Look at the number of condo developments along the Gulf Coast and you will see that this is a major getaway destination. The climate ranges from balmy at Galveston to subtropical at the Mexican border. Devastating hurricanes in 1900 and again in 2008 all but levelled Galveston; recovery is ongoing, but the old, salty city still offers history, shopping and low-key relief from Houston. Corpus Christi makes the best base to explore the relatively unspoiled northern beaches of Padre Island National Seashore.

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