Texas Coastal Bend

Texas Coastal Bend

Experience the Charm of Texas Coastal Bend

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Kay Keeton, Editor in Chief

Texas Coastal Bend is in the southern region of Texas, along the Gulf of Mexico. The Coastal Bend region of Texas covers a large area, spanning over 20 counties. It includes cities such as Victoria, Corpus Christi, Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas, and Padre Island, as well as numerous smaller towns and communities along the Gulf Coast. The area is known for its beautiful beaches, fishing, and outdoor activities.

If you’re looking for a unique travel destination, consider the Texas Gulf Coast Region. This region offers a diverse range of experiences, from stunning beaches and wildlife refuges to delicious seafood and cultural attractions. Whether you’re a nature lover, foodie, or history buff, there’s something for everyone in Coastal Bend Texas. Let’s explore some of the top sights, sounds, and flavors of this beautiful region.

Explore the Beaches and Water Activities

The Coastal Bend region of Texas is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. From the white sands of Padre Island to the secluded coves of Mustang Island, there’s a beach for every type of traveler. Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the world and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and over 380 bird species. It also boasts miles of pristine beaches, perfect for swimming, fishing, and surfing. Additionally, Padre Island National Seashore is a protected area where visitors can explore untouched dunes, wetlands, and grasslands.

horseback riding on Texas beach

Mustang Island is known for its pristine beaches, clear blue waters, and abundant wildlife. It is also home to the Mustang Island State Park, which offers visitors the opportunity to camp, hike, fish, and bird watching. Additionally, the island is a popular destination for surfing and other water sports. In addition to swimming and sunbathing, visitors can also enjoy a variety of water activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make for a perfect day on the water.

Mustang Island, named after the wild horses that once roamed its shores, has a rich history that includes early inhabitants such as the Karankawa Indians, European explorers, and settlers who farmed and ranched on the island. In the 19th century, ranches began to infringe on the mustangs’ habitat, and by the late 1800s, the herds of wild horses had disappeared from the island.

Today, Mustang Island State Park offers visitors a chance to explore the unique and fragile barrier island ecosystem while enjoying outdoor recreation and programs on the area’s history and nature. One popular activity is horseback riding on the beach, with several designated areas available for this unique experience. Visitors are reminded to respect the park’s rules and help protect the fragile environment by staying on designated paths, avoiding the dunes, properly disposing of trash and fishing lines, and not bringing glass onto the beach.

water park

There are several water parks in this region of Texas. If you’re looking for a fun way to beat the heat on the Texas coast, consider visiting Hurricane Alley in Corpus Christi and Beach Park at Isla Blanca (formerly known as Schlitterbahn Waterpark). Beach Park at Isla Blanca, located in South Padre, offers a variety of thrilling water rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. And while the park may have a new name and logo, the same great ownership and family-friendly atmosphere remain unchanged. So, grab your swimsuit and sunscreen and get ready for a day of fun in the sun at Beach Park at Isla Blanca! These parks offer a variety of water attractions and are popular destinations for families and tourists visiting the area.

Visit the Local Wildlife and Nature Preserves

Coastal Bend of Texas is not only known for its beautiful beaches but also for its diverse wildlife and nature preserves. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is home to the endangered whooping crane and offers visitors the chance to see these majestic birds up close. The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is another must-visit destination, featuring over 2,000 different plant species and a butterfly house. For those looking for a more adventurous experience, the Padre Island National Seashore offers miles of untouched beaches and dunes to explore.

The Coastal Bend of Texas region has been described in part as a native woodland ecosystem. However, its wildlife and fauna are dependent on a complex ecosystem. The Texas Coastal Bend ecosystem, which includes barrier islands and estuary-wetland systems along the Gulf of Mexico coast, is a vital and intricate ecosystem that offers numerous ecological benefits, natural resources, and socio-economic functions to the communities living along the coast. Natural Disasters as well as urbanization have a negative effect on these ecosystems possibly endangering the Texas Coastal Bend wildlife.

Texas Coastal Bend

Some highlights of the Texas Coastal Bend wildlife include the following:

Number One – Whooping Cranes

The Coastal Bend region of Texas is home to the largest wild flock of whooping cranes in the world. These majestic birds can be seen in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge during the winter months. They are an endangered species, with only around 500 individuals left in the wild.

2. Sea Turtles

The Texas coast is a critical nesting ground for several species of sea turtles, including the Kemp’s Ridley, the most endangered sea turtle in the world. Visitors can witness the nesting and hatching of these amazing creatures at Padre Island National Seashore.

The Texas Coastal Bend ecosystem plays a crucial role in the development of juvenile green sea turtles. The Gulf of Mexico, Laguna Madre, and Mansfield Channel waterways provide a nurturing habitat for these young turtles to grow and thrive. In fact, Texas beaches are considered the most important nesting grounds for green sea turtles, with a staggering 87% of all green sea turtle nests found in this region. It is essential that we protect and preserve this delicate ecosystem to ensure the continued survival of these magnificent creatures.

3. Dolphin Watching

The waters of the Texas Coastal Bend are home to several species of dolphins, including bottlenose and spinner dolphins. Visitors can take a dolphin-watching tour to see these intelligent and playful creatures in their natural habitat.

4. Birding

The Texas Coastal Bend is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 400 species of birds recorded in the area. The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail is a network of trails and sites that offer excellent birding opportunities.

5. Fishing

The Texas Coastal Bend is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, with a variety of species available, including redfish, trout, and flounder. Visitors can fish from the shore, or piers, as well as charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing adventure.

6. Wildlife Refuges

The Texas Coastal Bend is home to several wildlife refuges, including the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. These protected areas offer visitors the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife, including alligators, bobcats, and javelinas.

