Gateway to Padre Island National Seashore! Need more be said? Certainly, because from here on its all gravy. Corpus Christi is the Tropical Trail Region's largest city, a deep-water seaport brimming with restored (and tour-ready) Victorian homes including the 1908 French-Galvan House, culture, art, and floating (!) museums like the Museum of Asian Cultures with its stunning bronze Buddha and Chinese kites, the Art Museum of South Texas with its classic-to-modern permanent collection, and the U.S.S. Lexington—the decommissioned WWll naval aircraft carrier complete with a mega movie theater on board. Corpus is also home to a marine archeology fan's treasure trove at the Museum of History and Science with over 23 shipwreck collections, including items from Sieur de la Salle's 1686 ship, La Belle.
The city owes a lot of its success to its ideal location: a seat along the coast and at the mouth of freshwater Nueces River, something understood by General Zachary Taylor when he made his first encampment there after Texas Annexation and on his way to secure the border at the Rio Grande. Today, Corpus Christi is a hub for rail lines, a strategic spot for a naval air station, refining oil and gas, and, finally, the business of heritage and nature tourism. Business, in other words, is good. But as every beach bum statewide knows, the sun, sand, and surf are even better.