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Relax at Mustang Island Beach and State Park

Mustang Island is a beautiful, family friendly beach with the softest and whitest sand you’ll find in the Coastal Bend. Staff photo by JoAnna Kopp

For the whitest sand in the Coastal Bend, visit Mustang Island Beach and State Park. This unspoiled barrier island stretches 18 miles from Corpus Christi north to Port Aransas.

The park was originally called “Wild Horse Island,” and then “Mustang Island,” after the wild horses that were brought there by the Spaniards in the 17th century. The island was originally inhabited by the Karankawa Indians until the early 1800s.

While wild horses no longer roam the beach these days, plenty of still other wildlife call Mustang Island home. Look for crabs, stingrays and a multitude of different birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. You might also spot an occasional jellyfish, so read our tips to know what to do when jellyfish get too close.

Five miles of the beach is free and open to the public — all you need to visit this section is the required beach-parking permit, which can be picked up from area Stripes stores and H-E-B’s. Most of this part of the beach is part of Port Aransas and maintained and patrolled by the city.

Mustang Island State Park is the protected part of the beach which charges a nominal $5 per person fee, free for children 12 and younger. Entrance into this part of the beach is available year-round from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The state park section of Mustang Island is well regulated and maintained, which means it’s a clean beach. It is large and spans out, so it never feels crowded, regardless out the amount of people out that day — even during spring break.

Park rangers patrol the area to regulate the beach, making sure that no one is littering, that dogs are on leashes and everyone is enjoying the beach.

At Mustang Island State Park, you can build sandcastles, swim, surf, picnic, fish, hike, birdwatch, relax by a campfire and so much more.

You can also paddle along the park’s very own paddling trail, which follows the bayside edge of the park, with three segments that make up 20 miles of water trails.

Make a night of it by camping at one of their 48 water and electric campsites or one of the 50 drive-up primitive sites. Amenities for campers include full restrooms and hot-water showers.

Mustang Island State Park is located at 9393 TX 361 in Corpus Christi.

The free section of Mustang Island Beach can be reached at Access Roads 1, 1A, 2 and 3 along TX 361.

NOTE: Due to damages from Hurricane Harvey, Mustang Island State Park is open for day-use only. Some facilities may be closed. Call the park at 361-749-5246 or take a look at their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

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