Playful dolphins can be spotted in Corpus Christi along the bayfront, on the ferries, or along the beaches. Courtesy photo

Playful dolphins can be spotted in Corpus Christi along the bayfront, on the ferries, or along the beaches. Courtesy photo

The best way to catch a glimpse of playful Atlantic bottlenose dolphins is to get on a boat. Dolphins love the speed boost they get from the waves off of a boat or ferry and are often spotted playing in the surf alongside the watercraft. 
The Corpus Christi region is chock full of commercial dolphin-watching tour boats, but one of the most famous vantage points for a clear view of these beautiful creatures is on the free ferry ride between Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. You can also spot them on the ferry to San Jose Island or a ride in Corpus Christi Bay with the Japonica.
More than 1,800 dolphins have been spotted in the Coastal Bend region during the cooler months. When the waters heat up, they head out to the cooler depths of the Gulf of Mexico. The ones left behind can be found feeding in the Port Aransas channels.
Individual dolphins can be identified by the shapes of their dorsal fins. They are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Humans are not allowed to get any closer than 50 feet, so stay back! 
And by the way, there are no porpoises in Corpus Christi, only the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, which are thinner and more talkative than porpoises. Or, at least that's what some people think. Porpoises actually make sounds inaudible to the human ear!
Also, dolphins live in large groups, while porpoises usually live in pods of only two to four. Porpoises are mostly found in Pacific waters.
In Corpus Christi, you can see dolphins practicing their jumps while you are relaxing on the bayfront, touring the USS Lexington, or lounging on the beach. 
For those wanting a dolphin-dedicated boat tour, here are few of the most well-known dolphin tours in the Coastal Bend: 

The Scarlet Lady Dolphin Adventure

Leaves twice a day from Captain Kelly’s Deep Sea Headquarters in Port Aransas, cruising the waters for wild dolphins, sea birds, and natural landmarks. The Dolphin Adventure Tour is 90 minutes. A Sunset Dolphin Adventure Tour is also available.
440 W. Cotter
Port Aransas, TX 

Dolphin Connection

Meet dolphins up close and personal. This hour-long cruise takes you where the dolphins play. The boat, which holds only six passengers, sits low in the water so you get as close as you can without getting wet.
84 Bayshore Drive
Ingleside, TX

Neptune's Charters

Climb aboard the Mustang in Port Aransas for sunset cruises or dolphin tours. Experience a shrimp trawl catch of live crabs, fish shrimp, and stingrays as well as a live touch tank. 
154 W. Cotter St.
Port Aransas, TX