The Absolute Best Camping Near Corpus Christi

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: October 5, 2022
© Isabelle Kuehn/
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Right on the Gulf of Mexico is the mid-sized city of Corpus Christi, Texas. If you want to camp directly on the sandy shores of the Gulf, or maybe you want a resort-like campground closer to downtown, Corpus Christi has a little bit of everything. Make time to visit the Texas State Aquarium, USS Lexington naval aviation museum and Padre Island. Downtown also has art museums, shops and fine dining options. Read on to find out the absolute best camping near Corpus Christi!

1) Padre Island National Seashore: Malaquite Oceanfront Campsites

Oceanfront camping sounds exotic but you can do just that at Malaquite Beach on the Padre Island National Seashore. There are campsites for RV’s and tents right along the shoreline with a sand dune between the campsite and ocean. But you can set up your tent right on the beach and stay for up to 14 days. The Gulf shoreline is great for swimming, beach combing (great shells and sea glass) and fishing. Surf fishing is great right from shore where you can find flounder, speckled trout and redfish.

During the summer you can try to watch one of the public sea turtle hatching. Park Rangers move Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nests to the beachfront at Malaquite Beach to increase the chances of their survival. Throughout the summer the nests are monitored and their “due dates” are followed so that public viewings of the turtles hatching and scooting into the ocean can be viewed. It is quite a sight! Watching baby sea turtles is just another reason that makes this one of the absolute best places to camp near Corpus Christi.

LocationSE of the downtown area out on Padre Island, ½ mile north of the visitor center
Distance from40 min (35 miles)
RV sitesYes, Paved with picnic tables separated from the beach by dunes
Tent sitesYes, either camp at the paved RV sites or you can set up your tent right on the beach!
Picnic Tables at each siteYes, some have shaded tables
Fire Pit at each siteNo, some have grills
AmenitiesFlush toilets, cold-rinse showers, water station
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNo, first come first serve
What makes it one of the bestBeachfront camping on the Gulf!
Sea turtle hatchlings on the sand
If you visit Malaquite Beach on the Padre Island National Seashore during the summer, you can attend a public sea turtle hatching event.


2) Mustang Island State Park

Another oceanfront campground is further north on the island which has RV/tent sites with water and electric hookups. The sites are set back from the ocean but only about 400 yards (think four football fields) to the water. Definitely close enough to fall asleep to the sound of ocean waves. The park has restrooms and hot showers to make for a comfortable stay.

Take a morning jog along the five miles of sandy shoreline and watch for dolphins off the shoreline. Then load up your fishing gear in your kayak to explore the Mustang Island Paddling Trail where there is excellent fishing in the Corpus Christi Bay. There are three different loops for fishing, birdwatching and just enjoying the float. Anglers report catching good-sized drum (red and black), jacks, sheepshead, flounder, catfish and speckled trout. After an afternoon of paddling head to the beach for a relaxing time of sunbathing, swimming and picnicking right on the beach.

LocationSE of downtown on the northern half of Padre Island
Distance from downtown25 min (26 miles)
RV/tent sites48 sites, electric and water hookups
Tent sitesYes
Picnic Tables at each siteYes, covered
Fire Pit at each siteNo, no fires are allowed at the campsites but you can have campfires on the beach
AmenitiesRestrooms, hot showers
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestBeachside camping with amenities!
sheepshead fish
You can fish for sheepshead fish in Corpus Christi Bay.


3) Corpus Christi KOA Journey

If you want resort-like amenities but you also enjoy camping the Corpus Christi KOA is a great place to spend the week (or longer!). The campground is on a peninsula in the bay with the Laguna Madre Bay on one side and the Montego Cove on the other. Many of the campsite back-in to the waterfront with palm trees scattered throughout the park. Sites are pretty close to one another but each site has ample room for pull-outs and overhangs. The park has lots of amenities on site with a swimming pool, sandy beach and kayak rentals all right there.

