Coastal Bend Tour Routes


Photo by Dottie Simmons

Loop 1 - Edna, Palacios, Port Lavaca, Port O'Connor, Victoria, Goliad

Goliad: Presidio La Bahia - 1 hour; General Zaragosa Birthplace -1/2 hour; Mission Espiritu Santo/Goliad State Park - 1 hour; Walking tour of the historic Goliad Courthouse Square - 3/4 hour; Market House Museum -1/2 hour; 1 site on Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail;

Drive 9 miles east via U5 59 to Fannin:
Fannin Battleground, picnic and visit the site of surrender of Col. James W. Tannin and his Command - 1-1/2 hour; Marks Ranch Emporium -1/2 hour; Coleto Creek Reservoir & Park - camping, boating, fishing, swimming, hiking l/2-3 hours; 1 site on Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail.

Drive 15 miles east via U5 59 to Victoria:
Driving tour of Old historic Victoria -1/2 hour; Texas Zoo, unique zoo of native Texas Animals- 1 hour; McNamara House Museum and Nave Museum at Riverside Park- 1 hour; Riverside Rose Garden - 1-1/2 hour;

Drive 26 miles east via U5 59 to Edna:
Texana Museum - 1 hour; Tour of old County Jail -1/2 hour; Lake Texana, picnicking, fishing - 1 hour;

Drive 26.4 miles via SH 111, SH 71 South 4.2miles, SH 35 South 12 miles to Tres Palacios Loop in Palacios:
11 Greater Coastal Texas Birding sites in the
Tres Palacios Loop, beautiful seawall for walking, three free lighted fishing piers, two free boat ramps, a nice bay for sailing.  Beautiful parks with playgrounds and picnic facilities. Visit the newly remodeled City by the Sea Museum and many historical sites.

Drive 28 miles SH35 to Port Lavaca:
Lighthouse Beach Park and Bird Sanctuary, wetlands walkway, sailing, fishing 1-2 hours;

Drive 14 miles to Indianola:
Lasalle Monument and old Cemetery Indlanola -1/2 hour;

Drive 18 miles east to Port O'Connor:
Board ferry to Matagorda Island State Park, hike and bike trails, 38 miles of natural beach, beach combing, civil war trenches, Fort Esparanza, pre-civil war lighthouse - full day; Board charter boat to tour the excavation of Lasalle's ship La Belle, oldest shipwreck found In North America, discovered 1995, recovery operation currently under way - 3-6 hours.

Drive 90 miles south via SH35 and SH181 to Corpus Christi.

Loop 2 - Beeville, Refugio, Woodsboro, Mathis, Choke Canyon

Photo by Dottie Simmons

Old San Patricio: Take FM 666 through Old San Patricio to Fort Lipantitlan, built in 1728, to the tree where Chipita Rodriguez, the only woman ever executed in Texas, was hanged. Then to the San Pat Museum - 1-3/4 hours;

Drive 11 miles north on 5M 666 to 5M 359 and turn right to Mathis/Lake Corpus Christi State Park:
After a drive-through at the State Park, take SH359 through Sandia to FM534 through Lagarto and Dinero to IH 37 to U5 59 - 1-1/2 hours.

Drive 44 miles north via US 37 and U5 59 to George West:
Visit Live Oak County Court- house - see the stuffed Longhorn Bull on display and visit the historic Buch West House and the Grace Armantrout Museum - 2 hours.

Drive 10 miles north via US 281 to Three Rivers:
Drive 12 miles west on SH72 to Choke Canyon State Park.

Lunch at the Nolan Ryan Steakhouse -1-1/2 - 3 hours.

Retrace drive on SH72 through Three Rivers to U5 59 and drive 18 miles east to Beevllle:
Take SH202 to US77A/183 to Beeville Art Museum - 2 hour. Then tour McClanahan House and visit Veterans Memorial Park - 1-1/2 hour. Visit the down- town shipping district and relax for lunch at McKitchen's Tea Room - 1- 2 hours.

Drive 35 miles east on CR202 and U5 77A/183 to Refugio:
visit Our Lady of Refuge Church and explore the historic Mission Nuestra Senora del Refuge "dig" to discover the "roots" of Refugio. Visit the Lions Club Park and discover the Green Kingfisher family in residence (rare bird alert). Restored colonial homes, antique shops and Anderson's Ag Store (with everything from saddles to birdhouses to cowhides) make Refugio a delightful place to stop -1-3 hours, 3 miles; 1 site on the Birding Trail.

