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Best Beaches In Texas


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Jennette Mccartney



When it comes to breathtaking beaches and stunning islands, Texas may not be the first place that comes to mind. However, hidden within the vast expanse of the Lone Star State are some truly remarkable coastal gems. From pristine white sands to crystal clear waters, Texas offers a diverse range of beach destinations that are perfect for relaxation and outdoor adventure.


With over 600 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, Texas boasts a variety of idyllic beaches and islands that cater to every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re seeking a vibrant beach town with an exciting nightlife scene or a secluded island getaway surrounded by untouched natural beauty, Texas has it all.


From the iconic South Padre Island with its vibrant beachfront attractions to the picturesque Galveston Island with its historic charm, the beaches of Texas offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a sun-worshipper looking to soak up the rays, a water sports enthusiast seeking thrills on the waves, or a nature lover eager to explore the unique coastal ecosystems, Texas beaches and islands won’t disappoint.


In this article, we will take you on a tour of the best beaches and islands in Texas. Discover the hidden treasures along the coast, unwind on pristine sandy shores, and immerse yourself in the rich natural wonders that Texas has to offer. So pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and let’s dive into the beautiful world of Texas beaches and islands.


South Padre Island

South Padre Island is a renowned beach destination located on the southernmost tip of Texas, just offshore from the city of Port Isabel. Known for its stunning beaches and vibrant atmosphere, South Padre Island attracts visitors from all over the world.


The highlight of South Padre Island is its pristine shoreline, which stretches for miles. With soft, powdery sand and clear turquoise waters, the beaches here are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the shore. Whether you prefer a bustling beach with beachfront bars and activities or a quieter, secluded spot to relax, you’ll find it on South Padre Island.


One of the biggest draws of South Padre Island is the wide range of water sports and outdoor activities available. From jet skiing and parasailing to deep-sea fishing and dolphin watching cruises, there’s never a dull moment on the island’s waters. Adventure seekers can also try their hand at kiteboarding or paddleboarding, while nature lovers can explore the island’s many nature trails and watch for the diverse bird species that call the area home.


In addition to its stunning beaches, South Padre Island is also home to several popular attractions. Families will love visiting the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which offers thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools. The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center provides a fascinating look at the area’s wildlife and offers stunning panoramic views of the island and Laguna Madre Bay.


South Padre Island is also famous for its lively nightlife. The island offers an array of beachfront bars, restaurants, and clubs where visitors can enjoy live music, dance the night away, or savor delicious seafood while watching the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.


With its picturesque beaches, endless outdoor activities, and vibrant atmosphere, South Padre Island is a must-visit destination for beach lovers and adventure seekers alike.


Galveston Island

Located just a short drive from Houston, Galveston Island is a historic beach town with a rich maritime heritage. This barrier island offers a blend of beautiful beaches, fascinating history, and a charming coastal atmosphere.


The beaches of Galveston Island are known for their soft sand and warm Gulf waters, making them a popular destination for families and beachgoers. The island boasts over 30 miles of coastline, allowing ample space for relaxation, beachcombing, and building sandcastles. Stewart Beach is a favorite among visitors, offering amenities such as picnic areas, volleyball courts, and a pavilion.


Aside from its stunning beaches, Galveston Island is also home to several attractions that showcase its unique history. The Strand Historic District, a designated National Historic Landmark, is lined with beautiful Victorian-era buildings that house art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The Galveston Railroad Museum, located in a restored 1930s railway depot, offers a glimpse into the island’s past as an important port city.


The island is also known for its lively events and festivals. From the annual Mardi Gras celebration to the Dickens on The Strand festival, Galveston Island offers a year-round calendar of exciting events that attract visitors from near and far.


Nature lovers will also find plenty to explore on Galveston Island. The Galveston Island State Park offers over 2,000 acres of coastal habitats, including beaches, dunes, and salt marshes. Visitors can hike or bike the park’s trails, go birdwatching, or even try their hand at fishing in the bay.


For those interested in marine life, a visit to Moody Gardens is a must. This educational theme park features attractions such as an aquarium, rainforest pyramid, and a paddlewheel boat tour. Visitors can get up close and personal with penguins, sharks, and tropical birds, making it a fun and educational experience for the whole family.


With its combination of beautiful beaches, fascinating history, and family-friendly attractions, Galveston Island offers a coastal getaway that is both entertaining and enriching.


Padre Island National Seashore

Stretching along approximately 70 miles of the Texas Gulf Coast, Padre Island National Seashore is a pristine and unspoiled paradise for nature enthusiasts. As the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world, it offers a unique opportunity to experience the raw beauty of Texas’ coastal ecosystem.


The beaches of Padre Island National Seashore are known for their natural beauty and isolation. Visitors can find their own private spot along the expansive shoreline, enjoy the soft, white sand, and marvel at the crystal-clear waters. The absence of high-rise buildings and commercial development contributes to the beach’s untouched and serene atmosphere.


One of the highlights of Padre Island National Seashore is its exceptional wildlife. The island serves as a vital nesting ground for endangered sea turtles, including the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the rarest and most critically endangered species of sea turtle in the world. From May to September, visitors may have the chance to witness these incredible creatures laying their eggs or observe hatchlings making their way to the water.


The seashore is also home to an array of other wildlife, including numerous bird species. Birdwatchers can spot pelicans, herons, spoonbills, and many other migratory and resident birds. The Laguna Madre, a hypersaline lagoon that lies between Padre Island and the mainland, provides an essential habitat for various aquatic creatures, including dolphins, fish, and crustaceans.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of recreational activities to keep them engaged at Padre Island National Seashore. Fishing is a popular pastime, with ample opportunities to catch redfish, flounder, trout, and more. The seashore is also a haven for kayaking, windsurfing, and kiteboarding, thanks to its expansive and unobstructed waters.


For those interested in learning more about the island’s ecology and history, the Malaquite Visitor Center offers educational exhibits and programs. Visitors can join ranger-led nature walks, attend turtle releases, or participate in birdwatching events to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the island’s unique ecosystem.


Whether you’re seeking solitude on a secluded beach, hoping to catch a glimpse of breathtaking wildlife, or looking to immerse yourself in outdoor adventures, Padre Island National Seashore is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.


Rockport Beach

Situated on the Texas Gulf Coast, Rockport Beach is a charming coastal town that offers a perfect combination of natural beauty and small-town charm. Known for its pristine sandy shores and abundant recreational activities, Rockport Beach attracts both locals and travelers looking to escape to a slower pace of life.


The highlight of Rockport Beach is undoubtedly its award-winning Blue Wave Beach. This mile-long stretch of soft sand and calm waters provides the perfect setting for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking with family and friends. The beach is well-maintained and offers amenities such as picnic tables, grills, and clean restroom facilities.


Rockport Beach is not only a place to relax and soak up the sun; it also offers a variety of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing aficionados can cast their lines from the fishing piers or charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing excursion. Numerous species of fish, including redfish, flounder, and trout, can be found in the surrounding bays and estuaries.


Water sports lovers will also find plenty to do at Rockport Beach. Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular activities, allowing visitors to explore the calm waters and admire the breathtaking coastal scenery. The beach is also a favorite spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding enthusiasts, thanks to its consistent coastal winds.


In addition to its natural attractions, Rockport Beach is home to a thriving arts community. The Rockport Center for the Arts showcases the work of local and regional artists and hosts a variety of exhibits and events throughout the year. Visitors can browse unique artwork, attend art classes, or even catch a live performance or concert.


For those interested in the area’s history and culture, a visit to the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site is a must. This beautifully preserved mansion offers a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of a prominent Texas family in the late 19th century. Guided tours provide insight into the fascinating history of the area and its significance.


No visit to Rockport Beach would be complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Fresh seafood is a highlight, with numerous restaurants serving up delicious dishes such as shrimp, oysters, and fish straight from the Gulf waters. Whether you’re craving a casual beachside meal or a fine dining experience, Rockport Beach offers a range of culinary delights to satisfy every palate.


With its picturesque beach, outdoor recreational opportunities, vibrant arts scene, and rich history, Rockport Beach is a hidden gem along the Texas Gulf Coast that promises a memorable seaside experience for visitors of all ages.


Port Aransas

Nestled on Mustang Island, Port Aransas is a vibrant coastal town that offers the perfect blend of beach relaxation, outdoor adventure, and small-town charm. With its stunning shoreline, diverse wildlife, and lively atmosphere, Port Aransas is a beloved destination for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.


The main attraction of Port Aransas is its beautiful beaches. With over 18 miles of sandy shores, there is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sun. Whether you’re looking to swim, build sandcastles, or simply take a leisurely walk along the coast, the beaches of Port Aransas provide the perfect backdrop for a day of relaxation.


Port Aransas is known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas,” making it a dream destination for anglers of all skill levels. Charter a fishing boat to venture out into the Gulf of Mexico and try your luck at catching a variety of species, including redfish, trout, and snapper. If you prefer shore fishing, the jetties and piers offer excellent opportunities to reel in your next big catch.


Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled to discover the abundance of animal encounters in Port Aransas. The city is home to the Port Aransas Nature Preserve, a 1,217-acre park that showcases the diverse coastal habitats of the area. Visitors can spot a wide array of bird species, including herons, pelicans, and the magnificent roseate spoonbills. The preserve also offers hiking trails and boardwalks, providing opportunities to observe native plants and animals up close.


For a unique and exhilarating experience, take a dolphin-watching tour from the port. These excursions offer the chance to see these graceful creatures in their natural habitat as they swim and play in the waters surrounding Port Aransas.


In addition to its natural attractions, Port Aransas offers a lively and welcoming atmosphere. The town is known for its fun-loving beach culture and friendly locals. Stroll along Beach Street, the main thoroughfare, to explore an array of shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Indulge in fresh seafood at one of the many local eateries or enjoy a cold drink at a beachfront bar as you watch the sunset over the ocean.


Port Aransas also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year, including the popular Whooping Crane Festival and the Texas SandFest, a sand sculpting competition that attracts artists from around the world.


Whether you’re seeking a laid-back beach vacation, an action-packed fishing adventure, or a chance to experience the beauty of coastal wildlife, Port Aransas offers a little something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the charm and coastal splendor of this beloved Texas beach town.


Mustang Island State Park

Located on the northern end of Mustang Island, Mustang Island State Park is a true coastal paradise that offers a pristine and untouched natural environment. Spanning over 5 miles of beautiful shoreline, this state park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.


The beaches of Mustang Island State Park are a highlight for visitors. With their soft, white sands and sparkling blue waters, they provide the ideal setting for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. The park’s undeveloped coastline offers a sense of seclusion and tranquility, allowing visitors to connect with nature and escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


One of the unique features of Mustang Island State Park is the opportunity for camping. The park offers both primitive and developed campsites, allowing visitors to spend the night under the stars and wake up to the sound of crashing waves. Camping enthusiasts can pitch their tents or park their RVs amidst the coastal dunes, immersing themselves in the peaceful serenity of the park.


Outdoor activities abound in Mustang Island State Park. Fishing is a popular pastime, with ample opportunities for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The park has two fishing piers and a boat ramp, making it easy to cast a line and try your luck at catching redfish, trout, or flounder.


The park also offers several nature trails, allowing visitors to explore the unique coastal ecosystem. The Mustang Island Paddling Trail is a favorite among kayakers and canoeists, offering a picturesque route through the marshes and bays of the island. Hiking and birdwatching are also popular activities, with the chance to spot a variety of bird species, including the iconic roseate spoonbill.


For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, Mustang Island State Park is a hub for water sports. Surfing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing are popular activities, thanks to the consistent coastal winds and wave conditions. The park’s wide stretches of beach provide ample room for thrill-seekers to ride the waves and feel the exhilaration of these exciting water sports.


Whether you’re camping under the stars, fishing in the Gulf, or exploring the diverse ecosystems, Mustang Island State Park offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Texas coast.


Corpus Christi Beach

Corpus Christi Beach is a beloved coastal destination that offers a perfect blend of sun, sand, and surf. Located in the vibrant city of Corpus Christi, this beach is known for its breathtaking views, lively atmosphere, and a variety of recreational activities.


With its soft, golden sand and warm Gulf waters, Corpus Christi Beach provides the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day by the sea. From swimming and sunbathing to building sandcastles and flying kites, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The beach is family-friendly, with lifeguards on duty, and offers amenities such as picnic areas, a playground, and even beach volleyball courts for some active fun.


Corpus Christi Beach is also a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts. Windsurfing, kiteboarding, and paddleboarding are all popular activities, thanks to the consistent coastal breezes and calm waters. Lessons and rentals are available for those looking to try their hand at these exhilarating water sports.


Fishing enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to cast their lines at Corpus Christi Beach. The Bob Hall Pier is a favorite fishing spot, offering access to deeper waters and the chance to reel in a variety of fish, including redfish, trout, and sheepshead. Surf fishing along the beach is also a popular activity, allowing anglers to try their luck in catching their next big catch.


