A child rides a bodyboard in the surf.
Splashing in the surf and bodyboarding are two favorite activities along the beach.

NPS Photo/ Sue Wolfe

No lifeguard on duty: swim at your own risk.

Swimming and wading are allowed in the Gulf of Mexico along North Beach, Malaquite Beach, and South Beach, and in the Laguna Madre at Bird Island Basin. The Malaquite Beach area near the visitor center provides ample parking, picnic areas, restrooms and showers.

Use caution when swimming and never swim alone. Strong currents flowing parallel to the beach, tides flowing to-and-from the beach, and sudden drop-offs in the ocean floor can be hazardous for swimmers and waders alike.

The Gulf of Mexico is a natural environment. Hazardous marine life such as jellyfish and stingrays may be present.

A yellow flag is displayed below the US flag at the visitor center.
The beach warning flag can be found displayed below the US Flag in front of the visitor center.

NPS Photo/ Thomas DiGiovannangelo

Beach Warning Flags

A beach warning flag is displayed at the Malaquite Visitor Center daily from 9 am – 5 pm. The flag color indicates the Rip Current Risk for the day, forecasted by the National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi, Texas.

  • Red over Red (two flags flying): Water closed to the public.

  • Red: High Risk - Life-threatening rip currents are likely in the surf zone.

  • Yellow: Moderate Risk - Life-threatening rip currents are possible in the surf zone.

  • Green: Low Risk - The risk for rip currents is low; however, life-threatening rip currents often occur in the vicinity of groins, jetties, reefs, and piers.

  • Purple: Hazardous marine life is present in the water.

A drawing showing how to swim parallel to shore to escape a rip current.
Rip currents are powerful currents of water moving away from shore. They can sweep even the strongest swimmer away from shore.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

If Caught in a Rip Current

  • Relax, rip currents don't pull you under.

  • Don't swim against the current.

  • Swim out of the current parallel to shore. Then swim to shore.

  • If you can't escape, float or tread water.

  • If you need help, yell or wave for assistance.


  • Know how to swim.
  • Never swim alone.
  • If if doubt, don't go out.

Last updated: February 4, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480


(361) 949-8068
Malaquite Visitor Center information line.

Contact Us