Drive 6 miles south via U5 77 to Woodsboro:
Visit Dos Vaqueros Ranch or Twin Oaks Ranch for lunch or an overnight for a real "city slickers" experience and a wildlife tour- 2-24 hours;

Drive 17 miles east via FM136 to Bayside:
Take a break at Crofutt's Bakery and then meet nature up close and personal at Fennessey Ranch. Owned by the same family for 164 years, the ranch Is home to over 400 species of birds and a variety of native wildlife - 1-6 hours. Sites on the Birding Trail;

Drive 24 miles south via SH136 and SH181 to Corpus Christi

Photo by Dottie Simmons

Loop 3 - Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Fulton, Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, Mustang Island

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: Travel from CC via SH181 to SH35 to SH774 to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. Stop for breakfast or lunch at the Copano Provisioning Company on SH35. Visit the Park Information Center and take a driving tour of the Refuge - 2-4 hours, 16-mile loop within the Refuge. Sites on the Birding Trail;

Drive 30 miles south via SH35 to Fulton:
Tour the Fulton mansion - 1 hour. Be sure to see leaning, windswept live oaks along the way, Sites on Birding Trail;

Drive 2 miles south via Fulton Beach Road to Rockport:
Visit the Texas Maritime Museum and Rockport Center for the Arts - 2 hours. Birders will want to check out the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary and the Hummingbird Gardens - 1 hour. Enjoy the many unique shops, galleries, and restaurants- 1-3 hours. 8 sites on Birding Trail. Sport fishing, birding and sight- seeing charter boats to see the Whooping Cranes;

Drive 10 miles south, 10 minutes, via SH35 to Aransas Pass:
Explore the "Shrimp Capital of Texas." See Conn Brown Harbor with its fleet of shrimp trawlers, shrimp processing plants and the Seaman's Memorial at the harbor entrance. Downtown Aransas Pass offers restaurants and shops - 1-1/2 hours. Sites on Birding Trail.

Drive 7 miles south via SH361 and catch the free ferry to cross the ship channel to Port Aransas/Mustang Island:
Get hooked on this great fishing village. Shopping, restaurants and great beaches. Free trolley around the village. World class sport fishing, birding, and sight-seeing boats. Wetlands with birding trails and observation towers. 1-4 hours or all day.

Drive 35 miles, 1 hour to return via Ferry and SH361, SH35, and SH281 or via Padre Island SH361, Park Road 22, and SH358 to return to Corpus Christi. Sites on the birding trail.

Loop 4 - Sinton, Odem, Taft, Portland, Gregory, Ingleside, Aransas Pass

Roseate Spoonbill displaying golden tail rarely diplayed
Photo by Dottie Simmons

Portland: Drive north from Corpus Christi on US 181/SH35 10 miles, 10 minutes, to Portland. Birders will want to stop midway at the Indian Point Pier and Wetlands park. Northshore Country Club offers lunch and 18 great holes of golf along Corpus Christi Bay. 1 hour or more, 10 miles, sites on the Birding Trail.

Drive 15 miles east on SH361 to Ingleside:
Drive 2 miles east on SH361 to tour DuPont Plant (1st plant in the world to commercially produce SUVA, an ozone-safe alternative to freon). Drive to 1 mile east on SH361 to the OxyChem Plant (the world's largest producer of vinyl chloride monomer - for making PVC pipe). Drive 5 miles east on SH361 to tour US Naval Station Ingleside - the Homeport of the Mine Warfare Command of Excellence, the US Navy's largest mine warfare command in the world and homeport of 18 U5 Navy ships. Guided tours each Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Tour the historic Ingleside Museum. 4-6 hours, Sites on the Birding Trail.

Drive 5 miles west via 5M 361 to Aransas Pass:
Explore the "Shrimp Capital of Texas." See Conn Brown Harbor with its fleet of shrimp trawlers, shrimp processing plants and the Seaman's Memorial at the harbor entrance. Downtown Aransas Pass offers restaurants and shops. 1 hour, sites on the Birding trail.

Drive 16 miles west, 15 minutes via SH35 to Gregory:
Drive 8 miles west via US181 to Taft:

Visit the Blackland's Museum and learn why "Cotton was King." 3/4 hour.

