If you want to travel several hours through Southeast Texas, then a Houston to Corpus Christi road trip may be in your future. You’ll be close to the Texas coast and within driving distance of other parts of the South, so you’ll be able to visit some great national historical parks and state parks. You’ll also go through some picturesque towns that hold interesting attractions of their own. This road trip from Houston to Corpus Christi requires only three hours of net driving, so it’s a nice road trip to take if you don’t want to go too far—unless you want to visit some of the nation’s best national historical parks, that is.
This part of the U.S. is not known for its national parks, so you’ll have to travel quite a bit if you want to visit some. However, the South has a rich history that is celebrated by a number of scenic, entertaining, and educational national historical parks that beg to be explored. Here are some of the highlights.
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park is actually comprised of six separate destinations spread throughout Louisiana, so it requires the most travel to reach. In Marrero is the Barataria Preserve, which is a 26,000-acre wetlands preserve that includes a visitor center with various exhibits. War buffs can visit the Chalmette Battlefield in Chalmette while those who want to learn more about the history of New Orleans can stop by the French Quarter Visitor Center. Those interested in Cajun culture can visit the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux.
Cane River Creole National Historical Park
North of Alexandria, Louisiana, is Cane River Creole National Historical Park. The main attractions here are Oakland Plantation and Magnolia Plantation, which are both intact cotton plantations. You can learn much about the fascinating history of what life on a Creole cotton plantation was like 200 years ago. Guided tours are available, but you can also explore locations like the enslaved person and tenant cabins and outbuildings on your own. A couple of gift shops are also located on the premises of Cane River Creole National Historical Park.
Natchez National Historical Park
Natchez National Historical Park is about five hours away from Houston in Natchez, Mississippi. The Mississippi River town of Natchez is rich in history, so it’s a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the diverse group of people who lived here over the centuries. Locations like Fort Rosalie, Melrose Estate, the William Johnson House, and multiple Civil War sites bring the vibrant history of Natchez to life.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is roughly three and a half hours west of Houston and an hour and 20 minutes north of San Antonio. At this historical park, you can learn about the lives of President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife. Johnson’s boyhood home, the Johnson Settlement, the LBJ Ranch, and a visitor center all provide interesting information about America’s 36th president.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is also three and a half hours west of Houston, but it’s located in San Antonio itself. Everyone remembers the Alamo, but fewer people know about the other historic missions of San Antonio. Mission San Jose, Mission Espada, Mission Concepcion, and Mission San Juan are all part of this unique national historical park. The Hike & Bike Trail is a 2.5-mile paved trail running along the San Antonio River that connects all four missions. Various local snakes, birds, and turtles are often visible along this easy trail.
Brazos Bend State Park
Fortunately, there are multiple state parks much closer to your route than the national historical parks on this list. Brazos Bend State Park is the first state park on your road trip itinerary from Houston to Corpus Christi. It’s only 45 miles away from downtown Houston, but it’s teeming with plenty of wildlife and trails. Hiking, biking, riding, and fishing are the most popular activities here; stargazing is also big thanks to the George Observatory on the premises.
Galveston Island State Park
Galveston Island State Park is about an hour from Sugar Land, but what’s a road trip from Houston to Corpus Christi without a stop by Galveston? This park encompasses roughly 2,000 acres of Galveston Island and is full of boardwalks, beaches, and bayside trails. Swimming, surfing, hiking, boating, and bird-watching are all popular here.
Goose Island State Park
Goose Island State Park is about 45 miles north of Corpus Christi, close to Aransas Bay and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. This park is famous for its bird-watching opportunities since numerous rare and endangered species can be found here. Fishing, hiking, and boating are some other things you can do at Goose Island State Park.
Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island State Park is about 25 minutes away from Corpus Christi on nearby Mustang Island. At this park, you’ll be able to take advantage of more than 5 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches. Great views of the Gulf of Mexico and lovely sand dunes make for some great photo ops. Kayaking and canoeing are big here; visitors especially enjoy boating on the 20-mile Mustang Paddling Trail.
Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Can you really take an RV road trip from Houston to Corpus Christi without visiting a place called Lake Corpus Christi State Park? Lake Corpus Christi is actually more than half an hour from Corpus Christi itself, but you won’t be disappointed in the scenery when you get there. This 25-acre lake is superb for catfish fishing, and the trails are excellent places to spot birds and other types of wildlife.
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Half an hour from downtown Houston is the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Permanent exhibits at this museum include the Hall of Technology, Space Science, and the Hall of Paleontology. There are currently some special exhibits on display, some of which are the Robot Zoo, Augmented Reality, and the Dig Pit.
Rosenberg Railroad Museum
The next stop on your road trip itinerary from Houston to Corpus Christi is the Rosenberg Railroad Museum. At this hidden gem in Rosenberg, you can tour a restored railroad car called the Quebec, an operational railroad tower named Tower 17, and a MoPac caboose. The museum building itself houses a batch of railroad memorabilia, artifacts, and historical exhibits.
El Campo Museum of Natural History
Down the road in El Campo is the El Campo Museum of Natural History. Many of these exhibits feature big-game trophies donated by a local couple. Some of the exhibits at this museum are the Rocky Mountain Exhibit, the Arctic Exhibit, the Jungle Exhibit, and the Africa Exhibit.
The Texas Zoo is located in Victoria, which is about an hour and a half away from Corpus Christi. More than 100 species call this zoo home; they range from the exotic and endangered to the common native. In addition to being able to view these animals, you can have encounters with jaguars, black bears, and other animals.
Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center
There is no shortage of bird-watching opportunities on this Houston to Corpus Christi road trip, but you’ll have a hard time coming up with a place that gives you such easy, ready access to so wide a variety of species. You can walk along a 700-foot boardwalk that allows you to explore the wetlands, and you can also observe from a native pollinator garden at this center in Port Aransas.
Sugar Land is right outside of the Houston area. It’s less than 30 minutes into your road trip from Houston to Corpus Christi. Some local attractions include the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Fort Benning Children’s Discovery Center.
Rosenberg is about 40 minutes outside of Houston. It’s a railroad town close to the Brazos River. Places to visit include the Rosenberg Railroad Museum and the Black Cowboy Museum.
You can find El Campo about an hour and 11 minutes outside of the Houston area. It’s only two hours from Corpus Christi, so it’s roughly a third of the way into your Houston to Corpus Christi RV road trip. The El Campo Museum of Natural History and Lost Lagoon are some favorite local attractions.
Victoria is halfway between Houston and Corpus Christi. It’s a fairly large town, so there are multiple campgrounds in the area. You may want to drop by the Victoria County Courthouse and the Texas Zoo.
Portland is the last city on your road trip itinerary from Houston to Corpus Christi. Some great local places to go are Sunset Lake Park and Violet Andrews Park. It's also a good time to clean out your rig at one of the many Texas dump stations nearby.