King Ranch Museum in Kingsville, Texas

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

King Ranch

Corpus Christi Area

Much of the King Ranch is not open to the public. But there are 60,000 head of cattle, 400 horses and dozens of cowboys here – many fifth- and sixth-generation descendants of Kineños, who moved en masse to the ranch in the 1860s from the small Mexican town of Cruillas. Tours depart from the ranch's visitor center, which is just inside the rather modest entrance on the west side of Kingsville at the end of Santa Gertrudis Ave.

On the tour’s 10-mile driving loop you will see the horse and cattle breeds that made the ranch famous, plus some native wildlife. You’ll pass the lavish main building (33,000 sq ft), and with any luck you’ll get to hear some excellent commentary and personal anecdotes from the tour guides, who are often retired ranch employees.

In addition to the standard tours, there are guided birdwatching and wildlife-spotting bus tours across the unspoiled expanses of the ranch, lasting from 2½ hours to three days ($35 to $775 per person). Schedules change by season.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Corpus Christi Area attractions

1. John E Conner Museum


Displays on the region's natural and cultural history. The standout is the small 'Hall of Horns', which is devoted entirely to hunting trophies. This will…

2. King Ranch Museum

1.73 MILES

Housed in a renovated ice-storage house downtown, the King Ranch Museum covers the history of the ranch and the Kings. Be sure to follow the minor family…

3. 1904 Train Depot

1.73 MILES

Right downtown, the small old train depot has been beautifully restored and is filled with historical items and information panels relating to when you…

4. Kenedy Ranch Museum

21.67 MILES

Like his friend and business partner Richard King, young Mifflin Kenedy first came to Texas as an army steamboat captain and went on to build an empire…