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Five Scenic Drives in the Texas Gulf Coast

Take a cruise along the coast

The Texas Gulf Coast — stretching from the Rio Grande River to the Louisiana border — and its inland communities offers adventure to driving enthusiasts. It’s time to gas up and hit the road.

A loop around Corpus Christi Bay

A drive around Corpus Christi Bay will take you past the many delightful sights of this coastal city. You’ll begin your drive downtown in the Bayfront, where you can stroll along the seawall. Drive south on Ocean Drive past stately historic homes, then make your way to South Padre Island Drive. Cross over the Laguna Madre — the body of water separating South Padre Island from the mainland — and then head toward Mustang Island, home to beautiful Texas beaches. Explore Port Aransas, or take the ferry back to the mainland. Follow the route outlined at www.stxmaps.com/go/scenic-drive-around-corpus-christi-bay.html.

Brazos Bend State Park

Leave the congestion of the Houston metro area behind, and head south on Highway 288 to FM 1462 West and then FM 762 North. Enjoy your drive to Brazos Bend State Park, a lush retreat filled with live oak trees covered in Spanish moss. This is gator country, so be cautious of any alligators you encounter. On Saturdays, you can stargaze at the George Observatory. Plan your visit at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/brazos-bend.

Surfside Beach to Galveston

For a true coastal adventure, follow County Road 257, the Bluewater Highway, from Surfside Beach to Galveston. Travel alongside the Gulf of Mexico toward San Luis Pass, a county park that offers bay fishing and beachcombing. Continue along FM 3005 to the tourist paradise of Galveston. This route is fully detailed at www.weather.com/travel/driving-scenic-drives/tx-bluewater-highway-20120420.

Texas industry and independence

Leave the glittering skyscrapers of downtown Houston behind as you travel along I-10 East toward Loop 610 or the Sam Houston Tollway. Cross the Houston Ship Channel, and take the Texas Independence Highway to La Porte. Exit at Independence Parkway/Battleground Road,and continue to the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, where on April 21, 1836, Sam Houston and his fellow Texas revolutionaries — crying “Remember the Alamo!” — stunned General Santa Anna and the Mexican Army into defeat. Plan your visit at www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/san-jacinto-battleground.

Sam Houston National Forest

Just one hour north of Houston you’ll find the Sam Houston National Forest, which offers more than 160,000 acres of recreation in a beautiful wooded setting. If you camp at Double Lake, drive through the woods along Forest Route 217 to the Big Creek Scenic Area. The Double Lake campground was built in 1937 by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

With sandy beaches and soaring skyscrapers, the Texas Gulf Coast is an ideal place to take a drive. Plot your route carefully, and you’ll discover many charming stops along the way.


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