Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Mathis, TX

  • Published 2023/04/04

Mathis is a small lakeside city north of Corpus Christi in San Patricio County, Texas.

This small city beside Lake Corpus Christi is an idyllic weekend destination for its picturesque lakeside shores, outdoor recreation, and laid-back vibes.

Visitors from all over Texas love to spend their vacations in Mathis and neighboring towns surrounding Lake Corpus Christi to take a dip at this vast lake.

At the same time, many go there for other outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, and water skiing.

The city of Mathis holds a rich and fascinating history, mainly revolving around the Mexican War.

The city saw one of the most notable battles between Mexico and the United States during the Mexican-American War.

However, Mathis has a lot more to offer to its visitors.

So, read on and find out the best things to do in Mathis, TX, and its nearby places.

Have Fun at Lake Corpus Christi State Park

Nature view from Lake Corpus Christi State Park

Faina Gurevich / ​

One of the top reasons why visitors love coming back to Mathis is Lake Corpus Christi, adjacent to the city.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park, in particular, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who want to plunge into various outdoor recreational activities.

The entire lake spans 18,256 acres making it a worthwhile vacation destination in Texas.

Since 1934, this vast state park has treated visitors with top-notch outdoor adventure.

A wooden dock at Lake Corpus Christi State Park

Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spending time at Lake Corpus Christi State Park is an excellent start to your travel adventure in Mathis.

Families from Corpus Christi and other counties in Texas frequently visit this place to have fun under the sun.

From swimming, water sports, fishing, and boating to wildlife viewing, there are dozens of activities visitors can enjoy at Lake Corpus Christi State Park.

In addition, anglers love to return to Lake Corpus Christi to fish.

Refectory lookout tower at Lake Corpus Christi State Park

Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enjoy the Outdoors at Gonzalo Paiz Park

Gonzalo Paiz Park is one of the numerous community parks to visit in Mathis.

This one boasts a vast playground and numerous sports facilities for everyone to enjoy.

For those looking for a place to sweat out or perhaps enjoy a lovely picnic with the family, Gonzalo Paiz Park is the perfect place to do so in Mathis.

Gonzalo Paiz Park has two tennis courts, two softball fields, and three baseball diamonds.

It is an excellent place to play these sports or watch the locals play on the sideline.

Likewise, this park features a lovely picnic area with several tables and a walking trail for everyone.

Take a Dip at Wesley Seale Dam

Wesley Seale Dam is one of the favorite places for locals in Mathis to take a dip and swim, especially during summer.

Built during the late 1950s, Wesley Seale Dam is a reservoir that catches water from Lake Corpus Christi.

Apart from being a substantial water supply for many parts of San Patricio County, Wesley Seale Dam is a famous swimming destination for locals in Mathis.

It’s less crowded compared to Lake Corpus Christi State Park.

Swimming is the most popular activity visitors can enjoy at Wesley Seale Dam.

At the same time, anglers love to cast their line at this dam because of the abundance of fish, similar to Lake Corpus Christi.

Pitch a Tent at Lake Corpus Christi RV Park

This huge RV park in Mathis is the perfect place to set up camp in the city.

Lake Corpus Christi RV Park is conveniently nearby the city’s main attractions, particularly Lake Corpus Christi.

This RV Park is a mixture of cozy and full hook-up RV sites.

In addition, it has a 6,000-square-foot clubhouse, kitchen facilities, and other amenities amidst a scenic and serene setting along the shores of Lake Corpus Christi.

Likewise, this RV park has a fishing spot that is regularly restocked for everyone’s enjoyment.

If you’re searching for an excellent place to camp or hook up your RV during your trip to Mathis, head to the Lake Corpus Christi RV Park.

Indulge in Texan Barbeque at Smolik’s Smokehouse

One of the best places to eat barbeque in Mathis is Smolik’s Smokehouse in downtown.

Remarkably, this local barbeque joint and family business has operated since 1928, making it the longest-running barbeque joint in San Patricio County.

Stepping inside this barbeque joint is like walking down memory lane.

Its interior and original design are mostly intact, while it still uses its original barbeque recipe formulated at its founding.

If you’re looking for a delicious meal in Mathis, Smolik’s Smokehouse serves some of the best Texan barbeques such as brisket, ribs, sausages, and chicken.

In addition, Smolik’s also has a deli shop where you can buy its ready-to-cook barbeque cuts and other meat items.

You can proceed to its in-house bakery and try its delicious sweet pastries.

Hike the Catfish Point Trail

Head to the Catfish Point Trail for a worthwhile hiking adventure in Mathis.

This trail features a 1.4-kilometer loop trail, an ideal outdoor destination for the entire family.

This trail in Mathis is relatively easy to hike since you can complete it in roughly 20 minutes.

Still, it depends on how many times you stop along the trail.

Most of the time, people love to spend their time at Catfish Point Trail for sightseeing, fishing, and birdwatching, rather than hiking.

Chill at the Sgt. Eristeo Gutierrez Jr. Memorial Park

Locals refer to this park as the Gutierrez Park along South Gardenia Street in Mathis.

This community park is another excellent location to relax or unwind with your loved ones.

If you’re looking for a less-crowded area to have a lovely picnic with your loved ones in Mathis, Gutierrez Park is an excellent location to visit.

Kids will have a blast at Gutierrez Park because of its top-notch playground, complete with all the necessary features of an excellent play area.

In addition, adults can also enjoy a barbeque session at its grill area while enjoying a sunny Texan day.

You don’t have to drive out of Mathis to find an excellent place to chill.

Head to the Sgt. Eristeo Gutierrez Jr. Memorial Park.

Grab Your Cup of Coffee at Rise & Grind Coffee Co

Kickstart your day with a fresh cup of coffee at Rise & Grind Coffee Co.

Serving top-quality specialty coffee, you can trust that the coffee shop has everything you need for your daily dose of caffeine while in Mathis.

Try its delicious lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, espresso, and other refreshing specialty comfort drinks, and pair any of the coffee shop’s delicious, freshly baked goodies.

Don’t miss out on its popular Pink Cake, Maranitos, Conchas, and Cinnamon Rolls, which customers are raving about.

Drop by Rise & Grind Coffee Co at Farm to Market 3024.

Read a Book at Mathis Public Library

Although small, Mathis Public Library provides comfortable reading nooks for everyone visiting the area.

It’s a nice community library offering a great selection of books and other helpful resources for reading, research, and study.

Kids, middle schoolers, and high schoolers will have plenty of resources to choose from, and adults have a wonderful selection of books to read.

The library also hosts programs and events for all ages in the community, including book discussions, storytimes, computer classes, and many more.

Visit Mathis Public Library at North Lamar Street.

Shop for Gifts and Souvenirs at All Cross Texas

It’s always nice to head back home with some lovely gifts and souvenirs from your trip, and All Cross Texas doesn’t disappoint!

Choose from its beautifully repurposed and restored items such as home decor, paintings, trinkets, handmade jewelry, cornhole game, keychains, and many more.

And if you love books and bibles, there are many of them for sale at the shop.

Look out for its regular raffle draws, events, and other special programs for everyone since you may get unique items as a prize!

You can find All Cross Texas at East San Patricio Avenue.

Go Mexican at Taqueria El Puerto Mazatlan

When things get a little hungry, go Mexican!

The best spot to do it is Taqueria El Puerto Mazatlan, which is known for its delicious Mexican comfort food and Tex-Mex dishes.

Try its popular breakfast tacos, spam & eggs barbacoa, tortillas, bean and cheese nachos, chili con carne, migas con huevos, Enchiladas, and more.

All these are served in a warm and family-friendly atmosphere in a typical Mexican-style restaurant.

And of course, you can pair your delicious Mexican food with its tasty fresh fruit licuados, Mexican soda, and many more.

Taqueria El Puerto Mazatlan is located off Loop 459.

Go for a Nature Walk at La Fruta Park

Celebrated for its nice wildlife pond, walking trails, picnic areas with grills, and campsites, La Fruta Park was where the San Patricio County fruits and vegetables were shipped.

The park encompasses 100 acres of open space and wooded areas with beautiful oak, elm, cypress, and hackberry trees.

It also offers dense brush and riparian areas, which are a perfect place for migratory birds like waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, and birds of prey.

There’s also a fishing pier where you cast your fishing line and a boat launch for your kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.

You can find La Fruta Park on County Road 1094.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Marvel at the USS Lexington

Scenic view of USS Lexington

Nevskii Dmitrii /

A 39-minute drive south of Mathis takes you to the city of Corpus Christi, Texas, where you’ll find the famous USS Lexington docked permanently.

This massive aircraft carrier is widely known for its role in the Pacific theater of World War II.

It was one of the major ships of the fifth fleet of the United States Navy during its service.

An aircraft in USS Lexington

JairoBarron /

Today, it is a massive floating museum on the shores of Corpus Christi.

Also known as the “Blue Ghost” during World War II, the USS Lexington features numerous exhibits on board.

It lets visitors learn about its function and history during the great war.

Check out the flight simulators, virtual battle stations, a 3D movie theatre, an escape room, and thousands of memorabilia on board the USS Lexington.

Aerial view of USS Lexington

Trong Nguyen /

Relax at the Sunset Lake Park

A 45-minute drive south of Mathis in Portland takes you to Sunset Lake Park in Portland, Texas.

Sunset Lake Park is on Nueces Bay’s shores and adjacent to Corpus Christi Bay.

This natural attraction is an excellent place for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore.

It is famous for its saltwater lake and vast unspoiled wetlands, home to the local flora and fauna.

In addition, it also features a broad range of exciting outdoor recreational activities.

Sunset Lake Park has a two-mile hiking trail.

At the same time, it has numerous swimming areas that are also used for boating, sailing, and birdwatching.

Reconnect with Nature at Welder Wildlife Refuge

An animal at Welder Wildlife Refuge

Danita Delimont /

A 29-minute drive east of Mathis leads you to an outstanding conservation area, the Welder Wildlife Refuge in Sinton, Texas.

Established in 1954, the Welder Wilder Wildlife Refuge protects and preserves the flora and fauna in the area.

A roseate spoonbill at Welder Wildlife Refuge

Danita Delimont /

Today, it is a famous outdoor destination for nature lovers.

A tour of this vast wildlife refuge takes you to numerous natural habitats of wetlands, forested areas, and grasslands.

These are home to dozens of bird species and small mammals, making it an exciting place for wildlife viewing.

Waterlilies on the waters of Welder Wildlife Refuge

Danita Delimont /

Hunt for Exotic Game at Lonesome Bull Ranch

This massive ranch spans 2,600 acres of Texan brushland that overlooks the majestic Lake Corpus Christi.

You can find it in Sandia, Texas, 11 minutes from Mathis.

See over 40 species of wildlife and exotic animals living on the ranch, where visitors can take photos of them, feed them, or even hunt.

In addition, Lonesome Bull Ranch has 18 ponds for fishing for those who want to relax and cast their line under the sun.

Lonesome Bull Ranch features numerous hunting packages for those who want to experience it.

It has hunting lodges, campgrounds, and barbeque pits to cook the meat.

This massive hunting ground is home to over 3,500 animals from wildebeest, deer, elk, water buffalo, stag, black buck, exotic sheep, to wild turkeys.

Stay at the Knolle Farm and Ranch Bed & Breakfast

For cozier lodging during your trip, head to the Knolle Farm and Ranch Bed & Breakfast in Sandia, 13 minutes from Mathis.

This charming inn allows guests to connect with traditional South Texan pastimes and genuine country luxury in various ways.

If you want top-notch lodging while vacationing in Mathis, Knolle Farm features excellent amenities, from bedding to food.

In addition, they also offer itinerary tours throughout San Patricio County, taking you and your loved ones to the top attractions such as Lake Corpus Christi.

At the same time, you’ll also visit numerous areas featuring the Texan wilderness, where you’ll witness the local flora and fauna.

Meet Marine Animals at the Texas State Aquarium

Exterior of the Texas State Aquarium

magraphy /

One of the most famous attractions in Corpus Christi you shouldn’t miss is the Texas State Aquarium.

It’s 41 minutes away from Mathis.

This massive state aquarium is home to hundreds of marine animals and other species.

Get up close and interact with these animals like dolphins, otters, birds, turtles, and other animals in its educational tours.

The entrance doors of Texas State Aquarium

Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check out the dozens of aquariums, enclosures, and exhibits throughout the Texas State Aquarium that feature unique animals.

Visiting this place in Corpus Christi is an unforgettable experience, especially with your family.

Your loved ones can join the dolphin feeding session, meet its famous otters, and get up close with sharks safely.

Texas State Aquarium offers so many exciting activities that you’ll likely spend an entire day wandering the place.

Engage in Various Outdoor Recreational Activities at Camp Zephyr

Camp Zephyr is a famous summer camp destination managed by the Zephyr Baptist congregation.

Find it in Sandia, 25 minutes from Mathis.

This massive outdoor attraction serves as a Christian camp and conference center for various activities and events.

Founded in 1957, Camp Zephyr has become one of the top destinations for kids to experience summer camping.

In addition, it’s an excellent outdoor destination for the entire family who wants to engage in various activities as this camp features dozens of facilities to enjoy.

Likewise, Camp Zypher is an excellent place for spiritual retreat since the Zephyr Baptist Church manages it.

Most importantly, Camp Zypher is a place for wholesome fun for the entire family.

Remember the Mexican-American War at Lipantitlan State Historic Site

For those searching for San Patricio’s fascinating history, head to the Lipantitlan State Historic Park.

You can find it in Sandia, 17 minutes from Mathis.

It’s where you’ll learn the fascinating history of the 1835 battle between the Mexican Army and the Texian insurgents.

Today’s battle site serves as a state historic site that lets visitors learn about the events of the Mexican-American War.

The entire site covers five acres, with a commemorative plaque as its focal point.

For history buffs, the Lipantitlan State Historic Site is a fascinating place to learn history, especially those curious about the Mexican-American War.

So, you know where to go for some history side trip during your Mathis adventure.

Final Thoughts

Mathis might not be as famous as other Texan cities.

Still, its unspoiled natural beauty, laid-back vibes, and the Corpus Christi Lake make it an incredible alternative destination.

Its proximity to the cities of San Antonio, Houston, and Austin, Texas makes Mathis an excellent weekend getaway destination for the family.

Book your Mathis trip today!

© All rights reserved.