Corpus Christi Beach is not only a place for beach relaxation and water activities; it also offers a range of attractions and entertainment options. The nearby Texas State Aquarium provides an immersive experience, showcasing a variety of marine life and offering educational presentations. The USS Lexington Museum on the Bay offers a glimpse into the history of aircraft carriers and allows visitors to explore the decks of this decommissioned naval ship.


Food lovers will delight in the diverse culinary scene surrounding Corpus Christi Beach. From fresh seafood restaurants serving up Gulf favorites like shrimp and oysters to casual beachfront cafes and ice cream shops, there is a wide array of dining options to suit every palate.


For those seeking a dose of culture and entertainment, the downtown area of Corpus Christi is just minutes away from the beach. Visitors can explore galleries, museums, and shops, or catch a live performance at the Harbor Playhouse or the Selena Auditorium.


Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the beach, an adventurous water sports experience, or a cultural excursion, Corpus Christi Beach offers a vibrant coastal getaway that will leave visitors with lasting memories.


Boca Chica State Park

If you’re looking for a secluded and unspoiled beach getaway, look no further than Boca Chica State Park. Situated on a narrow strip of land at the southernmost tip of Texas, this hidden gem offers a pristine coastal experience away from the crowds.


Boca Chica State Park is known for its untouched natural beauty. The beach here is a tranquil haven, with soft sands and crystal-clear waters stretching as far as the eye can see. The remote location of the park enhances its serenity, providing a sense of peaceful solitude that is hard to find in more popular beach destinations.


One of the unique features of Boca Chica State Park is its diverse wildlife. The park is home to a variety of bird species, making it a prime location for birdwatching enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for shorebirds, waterfowl, and even rare species that frequent the area. The park’s wetlands and dunes provide an important habitat for these beautiful creatures.


Nature exploration is a highlight at Boca Chica State Park. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, observing seashells and other marine treasures washed ashore. Hiking trails wind through the park, revealing stunning views of the Gulf and the surrounding coastal landscape. Keep an eye out for sea turtles nesting during the nesting season, as Boca Chica State Park serves as an important nesting ground for these endangered creatures.


Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to cast their lines at Boca Chica State Park. Surf fishing is a popular activity, with a chance to catch fish such as redfish, flounder, and trout. As you fish, take in the beauty of the undisturbed shoreline and let the sounds of the crashing waves create a serene backdrop.


For those interested in learning more about the local ecology, the park offers educational programs and nature walks led by knowledgeable rangers. These guided experiences provide insights into the unique ecosystem of the area, offering a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders that abound.


It’s important to note that Boca Chica State Park is a remote and undeveloped area, and visitors should come prepared. There are limited facilities available, so it’s advisable to bring food, water, and any other necessary supplies. Also, check the operating hours and any necessary permits or reservations before planning your visit to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.


If you’re seeking a secluded and untouched beach destination where you can truly connect with nature, Boca Chica State Park is the perfect choice. Immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty and experience a coastal getaway like no other.


Crystal Beach

Tucked away on the Bolivar Peninsula, Crystal Beach is a hidden gem along the Texas Gulf Coast. Known for its pristine shores, vibrant atmosphere, and family-friendly environment, Crystal Beach is a beloved destination for locals and visitors alike.


The main attraction of Crystal Beach is its stunning shoreline. With miles of soft, sandy beaches, this coastal paradise offers ample space for sunbathing, beachcombing, and building sandcastles. Crystal Beach is known for its crystal-clear waters, which are perfect for swimming, splashing, and cooling off on hot summer days.


What sets Crystal Beach apart is its relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Unlike some more crowded beach destinations, Crystal Beach offers a sense of serenity and a chance to truly unwind. Families will appreciate the family-friendly nature of the beach, with shallow waters and gentle waves, making it safe for children to play.


Crystal Beach is also a favorite spot for water sports enthusiasts. The calm Gulf waters provide ideal conditions for kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. Rent equipment from one of the local rental shops and enjoy exploring the coastal waters and discovering hidden coves and inlets.


Fishing is another popular activity in Crystal Beach. Cast a line from the beach or venture out onto the nearby fishing piers to try your luck at catching a variety of Gulf fish such as flounder, speckled trout, or redfish. You can also charter a fishing boat and head out into deeper waters for a chance at reeling in a big catch.


One of the unique features of Crystal Beach is the opportunity for beachfront camping. Many RV parks and campgrounds line the beach, allowing visitors to spend the night right by the water’s edge. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the Gulf – a truly unforgettable experience.