Spend time exploring downtown Corpus Christi like the Texas State Aquarium where you can see a replica of an underwater Spanish shipwreck based on the Caribbean sea with reef sharks like the sandbar shark, great barracudas and southern stingray. The Aquarium also has a dolphin bay, otter creek and Tortuga Cay with sea turtles. Back at the KOA you won’t see any sandbar sharks but you might have a heron, egret or seagull visit the shoreline. If you plan to spend much of your time outside while camping then this KOA that is only 25 minutes from downtown is a great option.

LocationSE of downtown right on the Laguna Madre Bay
Distance from downtown25 min (20 miles)
RV sitesYes, pull-thru and back-in with full hookups, some on the Laguna Madre Bay and some on the Montego Cove
Tent sitesYes, 4 sites on the bay, water/electric with a concrete patio
CabinsNo, but 1 vacation rental, 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with a patio
Picnic Tables at each siteYes, some have patio tables and 4 chairs and a nice concrete patio
Fire Pit at each siteSome but not all
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, swimming pool, sandy beach, playground, kayak rentals, camp store
Pet FriendlyYes, Kamp K9 dog park and some sites have individual outdoor “Paw Pens” for your dogs
What makes it one of the bestBayside camping with really nice amenities.
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
At the Corpus Christi KOA Journey, you’re likely to see heron, including great blue herons like this one.

©Brian Lasenby/

4) Lake Corpus Christi State Park

For a classic “camping in the woods” experience drive about 40 miles NW to Lake Corpus Christi State Park. The recreational Corpus Christi Lake is one of the largest lakes in Texas and draws visitors from near and far for boating, jet-skiing, sailing, swimming and fishing. There are two fishing piers that you can fish off for crappie, blue catfish, channel cats and white bass. You can see the old refectory building built by the Civilian Conservation Corps Company back in 1934/1935 when the park first opened.

The campground has a variety of camping experiences with tent sites, RV sites, cabins and screened shelters. Some of the RV sites have full hookups and include a picnic table, fire ring and grill. The sites are spread out through the lakeside campground in several loops with many of the sites right on the lake. You can see why this is one of the absolute best places to camp near Corpus Christi!

LocationNW of downtown on Lake Corpus Christi
Distance from downtown40 min (40 miles)
RV/Tent Full hookupYes, 26 sites
RV/Tent ElectricYes, 23 sites
RV/Tent WaterYes, 59 sites
Cabins10 cabins for rent, two twin beds, A/C and electricity
Screened Shelter15 shelters, two twin beds, electricity
Picnic Tables at each siteYes, some covered
Fire Pit at each siteYes and grill
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestClassic camping experience near the lake.
Blue Catfish
Corpus Christi Lake is a popular place to go fishing for a variety of fish, including blue catfish.

©M Huston/

5) Hatch RV Park

At the other end of the spectrum if you want to stay right in downtown Corpus Christi for some urban camping then staying at the Hatch RV Park might be for you. If most of your time will be spent visiting the museums, shops, restaurants and night clubs then you will be right in the heart of downtown. You will be close to Whataburger Field, Bayfront and Marina and the Arts District.

The park itself has room for large RV’s up to 85’ with some sites being pull-thru and others back-in. Enjoy time at the swimming pool or relax in the spa. There is a camp store on site for all your necessities and a nice dog park for your pups. The Hatch RV Park makes for a great home base for exploring the Corpus Christi area.

LocationSouth of Hwy 37, West of 286
Distance from downtownIn downtown
RV sitesYes, pull-thru and back-in with full hookups, can accommodate large RV’s up to 85’
Tent sitesNo, not availalbe
CabinsNo ,but 2 RV rentals available
Picnic Tables at each siteThroughout the park
Fire Pit at each siteNo
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, laundry, swimming pool and spa, camp store
Pet FriendlyYes
What makes it one of the bestAn urban campground close to everything!
CBD for dogs
Hatch RV Park features a nice dog park, so you can bring your furry best friend camping.


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Green Sea Turtle swimming along tropical coral reef, Bonaire
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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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  1. National Park Service, Available here:
  2. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Available here:
  3. KOA, Available here:
  4. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Available here:
  5. Hatch RV, Available here: