Corpus Christi, located on the coast of South Texas, is known for its lovely beaches and pleasant climate. Yet, not all of these beaches are safe for swimming and leisure. Certain beaches come with significant hazards, including rip currents, bacteria, strong waves, and harmful algal blooms.
Here are the top five riskiest beaches in Corpus Christi, according to research from the Environment America Research and Policy Center and the NOAA’s National Ocean Service.
Cole Park Beach
Cole Park Beach, close to downtown Corpus Christi on Ocean Drive, is well-liked for activities like picnics, fishing, and kayaking. Unfortunately, it’s known to be one of the most polluted beaches in Texas, with elevated levels of harmful bacteria in the water.
As per a report from Environment America, in 2018, Cole Park Beach showed heightened bacteria levels on 81% of the days it was tested, suggesting potential risks for swimmers. Contact with this bacteria can lead to stomach problems, skin infections, and ear infections. The primary causes of this pollution are runoff from urban areas and leaks from sewage systems.
Ropes Park Beach
Ropes Park Beach, located near Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, offers a nice view with amenities like a playground, skate park, and fishing pier.
Yet, it’s important to note that the water quality can be a concern. In 2018, it was found unsafe for swimming on 73% of tested days due to elevated levels of fecal bacteria. This is mainly attributed to urban runoff and sewage leaks, similar to Cole Park Beach.
Poenisch Park Beach
Poenisch Park Beach is found on the south side of Corpus Christi Bay, close to Oso Creek. It’s a place for fun activities, offering a boat ramp, a disc golf course, and a dog park.
However, it’s important to note that the water here sometimes has high levels of bacteria from waste, which could make swimming unsafe on 64% of days in 2018. This is due to urban runoff, sewage leaks, and agricultural runoff from Oso Creek affecting the area.
McGee Beach is on the north side of Corpus Christi Bay, close to downtown. It’s a good spot for families, with facilities like restrooms, showers, and lifeguards.
But, it’s important to know that the water quality can sometimes be a concern. In 2018, tests showed that swimming might not be safe on 37% of the days. This is because of pollution from city runoff, leaks, and rainwater from nearby streets.
Padre Island Beach
Padre Island Beach, situated on the Gulf of Mexico side of Padre Island National Seashore, is a beautiful natural spot featuring sandy dunes, wildlife, and camping facilities. However, it comes with some natural dangers for visitors, including rip currents, shorebreaks, and harmful algal blooms.
Rip currents are strong water currents that can pull swimmers away from the shore. Shorebreaks are waves that crash directly onto the beach, potentially causing injuries to people and their spines. Harmful algal blooms refer to dense algae populations that can release toxins, harming both marine creatures and humans. Throughout the year, Padre Island Beach may encounter these hazards.