I spent the Christmas holidays in Port Aransas, TX and I greatly enjoyed my time there.
Port Aransas is a small town located in Mustang Island, only a few miles away from Corpus Chisti. I suspect it looks a lot different during peak season, but while I was there I was able to enjoy miles and miles of beach without seeing anyone else but a few fishermen here and there. I loved going out in the morning and walking along the shore without running into another soul. I will forever treasure that feeling that the beach belonged to me.
The water itself was cold, which is obvious given it was winter. But it was not cold enough to prevent me from going knee-deep in the water.
The town itself has several picturesque seafood joints and souvenir stores. Again, not a lot of people to be seen anywhere, but the story is probably very different in summer.
Getting to Port Aransas is easy. The Corpus Christi International airport is about a 45-minute drive away and is served by both American Eagle and Continental Express. There are two ways to get to Port Aransas from Corpus Chisti: you can take the ferry or you can take the SPID (South Padre Island Drive).
The ferry connects Port Aransas with Aransas Pass, and from here its a short drive to downtown Corpus Chisti, where you will find several interesting sights such as the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington. The ferry is free and it operates 24/7, however the lines can get long (even in Winter!).
The other way to move between Port Aransas and Corpus Christi is the South Padre Island Drive. This is a freeway that connects Corpus Christi with the southern end of Mustang Island (and the northern end of Padre Island). This is very convenient if you need to go shopping, because most major retailers and supermarkets in Corpus Christi are located along SPID.
I definitely recommend visiting Port Aransas. However, like the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I strongly recommend visiting in Winter instead of summer. You may not be able to swim in the ocean, but you will feel like the beach is yours, and I find that feeling to be priceless.