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Why This Beach Destination is a Fall Favorite

Still-warm weather and fewer crowds make beachcombing, birdwatching, and more in the Gulf Coast of Corpus Christi ideal for an autumn vacation.

A bird's eye view of a long, straight beach in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Enjoy beach days in Corpus Christi as the temperatures begin to cool elsewhere.

Courtesy of Corpus Christi

Experience Texas’ best-kept secret, Corpus Christi, and its more than 100 miles of sandy beaches in the fall when it’s less populated yet still has plentiful seasonal activities. With summer-like temperatures, autumn weather here is more than warm enough to sunbathe or simply enjoy being outdoors at a café, walking along the beach, or attending one of the area’s annual fall festivals. The pace is slower, the vibe’s relaxed, and the friendly locals seem even more welcoming and approachable.

Picnic on the beach along the Texas Gulf Coast

Level up your picnic game with a luxurious picnic on Whitecap Beach, Corpus Christi’s secluded, untouched stretch of shoreline known for its picturesque white sand. Pretty Picnics Corpus Christi does all the set-up—from rugs and a wooden table to complete place settings, including candles and a centerpiece—and offers several cakes, charcuterie boards, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and other options.

Go beachcombing at sunrise along Padre Island’s shores

The sun rising over the Gulf of Mexico from South Padre Island in Corpus Christi, Texas

Sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico from South Padre Island

Photo by Pete Alexopoulos/Unsplash

Treasures appear overnight along the shoreline, so to get the best pick of the seashells and sand dollars, arrive at the beach at first light while the tide’s still going out. You’ll be handsomely rewarded for setting your alarm as you discover one beautiful natural specimen after another out of the wet sand. Next, walk over to Island Joe’s, and treat yourself to coffee and kolaches, a Tex-Czech fruit-filled pastry.

Dine al fresco in Corpus Christi

Temperate autumn days mean enjoying Corpus Christi’s blue skies, salty breezes, and ocean views as much as possible, including eating outdoors at one of the area’s excellent restaurants with oceanfront panoramas. Harrison’s Landing, in the heart of Corpus Christi Marina, has an expansive patio at its floating restaurant and bar for full servings of “ocean views” along with your blackened redfish and shrimp.

The wrap-around deck at Snoopy’s Pier makes the local spot a consistent best-dining-on-the-water favorite among Corpus residents that serves freshly breaded fried fish, shrimp, and oysters.

Enjoy enchanting waterfront vistas with a side of twinkling city lights after the sun goes down from the deck at Doc’s Seafood & Steaks, where Texas-raised Angus beef shares the stage with fresh-caught shrimp, flounder, and other Gulf seafood delicacies.

See thousands of migrating birds in the Coastal Bend area

A long-billed curlew bed popping its head up over tall grass in Hazel Bazemore County Park, Corpus Christi, Texas

A long-billed curlew pops its head up in Hazel Bazemore County Park

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten/Unsplash

Named “America’s Birdiest City” for more than 10 years running, Corpus Christi and the surrounding Coastal Bend region attract hundreds of different species that stop over on their seasonal spring and fall migration. You’ll spot autumn’s regular guests: flycatchers, warblers, orioles, and buntings, along with thousands of ruby-throated hummingbirds, hawks, peregrine falcons, and others.

Plus, local species live year-round in the area’s diverse habitats, from Gulf beaches, salt marshes, and estuaries to woodlands and grasslands. For top hawk-watching, time your visit to coincide with the annual Celebration of Flight at Hazel Bazemore County Park at the end of September, where you’ll see flocks of raptors circling overhead, sometimes numbering in the thousands. In any case, pack your binoculars.

Attend one of Corpus Christi’s fall festivals

A woman singing into a microphone at the The Texas Jazz Festival in Corpus Christi

The Texas Jazz Festival

Courtesy of Visit Corpus Christi

If you like to travel for music, the arts, and culture, Corpus has a line-up of fall festivals you’ll love. Channel a Louis Armstrong vibe at the 63rd-annual Texas Jazz Festival at Heritage Park in October, the largest, longest-running free festival in the world, where you’ll hear soulful duos, bands, and soloists. Or listen to homegrown sounds from local artists at September’s Music Walk, a musical addition to the monthly Friday ArtWalk in the downtown Marina Arts District.

Raise your local brew-filled stein at Surftoberfest, a coastal take on the traditional German beer celebration. Held in the heart of downtown, at Water Street Market, the event brings more than 50 different brews from the area, warm pretzels, and a plethora of music to sample, too. Surf polka, anyone?

You’ll find plenty of colorful sugar skulls, known as ofrendas, and skeleton-painted faces at the Dia de los Muertos Street Festival, one of the top Day of the Dead celebrations in the country. In November, you can get a taste of the Mediterranean at the annual Greek Food Festival, where you’ll find homemade baklava, spanakopita, and even Greek beer—yamas!

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