San Patricio County offers a wide array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, birdwatchers and water lovers. The diverse ecology of San Patricio County stands out from anywhere in the United States, with its range of marine bays and estuaries, vast prairie lands and large freshwater lake. Kayaking and canoeing are enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors, in all seasons of the year, and at a variety of locations in the county.
San Patricio County offers a wide array of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and water lovers. The diverse ecology of San Patricio County is stands out from anywhere in the United States, ranging from marine bays and estuaries to a large freshwater lake, and from high bluffs and cliffs to vast prairie lands. Kayaking and canoeing are enjoyed by thousands of locals and visitors, in all seasons of the year, and at a variety of locations in the county. Three beautiful county parks – La Fruta, San Patricio de Hibernia and Chipita Rodriguez – provide residents and visitors of San Patricio County to become one with nature easily and cost effectively. All three parks sit along the winding Nueces River, which is perfect for floating, kayaking and fishing. For more information or to book an appointment please contact Harry Farenthold (361)547-3263
- La Fruta Park – 23547 CR 1094
La Fruta Park consists of 100 acres along the Nueces River shaded by Hackberry, Elm, Oak and Cypress trees. Named for the point of the community where fruits and vegetables were once shipped, especially a San Patricio County summertime favorite: watermelons, this park offers campsites, nature trails, a wildlife pond, BBQ and picnic areas, RV rental spaces, restrooms, a river boat launch, fishing pier, guided kayak tours and kayaks for rent.
Begin your paddling adventure here and experience a beautiful, serene river habitat and wildlife. A leisurely paddle down a 15-mile stretch will carry you along a gentle current to San Patricio de Hibernia Park then on to Chipita Rodriguez Park near the historic town of Old San Patricio.
Situated in a migratory flyway, all parks are great for bird watching. The dense brush and riparian habitat provides food, shelter and water for resident and migratory species including water-fowl, shorebirds, songbirds and birds of prey.
DIRECTIONS: From Corpus Christi, go North on IH-37. Exit at Mathis. Turn on Texas Hwy 359 toward Lake Corpus Christi. After 4 miles, turn left on CR 1092, then right on CR 1094.
- San Patricio de Hibernia *Open by appointment. Contact William Zagorsky (361)385-0591
Named after the Patron Saint of Ireland, this park consists of 677 acres of heavily wooded Nueces River bottomland managed under a conservation easement.
Near this park is the site of the 1835 Balle of Fort Lipantitlan during the Texas Revolution. In 1845, the nearby town of Old San Patricio was the county seat; a farming and ranching town colonized by Mexican and Irish immigrants, and profiting from those crossing “Cotton Road” over the Nueces River. Still today, the original windmills and watertanks give life to the park. This park is Managed by a conservation easement with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Foundation
A nice wide beach along the river bank here provides for a relaxing place to observe birds and wildlife.
- Chipita Rodriguez *Open by appointment. Contact William Zagorsky (361)385-0591
This 6 acre park has steep river banks, a small pier, cedar elm, pecan, and hackberry trees draped with Spanish moss that line the river bank. The park is a former home site, with open cleared areas that are great for camping or picnics. Chipita Rodriguez park was named after the first woman legally hanged in Texas for allegedly murdering a horse trader and stealing gold from his saddlebags. She was later absolved of the crime and a historical plaque was erected in her honor. But soon thereafter The City of Old San Patricio (not San Patricio County) became a ghost town. Water samples are taken here to monitor the water quality in Nueces River, which is a major source of fresh water for surrounding areas. This park is open by appointment only.
- Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation
The Rob & Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation and Park mission is to conduct research and education in wildlife management and conservation. The Foundation is located 8 miles from Sinton. The Foundation has funded and hosted research faculty and interns since themid-1950’s and partners with a number of universities on research projects. The Foundation hosts birding groups, wildlife management conferees, K-12 student groups, teacher training and study groups, land owners, and land and range managers. The Foundation offers public tours, private tours and special field trips. http://www.welderwildlife.org/
- Dougherty House *Open by appointment. Contact William Zagorsky (361)385-0591
This haunted house is a real treat to visit for supernatural lovers and historical enthusiasts. Once, a home to Professor Robert Dougherty in 1836 and a school shortly after, this center-hall double pile house still has most of it’s original architecture in tact. It acted as the viewing space for nearly every death in the county in the 1800’s. To take a virtual tour visit: http://www.sanpatriciocountyparks.com/4dougherty.html
Lake Corpus Christi in Mathis, Texas
Lake Corpus Christi offers numerous kayak / canoe launch areas that lead to excellent freshwater fishing and remote natural habitats for native and migrating birds, and even reptile species. The Nueces River is accessible at numerous points south of the Wesley Seale Dam, on the southern edge of the lake, and is known for at least three state fishing record catches, as well as dozens of unique wildlife ecosystems. Lake Corpus Christi State Park has a birding center and a birding trail located on the bluffs above the lake.
Birding in San Patricio County is among the best in the U.S., as the Texas Coastal Bend is the funnel of the North American Central Flyway, through which millions of birds migrate each year. The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail was organized as a system of birdwatching sites designed to provide greater access to natural habitats.
Four designated sites on the trail are in the county:
Newburry Park Hummingbird Garden – Aransas Pass near 3-way intersection of Wheeler, Cleveland and Harrison
Ransom Road Navigation District Park – Aransas Pass, Ransom Road off TX-361
Aransas Pass Community Park – Aransas Pass, East Johnson Ave. off Texas – 36; Live Oak Park – Ingleside, Texas – 361 south on Main Ave. (FM1069) to Sherry Ave
Aransas Pass Wetlands – Texas 361 Causeway Road between Aransas Pass and the ferry to Port Aransas and Mustang Island.
Lake Corpus Christi State Park has a birding center and a birding trail located on the bluffs above the lake.