One of the most popular things for locals to do when they have out-of-town visitors. This scenic drive around Corpus Christi Bay takes about an hour without any stops (unless the ferry is backed up) but you can easily spend all day.Of course, you can start and stop anywhere on the loop, but the most common route is start downtown on the Corpus Christi Bayfront. The Bayfront offers spectacular views of Corpus Christi Bay, the Harbor Bridge, the T-heads and more. At the north end of Shoreline Blvd is the new Bayfront Park and Splash Fountain.
You can begin your trip by driving south on Shoreline Blvd until it becomes Ocean Dr. Ocean Dr has large stately homes and great views of the bay. The homes will end right before you come to Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Turn right on Ennis Joslin Rd and follow the Oso Bay shoreline to reach South Padre Island Dr (SPID to the locals). Under and next to Ennis Joslin lies an ancient Karankawa Indian Burial Ground.
Turn left on SPID and head toward the Island. After you cross over the Oso Bay, you will drive through Flour Bluff and then across the Laguna Madre on the JFK causeway and bridge. Once you cross the bridge, you are on Padre Island. If you are hungry or just want a break, take a right at the base of the bridge and go to Snoopys for good food, cold drinks and a great view of the Laguna Madre.
Continuing on your journey, once you reach the light at State Hwy 361, turn left to go to Port Aransas, or you can go straight to take a side trip to Bob Hall Pier or the Padre Island National Seashore. After you turn on to Hwy 361, you will cross Packery Channel and then you are on Mustang Island.
Its about 17 miles to Port Aransas and the road runs parallel to the beach, so you can turn off on one of several access roads to get to the beach. Be careful where you park, most areas require a beach parking sticker. You can park for free south of Access Rd 2 and between the Port Aransas Jetties and Horace Caldwell Pier.
Once you get to Port Aransas, you can turn left on Ave G and then to Cutoff Rd to go straight to the ferry or take a little time to explore this unique beachfront community. The ferry is free and runs 24 hours a day. The ferry ride is a great place to watch for dolphins.
Leaving the ferry, continue on Hwy 361 to Aransas Pass. Along this road you will pass the Lighthouse Lakes and the flats of Redfish Bay. Once you get to Aransas Pass, continue straight to Harrison Blvd, turn right and then turn left on Wheeler. Wheeler is also State Hwy 35 and this will take you to Portland.
As you leave Portland, you will pass Sunset Lake and the Indian Point Pier on your left. Continue across the Nueces Bay Causeway to Corpus Christi.
As you approach the Harbor Bridge, look for the USS Lexington on your left. The Texas State Aquarium is near the Lexington. Once you reach the top of the bridge, you will have a spectacular view of Corpus Christi. Look down to your right for a great view of Whataburger Field. Continue back to Shoreline Dr and your trip is complete.