The coast of Texas boasts 370 miles of uninterrupted coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. Perfect for sunbathing, beachcombing, fishing, kayaking, birding, and other coastal activities, Texas beaches offer a one-of-a-kind getaway in the Lone Star State.
From the Bolivar Peninsula to South Padre Island, the Gulf Coast boasts state parks, national wildlife refuges, classic boardwalks, and everything a vetted beachgoer loves. We collected our top 10 best beaches in Texas, so whether you come for horseback riding, snorkeling, or simply sitting on the shore, we guarantee there is a Texas beach for you.
Top 10 Best Beaches in Texas
1. Surfside Beach
Located 40 miles southwest of Galveston and 65 miles south of Houston, Surfside Beach is a quaint Texas beach town with a charm all its own. This area of the Gulf has deeper water, which actually creates wonderful conditions for kayaking, windsurfing, and even surfing. When you are not enjoying the four miles of beachfront, the kids will love the 2,000-square-foot splash pad. Extra activities include fishing from the jetty or dining at one of the fantastic seafood restaurants.
2. South Padre Island
As far as beach destinations in Texas go, South Padre Island is one of the best! The perfect spot for white sands, spring break, and sea turtles, South Padre is a “barrier island” that also features prime bird watching, the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, and the Beach Park at Isla Blanca waterpark.
An important region of the island includes the Padre Island National Seashore, which preserves the dunes that keep the grasslands and their ecosystems functioning properly. For a wonderful family-friendly beach, spend a sunny day on Malaquite Beach.
3. San José Island
Just a ferry ride away from Port Aransas, San José Island is situated between 21 miles of incredible beaches and Aransas Bay. This charming beach town offers jetties for fishing, wonderful birding, and the common sea turtle spotting! There is one thing about San José Island — it is privately owned. Visitors are only allowed on public land, which is the beach below the vegetation land.
4. Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi is a wonderful landing point for spending time on the Texas coast as it offers a wide array of nearby day trips, as well as the Texas State Aquarium and the U.S.S. Lexington. It is also only two hours from San Antonio, Texas, making it a simple trip from wherever you are traveling from ? Our favorite beaches in Corpus are McGee Beach and North Beach. Other attractions include Whataburger Field, Whitecap Beach, and the Corpus Christi Downtown Seawall.
An island-city gem full of family fun and attractions, Galveston features the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Galveston Island State Park, and Moody Gardens. Moody is known for its glass pyramids with animals such as sharks, monkeys, and other wildlife. Take a whirl on the amusement rides on the pleasure pier, or kayak from the shores at the state park. Popular beaches include Stewart Beach and East Beach.
6. Mustang Island
Mustang Island presents 18 beautiful miles of sandy beaches spanning from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas Beach between the Gulf of Mexico and Corpus Christi Bay. This barrier island is dubbed the “Fishing Capital of Texas” where some of the best fishing can be done from the jagged rocks of the North Jetty. Mustang Island State Park is also a great place to camp, build sandcastles, surf, mountain bike, and venture the Mustang Island paddling trail.
7. Crystal Beach
Nestled on the Bolivar Peninsula between Galveston Bay and the Gulf, Crystal Beach is a quieter and less visited Texas beach town. Bird and nature lovers flock to the area to witness more than 100 bird species that fly in the area. If you are looking for a small-town getaway, Crystal Beach allows campers and issues permits for campfires right on the beach!
8. Rockport Beach
Rockport Beach is the Lone Star State’s first blue wave beach, meaning its waters are constantly monitored and measured for their quality and cleanliness in order to meet environmental standards set by the National Clean Beaches Coalition. Rockport is a small town with a big appetite for angling, particularly deep-sea fishing.
9. Boca Chica Beach
Situated just outside of Brownsville in the Rio Grande Valley, Boca Chica is a wonderful option for a Texas coast weekend. Spend a day at Boca Chica State Park, where you can stroll along the white sand beaches, camp out, birdwatch, and take in views from the sand dunes! There is a reason this one is on our list of best Texas beaches — it is also home to SpaceX.
10. Matagorda Beach
With almost 60 miles of beaches, Matagorda Beach provides 23 miles open to vehicles and 35 miles of beach that are only accessible by kayak, canoe, or other watercraft. A favorite pastime of visitors and locals alike is to explore the Matagorda Bay Nature Park where you can walk on nature trails, drive on the beach (carefully), or spend a night camping by the mouth of the Colorado River.
Do you have a favorite beach in Texas? Share your summer adventures at our Wide Open Roads Facebook page!