With mild temperatures and plenty of sunny days, winter isn’t an indoor-only season in the Coastal Bend. But with so many museums, events, and outdoor activities, it can be hard to know where to start.
We’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of 15 of our favorite “wintertime” activities to help you plan your next day trip, outdoor adventure, date night, or vacation. Scroll through and explore the many options as we dive into winter in the Coastal Bend!
1. Catch an Islanders’ Game
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) is a powerhouse of athletic entertainment and regional pride in Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend area, and in the winter, fans flock to the American Bank Center in downtown Corpus to cheer on the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The TAMUCC Islanders have weeknight and weekend games from November to March, and sports fans of all ages will have a blast watching them take on rival universities from the Southland Conference.
2. Go Birdwatching
Port Aransas doesn’t let a hurricane stop it from enjoying the great outdoors; though this beach town was hit hard by Harvey, it quickly began picking itself up.
With its many coastal parks, stunning beaches, and waterfront seafood restaurants, Port A remains a popular destination. For those who love the outdoors, the Port Aransas Nature Preserves offers two-hour Guided Birding Tours on Saturday mornings.
Start your weekend off with a peaceful walk through some of the most beautiful and diverse natural habitats of the Coastal Bend.
3. Collect Original Art
If you’re always on the hunt for some art to add to your collection, or just need a really fancy serving dish, the town of Rockport invites you to enjoy its annual Bountiful Bowl Pottery Fair in February.
Over thirty potters exhibit and sell their art, and guests can enjoy hourly pottery demonstrations. There are door prizes and food vendors too, so bring the whole family! Proceeds from the auction and ticket sales benefit the local Meals-on-Wheels.
The 2018 fair will be held on February 10th, from 10am-4pm at the Rockport-Fulton high school.
4. Hit the High Seas
Join a crew of costumed pirate characters for a two and a half hour tour filled with storytelling, sword-fighting, treasure hunting, and dolphin spotting.
For pirates 21+, the Old Slurp & Burp Pub onboard includes a full-service bar. Winter tours run through January 29th.
5. Take an Art Class
The Port Aransas Art Center offers art classes during all seasons. Whether you’re a beginner or an artiste, check out one of the Watercolor classes, or stop by the Drop In & Draw class on Tuesday nights.
The Center also hosts monthly Wine, Whine, & Design events for a stress-free evening of wine and painting led by a local artist.
6. Explore Padre Island
All winter long you’ll see folks everywhere taking advantage of all the outdoor activities South Texas has to offer. Cyclists tour the picturesque scenery and friendly neighborhoods of Padre Island, anglers tote their coolers full of the day’s catch (possibly caught at local hot-spot, Bob Hall Pier), and foodies take in mouthwatering bites of local fare at one of the island’s many restaurants.
Of course, after a full day of island living, one must certainly wind down, and one of the best ways to do it is with a campfire on the beach or drinks and live music at the Pelican Lounge.
7. Go Horseback Riding on the Beach
Animal lovers will love exploring the South Padre Island coastline on horseback with Horses on the Beach. After your ride, there’s plenty of beach-combing to be done and seashells to be collected. Scour the sand for sea glass or hunt for the perfect piece of driftwood to ornament your lawn. You never know what treasures you’ll find on the beaches of the Coastal Bend!
8. Visit the Selena Museum
Selena Gomez is great, but in the Coastal Bend we’re all about Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the Tejano Reina. And the Selena Museum, located close to Downtown Corpus Christi, showcases the Quintanilla family production studio and an impressive collection of Selena’s awards, personal belongings, and her iconic fashion pieces.
This must-see is more than worth the $3 admission fee. The museum is popular year-round, so we recommend getting there early to beat the crowds.
9. Beach Comb at the Padre Island National Seashore
Your time in the Coastal Bend isn’t complete without a visit (or ten) to the Padre Island National Seashore. Protecting seventy miles of coastline, dunes, and prairies, the park is the longest expanse of undeveloped barrier island in the world.
This gorgeous park offers camping, fishing, hiking, and beach-combing year round. You might even catch sight of some newly hatched cold-stunned sea turtles being released!
10. Take in a Show
Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi provides residents and visitors with no shortage of culture and entertainment.
It’s Performing Arts Center opened in 2005 with a performance by Grammy-winning Tejano legend Freddy Fender and has been hosting world-class artists ever since.
Treat yourself to an evening of premier musical talent with 2018 events like the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, trumpeter Craig Morris, and the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.
11. Attend the Symphony
Speaking of music…who says the symphony is only for the royal family or your spinster aunt? The Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra (CCSO) has provided stellar musical entertainment for the Coastal Bend for seven decades!
Tickets range from $15-95, so an evening at the symphony is affordable for the whole family or a couple in search of an uber-classy date idea. Monocles optional.
12. Photograph the Whooping Cranes
The Coastal Bend doesn’t just attract human visitors and transplants from all over the country. Every winter the only migrating flock of Whooping Cranes winters here. These snowy white birds are highly endangered, and watching them walk along the coastline is a magical experience.
From November to April, you can take a ride on the Whooping Crane Boat Tours Wharf Cat through the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to view coastal scenery and observe the Whooping Cranes and many other birds that live among the barrier islands and reefs. Local naturalists narrate tours and observation decks offer Instagram-worthy shots!
13. Visit the Rialto Theater
Located in beautiful Aransas Pass, the Rialto Theater is a go-to for live theater, live music, and film shows. Drop by for Open Mic Tuesday and Happy Hour $3 beer, or grab tickets for a musical!
14. Gig Some Flounder
Fun fact: fishing for flounder is called ‘gigging.’ (Don’t worry, not all of us didn’t know that, either.) Well, turns out gigging is pretty fun, and with Nocturnal Assault Flounder Gigging Trips With Captain James Parbst you can give it a try! Leave the dock before sunset and have a nighttime adventure under the open skies of South Texas. Flounder like to hide in the sand, so you’ll use underwater lights to find them, be trained in gigging, then take your catch home for a delicious meal you caught yourself!
15. Experience a Ranch Hand Breakfast at King Ranch
Just an hour from Corpus Christi is Kingsville, home of Texas A&M Kingsville and (arguably) one of the most famous ranches in the south, the King Ranch.
At 825,000 acres, King Ranch is actually the largest ranch in Texas. Go big or go home, right? The King Ranch Museum is open daily and is a must-see for history buffs, gun aficionados, and vintage car lovers. The ranch also offers daily ranch tours.
Winter in the Coastal Bend is a lively mix of outdoor activities and community events. While the weather is usually mild and sunny, we don’t let a cloudy day get in the way of enjoying all the area has to offer. Long story short, no matter what your taste — beaches and boat rides or museums and music — the Coastal Bend will keep you entertained and active all winter long!