Drive 8 miles west, 15 minutes via US181 to Sinton:
Explore bygone days in Sinton's antique stores. Then drive 7.4 miles northeast on SH77 to tour the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation and Museum, the world's largest private foundation dedicated to the conservation of native wildlife. Birders will want to include the Rob and Bessie Welder Park and Welder Park - 1-4 hours. 3 sites on the birding trail.

Drive 14 miles south, 15 minutes via US77 to Odem:
visit the Concrete Art Statuary Yard, 15 minutes.

Drive 19 miles south and east via US77 and IH3 to Corpus Christi.

Photo by Dottie Simmons

Loop 5 - Corpus Christi/Padre Island

Corpus Christi: USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier, most decorated ship in WWII - 1-2 hours; Texas State Aquarium, aquatic life of the Gulf Coast and Caribbean - 1 hour; International Kite Museum -1/2 hour; World of Discovery - Smithsonian Institution "Seeds of Change" Exhibit and the Ships of Christopher Columbus - the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria (authentic replicas built by Spain for 1992 Quincentennial Celebration) - 1-2 hours; Art Museum of South Texas - 1 hour; Historic Homes Tour In Heritage Park - 1 hour; Asian Cultures Museum, noted collection of Haikata Dolls - 1 hour; Art Center - 3/4 hour; Seawall walk with Miradores (7 miradores - scenic overlooks with historic info plaques) - 1 hour; Ocean Drive- bayfront residential area -1/2 hour; Dining and shopping downtown CC - 1-2 hours; Flagship Harbor Tour - 1-1/2 hours; CC Greyhound Race Track (afternoon or evening) live greyhound racing- 2-3 hours; CC Botanical Gardens, native plants, new $40,000 orchid collection and birding trails - 1-2 hours; SW Bell Telephone Pioneer Museum - 1 hour; Antique Bottle Collection -1/2 hour; Center for Hispanic Arts and Education - 1 hour; Various art galleries- 1-2 hours; Antique Stores - 1-2 hours; Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (primary flight training) and Corpus Christi Army Depot (America's largest helicopter maintenance facility) - 1- 2 hours; Padre Island National Seashore, visitor center; largest national seashore in world - 1-4 hours; 10 sites on the great Texas Coastal Birding Trail; golf, tennis, hunting, fishing, sailing, jet skiing, wind surfing, sea kayaking, and other water sports available.

Drive 25 miles south on SH358 to Padre Island:
North Padre Island offers several unique shops and restaurants for casual dining. Packery Channel Park is a noted birding area. Padre Island National Seashore occupies 80.5 miles of Padre Island, the longest barrier island in the world and stretches 150 miles from Corpus Christi to near Brownsville, Texas. Malaquite Beach Info Center and Museum (Park Ranger talks); Bird Island Basin - 2-3 hours. Site on Great Texas Birding Trail.

Drive 18 miles northeast via Park Road 22, SH358, Crosstown Freeway and IH37 to downtown Corpus Christi.

Loop 6 - Kingsville, Alice

Photo by Dottie Simmons

Kingsville: King Ranch Visitor Center, historical, agricultural and nature tours of the most famous ranch (National Historic Landmark) in Texas 825,000 acres, larger than Rhode Island - 2-hour to 4-day programs available; John E. Conner Museum - 1 hour; Shopping tour of downtown Kingsville (historic district), antiques, King Ranch Saddle Shop, arts/crafts, old fashioned soda fountain - 1 hour; Plato Opera House Tour (unrestored) - 1 hour; Carlos Coates' Capuccino Coffee Demonstration - 3/4 hour; Kingsville Naval Air Station, advanced jet training - 2 hours; Prewitt's Mesquite Saw Mill- 1-1/2 hours; Kraatz Cactus Gardens - 1-1/4 hours; Bynum's Big Game Trophy and Ostrich Ranch - 1-1/4-2 hours; Kleberg Park Nature Walk and Barbecue or Fish Fry -1/2 day; Kaufer Park Nature Walk and Barbecue or Fish Fry -1/2 day; Birdwatching and picnic at B-Bar-B Ranch Inn -1/2 day; 9 sites on Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail 1-4 Days; Elf, hunting, fishing available.

Drive 28 miles west via SH141 and SH281 to Alice:
South Texas Museum - 1 hour; Sites on Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail; golf, hunting, fishing available.

Drive 45 miles east via SH44 to Corpus Christi

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