Ron R. Smith Memorial Paddling Trail on Oso Bay

Ron R. Smith Memorial Paddling Trail

Enjoy 2-5 miles of paddling, enjoying the coastal birds, fishing opportunities, and scenic beauty that Oso Bay has to offer.

Getting There

Access Site:

Put-in: Turtle Cove on Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus
Park in Turtle Cove Parking lot on Dolphin Lane
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
PARKING: Fees may apply. Refer to signage in the parking area for details.
(DD) 27.709°, -97.327°

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Austin – 226 miles
  • Dallas – 420 miles
  • Harlingen – 142 miles
  • Houston – 215 miles
  • San Antonio – 152 miles


Area Map of Ron R. Smith Memorial Paddling Trail on Oso Bay

Trail Description and Landmarks

Trail Length: 2-5 miles (depending on route taken)
South of access site: Enjoy 5 miles of paddling from put-in to the 358 bridge and back.
East of access site: Head left from the access site. Paddle around the island where the university is located to enjoy an easy 2 mile loop trail.
Float Time: 1-3 hours (depending on route taken, water level, wind speed, and time spent doing other activities like fishing)
Please note: If boat traffic is present, always yield to faster moving vessels.
Water can be shallow in Oso Bay. Be sure to check the tide before getting on the water. Morning kayaking on Oso Bay tends to be best given tides and wind potential.
Bacteria levels in Oso Bay can occasionally reach high levels and may pose a risk to individuals who come in direct contact with the water. Wade or paddle at your own risk.

This trail is in honor of Ron R. Smith; TPWD biologist, friend, husband, father, brother, and avid advocate of teaching others to love the outdoors through paddling and fishing experiences. Ron was a proud alum of TAMU-CC, and spent many happy years as a Master’s degree student researching coastal ecosystems, then later as a Wetlands Coordinator for TAMU-CC before embarking on a career as a biologist with TPWD. While Ron is greatly missed, his legacy of inspiring others to enjoy paddling and fishing lives on, and we hope you enjoy this scenic trail on Oso Bay.

The 5-mile long trail from Turtle Cove at TAMU-CC to the 358 Bridge and back can be completed in 2 to 3 hours, depending on how often one stops to enjoy bird watching or fishing. The 2-mile loop trail from Turtle Cove at TAMU-CC around the small island and back can be completed in 1-2 hours.

Fishing and Wildlife

Paddling allows you the opportunity to observe birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Red drum, black drum, and spotted seatrout are commonly caught within the waters of Oso Bay. Wade fishing is a popular choice for anglers in the area.
Seagrass beds and oyster reef provide habitat for a wide variety of aquatic animals like fish, shrimp, and crabs. The Island University is also home to terrestrial wildlife such as skunks, racoons, and opossums.

These shallow waters and tidal flats surrounding Oso Bay are also home to great blue herons, reddish egrets, pelicans, plovers, ducks, and a coastal favorite, the roseate spoonbill. Spring migration in Corpus Christi offers even more birds to enjoy.

Private Property

While many coastal trails are adjacent to public lands, some are next to private property. Please respect private property by keeping noise levels low, packing out your trash, and staying off adjaccent lands without permission.

Area Attractions

For more information please see the TPWD Paddling Events calendar.

Visit Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi offers many outdoor activities, restaurants, and other entertainment and amenities.

Port Aransas

A short drive over the bridge and up Mustang Island will take you to the town of Port Aransas. There are many birdwatching opportunities, places to fish, restaurants, lodging, and more!

Mustang Island State Park

With more than five miles of coastline, there is plenty of room for fun in the sun. Hang out on the beach, fish in the bay, add birds to your life list, and explore this unspoiled barrier island park.

Padre Island National Seashore

Enjoy camping, fishing, beach-combing, and even sea turtle watching along this sixty-six miles of wild coastline on the Gulf of Mexico. This narrow barrier island is home to one of the last intact coastal prairie habitats in the United States. Along the hypersaline Laguna Madre, unique tidal mud flats teem with life.


This trail was made possible through a partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Kayak Tours & Rentals

Wind and Wave

Kayak and gear rental only. No shuttles or gear drop-off, so must have transportation for equipment.

Nature Trails Kayaking

Guided kayak tours.