If you’re looking to explore beyond the beach, Crystal Beach offers various activities and attractions. Take a ferry ride to Galveston Island for a day trip, or visit the nearby Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary, a protected area that provides a habitat for numerous migratory bird species.


Crystal Beach is also home to several local eateries, where you can savor fresh seafood and other coastal specialties. Indulge in a seafood feast or grab a casual beachfront bite, all while enjoying the laid-back vibe and friendly ambiance of the area.


For beach lovers seeking a relaxed and family-friendly environment, Crystal Beach is an ideal destination. Experience the beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast, create lasting memories with loved ones, and soak up the sun and sea breeze at this charming coastal retreat.


Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Nestled along the shores of Matagorda Bay, Matagorda Bay Nature Park offers a serene and unspoiled coastal experience for nature enthusiasts. With its diverse ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and beautiful landscapes, this park is a hidden gem on the Texas Gulf Coast.


Matagorda Bay Nature Park is a haven for outdoor activities and wildlife observation. The park’s pristine beaches, dunes, and wetlands provide a habitat for a wide variety of bird species. Birdwatchers can spot everything from colorful songbirds to majestic shorebirds, making this park a paradise for avian enthusiasts.


One of the highlights of Matagorda Bay Nature Park is its extensive boardwalk system. These elevated pathways wind through the marshes and wetlands, allowing visitors to explore the park without disturbing the delicate ecosystems. Take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalks and observe the native plants and animals that thrive in this coastal environment.


Fishing is a popular activity in Matagorda Bay Nature Park, as the park grants access to both bay and surf fishing. The bay is known for its abundance of redfish, trout, and flounder, providing plenty of opportunities to reel in a catch. The park also has a fishing pier that extends into the bay, offering a convenient spot for anglers to cast their lines.


In addition to its natural wonders, Matagorda Bay Nature Park offers amenities and recreational facilities. The park has picnic areas, BBQ pits, and pavilions, making it an ideal spot for a family outing or a gathering with friends. Overnight camping is also available, allowing visitors to spend more time in this idyllic coastal setting.


Kayaking and paddleboarding are popular water activities in the park, allowing visitors to explore Matagorda Bay and its surrounding estuaries. Rental equipment is available for those who wish to explore the calm waters at their own pace and discover hidden corners of the park.


For those seeking a more leisurely experience, simply relax on the park’s tranquil beaches and soak up the sun. The serene atmosphere, coupled with the breathtaking views of the bay, creates a sense of peace and tranquility that is truly rejuvenating.


Matagorda Bay Nature Park also organizes educational events and nature programs, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn about the local flora, fauna, and conservation efforts. Join a guided tour or attend a nature walk to gain a deeper understanding of this unique coastal ecosystem.


With its stunning natural landscapes, rich biodiversity, and a range of outdoor activities, Matagorda Bay Nature Park offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast and experience the serenity and wonder of this hidden coastal gem.



Texas may not immediately come to mind when thinking about pristine beaches and stunning islands, but the state is home to a diverse range of coastal destinations that offer breathtaking natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and a wealth of recreational opportunities. From the vibrant South Padre Island to the charming Crystal Beach, each beach and island in Texas has its own unique charm and attractions.


Whether you’re seeking a lively beach town with a bustling nightlife or a secluded island getaway where you can reconnect with nature, Texas has it all. South Padre Island, with its vibrant atmosphere and thrilling water sports, is perfect for adventure seekers. Galveston Island offers a charming blend of history, beautiful beaches, and family-friendly attractions.


For those seeking untouched natural beauty, Padre Island National Seashore and Mustang Island State Park provide a chance to immerse themselves in the coastal ecosystem and observe diverse wildlife. Boca Chica State Park offers a secluded and raw coastal experience, while Crystal Beach provides a welcoming and tranquil atmosphere for beachgoers.


In Corpus Christi Beach, visitors can enjoy a mix of sandy shores, water sports, and cultural attractions, while Matagorda Bay Nature Park offers a serene retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.


Each beach and island in Texas has its own unique appeal, but they all share a common thread – a love for the sea, sun, and sand. Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or a chance to connect with nature, the beaches and islands of Texas provide a perfect escape.


So pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sense of adventure, and embark on a journey to explore the hidden treasures along the Texas coast. Discover the magic of these beautiful destinations, create unforgettable memories, and let the coastal wonders of Texas leave a lasting impression on your heart.