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Best Winter Activities on the Gulf Coast

Rockport is known for having mild winter weather and a great small town vibe. If you want to relax on the beach and enjoy beautiful coastal scenery, this is the place to visit. The winter offers the opportunity to go explore while other states are covered in snow. Here are just a few of the best activities and winter trips to consider in the area.


Walk the Beaches


The Rockport City Beach is a great starting point and it’s far from the only sandy beach around. You will find some long beaches that are perfect for picnics, long walks and beach combing. Winter is the perfect season for low crowds and easy warm days. Take a walk on the local public beach or hit one of the huge wildlife refuges or public islands where the beaches extend for miles.


Visit a Wildlife Refuge


Speaking of wildlife refuges, the immediate area around Rockport is loaded with public lands. The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge offers over 100,000 acres of protected area. You can drive the auto tour route or stretch your legs on the trail systems. Many visitors come in winter specifically to watch the Whooping Cranes here. There is no camping in the refuge but it’s so close to town that you can daytrip right from Coastal Breeze. The Suter wildlife refuge is another option just south of Aransas Bay. You can still view Whooping Cranes and search for dolphins, fish and other marine wildlife without entering an actual refuge as well. Aransas Bay and Copano Bay are both full of wildlife and places to explore. You will also find great parks like Goose Island State Park that have great public access with low crowds. Rent a boat or launch a kayak to navigate through the calm waters of each bay. The bays are protected by barrier islands that shield from heavy ocean currents. This unique ecosystem is rich with wildlife and fish.


Take a Trip to the Big City


Rockport is ideal for laid back days on the coast but every now and then, a trip to Corpus Christi is a nice way to find new restaurants and get that big city feel. The town has an arts and museum district, great climate and a ton of places to visit. The Padre Island National Seashore is full of beaches and offers easy access only a few miles from downtown. Anyone wanting to experience the beauty of barrier islands on the gulf coast should consider visiting this one. You can also book a fishing excursion, visit museums and enjoy the vibrant nightlife in the city as well.


Take a Side Vacation to Big Bend National Park


The one isn’t on the Gulf but Big Bend National Park is stunning during the winter months. Big Bend has big canyons and mountains on the Rio Grande River. If you want to catch a national park during the off season while still enjoying nice weather and remote places, take the trip here. Hiking and even boating on the river are all possible during the winter. The driving routes through the park are also excellent and they offer stunning views that you will never forget. The nights can get fairly cold but camping remains possible year-round. The winter’s days will still hit the 70’s, making for very comfortable weather. It’s actually better for hiking than summer when the temperatures are extremely hot. After exploring the park all day, consider staying at one of the campgrounds. You can find everything from tent sites to spaces with full hookups. The park is very large and camping for at least a few nights is recommended. If you are really lucky, the park will see a dusting of snow. The snow contrasts with the red rocks in a brilliant fashion and it only happens during the winter months.


Catch a Wave


The Texas coast is underrated for surfing and there are some great spots. The locals keep these places quiet so do some exploring and follow the traditions of keeping the best surf to yourself. When the conditions are right, surfers will find some incredible waves on friendly beaches. Look around for lessons and rentals to get started in the sport of surfing. There are plenty of beginner friendly beaches. The ocean waters are not terribly cold during winter but most surfers will still require a wetsuit for the prolonged swimming sessions. If you want to take a quick dip in the water however, it typically remains in the 60’s throughout the winter months.