Sandcastles and Shells : Corpus Christi Texas

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Sandcastles and Shells

by Visit Corpus Christi Texas

No trip to the beach is complete without building the quintessential sandcastle or searching for the perfect keepsake shell. Choosing the perfect beach is the first step in mastering the art of sandcastles and shells. Check out these family-friendly beaches in Corpus Christi, Texas, that are perfect for building the best sandcastle ever or discovering that one-of-a-kind shell.


Sandcastles aren’t just for kids! In fact, Texas Sandfest has been bringing the joy of sandcastles to Mustang Island beach-goers for 20 years! Dedicate some beach time to building the sandcastle of your dreams. If you want to step up your sandcastle game, sign up for a sand scuplting lesson and learn how to create your very own sand-sterpiece.

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South Packery Channel Beach

South Packery Channel Beach serves as the dividing line between Mustang and Padre Islands. This sandy refuge is perfect for families that want to spread out and build huge sandcastles or sand cities!

North Beach

The pristine sand and gentle waves on North Beach make it perfect for families! Sit back, relax and build an epic sandcastle.

McGee Beach

McGee Beach also has calm waves and a manicured shoreline which makes it a family favorite. McGee Beach is a bit more popular than the other family-friendly beaches so make sure you have enough space before you start that sand-masterpiece!


There’s no more authentic beach souvenir than a shell. Many of the shells found along the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico actually have come from waters as far away as the Caribbean, transported by the strong tides and currents. If you’re new to the art of shelling, here are some pro-tips to help you along the way.

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#1 Check the tide charts. You’ll find the best shells one hour before and one hour after low-tide. Many shelling enthusiasts use flashlights to shell in the evening after low-tide. Most collectible shells are found along the surf line, which is the small lip of sand formed where the waves break.

#2 Follow the moon. Tidal changes are more extreme around a full moon or new moon, so check the moon phase to time your shelling excursion just right. If you aren’t planning to search for shells during a full or new moon, shelling can be exceptional from 24 hours to 48 hours after a storm.

#3 Stay near the beach. Staying in a waterfront location offers more than just a great view. You’ll have easy access to roll right out of bed and hit the beach in search of the perfect shell.

#4 Choose your beach wisely. Malaquite Beach, Little Shell Beach and Big Shell Beach on the Padre Island National Seashore offer great shelling in the early morning hours. Vehicular access is limited to Little Shell and Big Shell, so comfortable footwear is a must. If you want to make a day out of your adventure, head to San Jose Island for some early morning shelling and an afternoon picnic.

#5 Clean your shell carefully. Don’t expect to find a perfectly clean, fully intact, shell on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re lucky enough to find a whole Sand Dollar, Dove Shell, or any other species, carefully clean it with a light coat of mineral oil or baby oil to protect its natural sheen.

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For more ideas on how to maximize your summer fun, stop by the Corpus Christi Visitor Information Center.

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