Just imagine it-350 miles of golden beaches, washed by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Stretching from South Padre Island and the Rio Grande Valley in the south to Beaumont and the Louisiana border in the north, this area encompasses more than just gorgeous beaches. You'll find amazing wildlife with some of the best bird watching in the country, outstanding theme parks and family attractions, and lively, vibrant cities just waiting to be explored.
The Gulf Coast is well known as a terrific fishing hotspot. Whether you're interested in beach fishing, pier fishing, or deep sea fishing, you'll find the perfect opportunity. Many of the coastal towns offer public, lighted piers for daytime and nighttime fishing for trout and redfish, and there are plenty of charter fishing companies waiting to take you into deeper waters for red snapper, kingfish, tuna, sharks, and enormous grouper. If you're new to angling, this is an ideal place to get started.
Water sports enthusiasts will find everything their hearts desire on the Texas Gulf Coast. Every water activity imaginable is available here, from sailing and canoeing to wind surfing and sea kayaking. Try your hand at parasailing or take an afternoon jet skiing adventure. You'll find water skiing, runabout boats to rent, and plenty of swimming in these turquoise blue waters.
Beginning at the northern end of this coastal region, Houston truly has something for everyone. In a short trip, you'll be on the Space Coast, ready for a visit to the NASA Space Center. Sports fans will love a visit to Reliant Park to see the MLB Houston Astros, the Houston Texans football team, or the championship Houston Rockets basketball team. You'll also find museums and historic attractions like the Battleship TEXAS State Historic Site, the San Jacinto Monument and Museum, and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum.
Houston offers incredible shopping at The Galleria, a popular mall and dining area. Kids will enjoy a trip to the Houston Zoo or the lively Kemah Boardwalk, and you'll find plenty of fast cars at the Houston Raceway Park. For wildlife and an escape into nature, pay a visit to the Big Boggy National Wildlife Refuge or the renowned Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens.
Farther south is the city of Corpus Christi and its stunning barrier islands. Spend a day exploring the 56,000-acre wilderness of Matagorda Island and Mustang Island State Park, a land of pristine beaches and clear, blue waters. This area is known for its bird watching, particularly at the world-famous Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Watch for Texas whooping cranes, egrets, herons, ibises, armadillos, and roseate spoonbills.
Explore the gorgeous coastal towns of Port Aransas and Port O'Connor, checking out the shops and restaurants, or visit the Victorian enclave of Victoria, a lovely place to take a walking tour. In Corpus Christi, the sparkling city by the bay, you can make day trips to the Texas State Aquarium, the Dolphin Connection, or the popular Heritage Park and Multicultural Center. You won't want to miss a chance to go fishing from Bob Hall pier or bird watching at Bird Island Basin.
To the south of Corpus Christi lies the birding and fun center of South Padre Island, Brownsville, and Port Isabel. This is a great place to play in the surf, enjoying the boat rentals and family centers of South Padre Island and the Padre Island National Seashore. You can take a picnic lunch to the historic Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historical Park, explore the Rio Grande river town of Mission, or hop across the boarder into Progreso, Mexico. Birders will love the five centers of the World Birding Center and the many species to see at the Los Ebanos Preserve.
The Texas Gulf Coast offers food and music festivals throughout the year, from the Great Texas Mosquito Festival in Clute to the Pasadena Strawberry Festival and Houston Traders Village Marketplace. Take in the Texas Butterfly Festival at the North American Butterfly Association International Butterfly Park, Charro Days in Brownsville, or the springtime Rockport Festival celebrating wine and vineyards. From the June Texas Shrimp Festival to the three-day September music festival of Bayfest, you'll find plenty of fun on this glorious coast.