GASP! Gulf Area Sea Paddlers

Sea Kayaking the Bays Around Corpus Christi

By Ken Johnson

Corpus Christi has fantastic kayaking. Warm weather year around, and great diversity on Gulf, Corpus Christi Bay, Laguna Madre (between Padre Island and the mainland), rivers through wildlife refuges, and even lakes. Here 16 easy day-trips. If anyone is interested in kayaking Corpus Christi, I would be glad to show you around and get you started. Send me email

  1. Laguna Madre with calm shallow water area, protected from east/west winds. Launch from Padre Island side of SPID bridge to Padre Island (firm sand and clear water launch) and paddle around bird nesting areas, shrimp boats, small marina, waterfront homes along Padre Island on the Laguna side. Or paddle south on the Intra-coastal Waterway (which will have sailboats, powerboats, and possibly a tug and barge), across the Laguna Madre to explore the King Ranch, and then stop at Snoopie's or Frenchies for waterfront drinks/dinner before taking out kayaks at SPID bridge. 6 to 20 miles depending upon course.

  2. Emerald Cove and City Bayfront with shallow water launch on sandy beach in front of Holiday Inn on Emerald Cove. Protected from north/south winds. Paddle north past city bayfront and yacht basin, past Bayfront Plaza, by the Bay Bridge, past the Aquarium, around Lexington Aircraft Carrier, northeast along Corpus Christi beach by beachfront condominiums to Portland Bridge, and back across the bay (good chance of dolphins). See city skyline and yacht harbor from the water, bird nesting islands, and beachfront. Good chance of seeing sailboats, powerboats, and ocean tankers/freighters in the channel to Corpus Christi harbor. 10-20 miles depending on course.

  3. Cole Park to Corpus Christi University. Launch at Cole Park on sandy beach protected from south/west winds. Paddle southeast along beautiful homes along Shoreline Drive, past waterfront Condominiums, to University and back. 12 to 30 miles depending upon course.

  4. Portland-Ingleside. Launch from Portland (15 miles from CC) on firm sandy beach, protected from north/east winds. Paddle southeast by Ingleside marina, around Ingleside Naval Shipyard, explore islands in Redfish Bay, return by Gulf Oilrig Repair Yard. 15 miles paddle.

  5. Rockport-Fulton. Launch from Rocklport Marina (40 miles from CC) on sandy beach protected from north/west winds. Paddle northeast by Rockport marina and beaches, beautiful waterfront homes, into Fulton Shrimp Boat harbor, and have lunch at restaurant on the bay. 12 mile paddle.

  6. Aransas River. Launch from Bayside-Woodsboro road (40 miles from CC) on calm riverwater protected from all winds. Paddle north or south for good view of isolated refuge birds, alligators, deer, and wild pigs. 10-20 miles paddle.

  7. Shamrock Cove on Padre Island. Launch from Wilson Cut (30 miles from CC) on muddy landing but calm protected waters, and paddle past remote bird-nesting islands. Best birding area. 10 mile paddle.

  8. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Whooping Crane Tour. Launch from Live Oak Point at bridge across Copano Bay (45 miles from CC) and paddle in Intracoastal Waterway between Matagorda Island and Aransas Wildlife Refuge to Mustang Lake. 30 mile paddle. Only 12 mile paddle if only paddle northeast to Goose Island, Blackjack Point, and Bird Point.

  9. Port O'Connor Matagorda Island State Park. Launch at Port O'Connor (80 miles from CC) and paddle southwest past various bird-nesting islands to Matagorda Island State Park (only reached by boat). 15 mile paddle each way. Can camp overnight on Matagorda Island which is deserted (only airstrip remains from when it was an Air Station).

  10. Copano Bay. Launch from Live Oak Point at bridge across Copano Bay (45 miles from CC) in protected waters. Paddle north under bridge, past Redfish Point, Newcomb Point, to Palmeto Point. Return via Goose Island State Park. 12-mile paddle.

  11. Bird Island Basin. Launch at Bird Island Basin on Padre Island National Seashore (33 miles from CC) and paddle 6 miles to Green Hill sand dunes. Isolated area for birds, cayotes (and rattlers) with beautiful isolated dunes and beach. Protected shallow water. 12 mile paddle each way (can camp overnight).

  12. Seadrift Guadalupe Bay. Launch at Seadrift (65 miles from CC) and paddle northwest in protected waters to see alligators and natural wildlife. 10 mile paddle.

  13. Nueces river. Launch at Nueces State Park (20 miles north of CC) in protected waters. Paddle north for quiet isolated bird watching in heavily wooded areas on both sides of river.

  14. Lake Corpus Christi. Launch at Lakeside (40 miles northwest of CC). 10 mile paddle. Nice homes along lake, wooded.

  15. Gulf beaches on Padre Island. Can drive 8 miles on the beach and if waves are under 4-feet, can surf the waves on the beach or paddle out in the Gulf.

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