Baby Manatee

Baby Manatee

Where have all the Texas coastal sea cows gone? Having grown up in Texas and spending much time in the Texas Coastal Bend area I cannot help but miss the sea cows (manatees). As a child it was the most exciting part of a ferry boat ride in the gulf coast of Texas.


Manatees were once a relatively common sighting in the Texas Gulf Coastal waters, however, they are now rare to see in this region. Manatees can live up to 65 years in captivity but due to the loss of their natural habitat, algae blooms, and collisions with boats and barges, they are considered threatened by the NOAA. Once considered endangered they have in recent years risen in population in the Florida coastal waters.

Texas Coastal Bend Bay Areas

The Texas Coast – Coastal Bend Bay areas are divided into three distinct estuarial regions. The northern region, known as the Mission-Aransas Estuary System, receives inflow from the Mission and Aransas rivers and includes Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, Port Bay, St. Charles Bay, and Mesquite Bay.

In the middle section of the Texas Coastal Bend Bay system, the Nueces River Estuary System influences several distinct areas, including Corpus Christi Bay, Oso Bay, Nueces Bay, Redfish Bay, and the bay sides of Harbor Island and Mustang Island.

The southern section of the Texas Coastal Bend is unique, with tidal flows in the Upper Laguna Madre and hyper-saline waters of Baffin Bay. Baffin Bay was originally a valley formed by a small river system that drained into the Gulf of Mexico. Over time, rising sea levels flooded the river valley, and Padre Island formed as a barrier, effectively cutting off the area from the Gulf.

craft beer

Indulge in the Local Cuisine and Craft Beer Scene

Coastal Bend Texas is not only a feast for the eyes but also for the taste buds. The region is known for its fresh seafood, particularly shrimp and oysters, which can be found at local restaurants and seafood markets as well as being a part of the Great Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail.

For those looking for a cold beverage, the craft beer scene in Coastal Bend Texas is thriving. Local breweries like Lazy Beach Brewing and Lorelei Brewing Company, both in Corpus Christi, offer a variety of unique and delicious beers to try. Don’t forget to also sample the region’s famous margaritas and other refreshing cocktails while you’re there.

The Great Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail is a route that takes you through some of the best barbecue joints in Coastal Texas. The Coastal Bend region of Texas is known for its delicious barbecue, with the Great Coastal Texas BBQ Trail featuring some of the best in the country. The trail showcases hardworking entrepreneurs who wake up early to run their smokers all day and make homemade sides to keep their customers happy. These stops on the trail feel like backyard barbecues where everyone is welcome to sit down and share a beer. The Coastal Bend is also where Texas barbecue first began, with a rich history of cattle ranching and hunting for meat that would eventually become barbecue.

Located in the Coastal Bend region of Texas, the city of Victoria was founded in 1824 by Spanish Empresario Don Martin de Leon, making it one of the oldest cities in the state. With its stunning architecture, rich history, and exciting outdoor activities, Victoria is the perfect destination for anyone looking to make unforgettable memories in Texas. Victoria is one of the cities included in the Great Coastal Texas Barbecue Trail that covers much of the Texas Coastal Plains including the Coastal Bend region.

Victoria is just a two-hour drive from major cities like Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin which makes it easily accessible for visitors from all over. Visitors can explore the Museum of the Coastal Bend to learn about early settlers and their hunting techniques, as well as visit historic sites like Mission Espiritu Santo and Victoria’s historic homes. And after indulging in some delicious barbecue, nearby beaches like Magnolia Beach and Lighthouse Beach offer the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery. Victoria is about 20 miles from the gulf bay waters and approximately 50 miles from the gulf coast.

Bottlenose Dolphin

Bottlenose Dolphin [SOURCE]

Texas Coastal Bend Ecosystem and Dolphins

The Texas Coastal Bend (TCB) is home to common bottlenose dolphins, which play a crucial role in indicating the health and sustainability of the ecosystem. These dolphins also contribute significantly to the economy through ecotourism. However, the TCB dolphin population is facing threats from both human activities and natural disturbances, leading to their classification as an imperiled species by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. With the construction of desalination plants in the TCB, it is important to monitor the health and stress levels of the dolphins, as they are highly vulnerable to changes in salinity that can lead to disease and mortality. By establishing baseline data before construction and monitoring changes post-construction, policymakers can make informed decisions about the environmental impact of these infrastructure initiatives.

Texas Coastal Bend Counties Map

Texas Coastal Bend Map

Texas Coastal Bend Map [SOURCE] Wiki Creative Commons

In Conclusion, Coastal Bend Texas

In conclusion, Texas Coastal Bend is a beautiful and unique region with plenty to love. From the stunning beaches and wildlife to the delicious seafood and rich history, there’s something for everyone. Some of the top reasons to love Coastal Bend Texas include the warm weather, friendly locals, and endless outdoor activities like fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching.

Read more about Texas beaches here.

Manatee Art Work


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Mom and Baby Manatee – Made in the USA, using high-quality artist-grade canvas. Ready to hang!

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What are the top 10 reasons to love Texas Coastal Bend?

Top 10 reasons to love the Texas Coastal Bend: 1) Beaches, 2) Wildlife, 3) Fishing, 4) Birdwatching, 5) Seafood, 6) History, 7) Museums, 8) Art, 9) Festivals, and 10) Small Town Charm.

Kay Keeton, Ed.

Editor in Chief, Kay Keeton - Texas Lifestyle Expert. Kay is a designer turned author, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth-generation Texan, Kay is both an authority as well as being passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle. Kay is a content writer and editor of content for various local and national online publications.

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Texas Coastal Bend