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This Gulf Coast Beach Escape Has Seafood Feasts and Laid-Back Vibes

Sail on a private yacht. Eat oysters with an ocean view. Find out why Corpus Christi is a favorite for travelers who want to relax.

A cloudy, empty beach with birds flying above in Padre Island, Texas

Padre Island, Texas

Photo by Brittani Burns/Unsplash

If your idea of going to the beach means taking it slow and leaning into the meditative rhythm of the crashing waves, calls of seagulls, and warm, salty breezes, Corpus Christi has you covered. The jewel of the Texas coast—Corpus, as locals call it—is known for its small-town, friendly atmosphere and offers plenty of easygoing options for travelers looking to simply unwind.

Say “Om” on the water in the Corpus Christi Marina

A woman practicing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard in Corpus Christi, Texas

Practice yoga on a stand-up paddleboard in Corpus Christi

Courtesy of JT Garza/Visit Corpus Christi

Balance your body and mind by connecting with the wind, water, and waves during a floating yoga class. WaterDog.CC offers SUP Yoga (i.e., on a stand-up paddleboard) at its floating yoga studio at Corpus Christi Marina, where wide, grippy paddleboards take the place of yoga mats. Accessible for yogis of all levels, the class takes you through basic postures before moving into a vinyasa flow, then wrapping up with everyone’s favorite, savasana or “dead man’s pose.”

Build a sandcastle on Padre Island

Treat your inner child to a playdate as you take your sandcastle skills to the next level with a private sand-sculpting lesson. Your instructor, national award-winning sand sculptor and Corpus’ own DC Sandman (aka Chip Cooper) has been building enchanting castles with the area’s vanilla- and cappuccino-hued sand for more than 30 years. Cooper usually sets up his castle-building sites on a 20-mile stretch of shore starting at Port Aransas in Corpus Christi, where the sand is smooth, untouched, and seaweed-free. Sand sculpture lessons are available for one or a group with plastic buckets and shovels provided.

Come sail away into the waters of the Gulf

Sailboats in the water at sunset in front of a pink sky in Corpus Christi, Texas

Sailing at sunset in Corpus Christi

Courtesy of Visit Corpus Christi

Let Captain Tom of Handsome Sailor Yacht Charters take you and up to five of your friends on a peaceful catamaran cruise while you relax. The captain offers a variety of private charter cruises, from two-hour trips to others that last all day, and they can be as Zen as you’d like.

Simply sail and sun yourself around the Gulf or embark on a mini-eco tour, which includes seeing dolphins in their habitat at Porpoise Point and stopping at a shell reef island for unforgettable beachcombing. The sunset cruise is especially tranquil, punctuated by sightings of native Texas Gulf birds, such as pelicans, roseate spoonbills, and sand cranes.

Order a flight of oysters at this classic Corpus Christi restaurant

A dish full of oysters in Corpus Christi, Texas

A selection of the Gulf’s distinctive oysters

Courtesy of Visit Corpus Christi

Although the oysters harvested along the Texas Gulf Coast are known for having a unique briny, sweet taste, Snoopy’s Pearl Oyster Bar offers more than 15 varieties of the prized bivalves from all over the world, so you can order a mix and taste the difference for yourself. But there’s more than oysters here. The extensive, seafood-focused menu specializes in “Gulf-to-table” dining, highlighting fresh, locally caught fish, shrimp, and more. Plus, it offers stunning views of the Laguna Madre from its outdoor patio deck.

Row, row, row your glow-in-the-dark boat through the Gulf

Is that a stingray swimming in the shallow inlets and bays of the Gulf at night? Flip a switch and find out, as the bottom of your transparent kayak illuminates in green, fuschia, yellow, or blue, revealing what’s underwater. GlowRow’s glowing kayaks offer close-up views of sea life without disturbing their natural habitat while giving you an experience you’ll never forget. Private guides, who’ll regale you with stories about the area’s history and wildlife as you slowly paddle through the water, lead these one-hour nighttime coastal tours.

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