12 of The Best Texas Beaches Not to Miss!
When it comes to beach vacations, Texas has an abundance of options to offer. From serene islands and pristine seashores to vibrant beach towns, the state’s Gulf Coast presents an enticing selection of coastal retreats for every type of traveler. This article explores some of the best Texas beaches that are worth putting on your travel bucket list. Dive in to explore!
Table of Contents
- 1. South Padre Island: A Family-friendly Beach Paradise
- Isla Blanca Park
- Sea Turtle, Inc. and Sandcastle Trail
- 2. Mustang Island: A Gem for Active Travelers
- Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail
- 3. Padre Island National Seashore: An Untouched Natural Haven
- Malaquite Beach
- Little Shell Beach and Big Shell Beach
- 4. Surfside Beach: A Surfer’s Dream
- Bird & Butterfly Trail and Splash Pad
- 5. Port Aransas: A Beach Vacation with a Twist
- IB Magee Beach Park
- The Art Scene and Seafood Restaurants
- 6. Matagorda Bay Nature Park: A Blend of Land and Water
- Horseback Riding on the Beach
- 7. Corpus Christi: A City with Its Own Beaches
- McGee Beach
- North Beach
- 8. San Jose Island: Natural Beauty at Its Best
- Birding, Shelling, and Fishing
- 9. Boca Chica: Classic Beach Offerings
- Boca Chica Beach
- 10. Rockport Beach: Clean and Family-friendly
- Volleyball Courts, Playgrounds, and a Fishing Pier
- 11. Surfside Beach: A Surfer’s Paradise
- Bird & Butterfly Trail and Splash Pad
- 12. Boca Chica Beach: A Serene and Laid-back Destination
- Viewing Rocket Launches
1. South Padre Island: A Family-friendly Beach Paradise
South Padre Island, once known for its spring break parties, has evolved into a family-friendly beach destination. The island presents a breathtaking view of the Gulf of Mexico and boasts wide, sandy shores that stretch over 34 miles.
Isla Blanca Park
Located at the southernmost tip of the island, Isla Blanca Park is a popular spot that combines beach fun with a range of amenities. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, and relax under pavilions offering food facilities.
Sea Turtle, Inc. and Sandcastle Trail
For animal lovers, South Padre Island houses Sea Turtle, Inc., a rehabilitation center for sea turtles. Then, there’s the Sandcastle Trail, featuring around 30 professionally constructed sandcastles that are a sight to behold.
2. Mustang Island: A Gem for Active Travelers
Situated just 30 miles east of Corpus Christi and not for, Mustang Island is a favorite among families and active travelers. The island offers a range of activities, from surfing and camping to kayaking and paddleboarding.
Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail
The Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail is a highlight of the island. It’s a 20-mile series of shallow-water canals that offer opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. And if you’re lucky, you might spot turtles, dolphins, and birds on the island’s 18 miles of beautiful sands.
3. Padre Island National Seashore: An Untouched Natural Haven
The Padre Island National Seashore is a protected area that stretches across nearly 70 miles of beaches, dunes, and tidal flats along the Texas Gulf Coast. It’s the world’s longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island, making it a paradise for nature lovers.
Malaquite Beach is a popular spot within this protected area. Here, visitors can learn about local wildlife and conservation efforts through various interpretive programs and public sea turtle hatchling releases.
Little Shell Beach and Big Shell Beach
Little Shell Beach and Big Shell Beach are perfect for shelling, swimming, windsurfing, and camping. These wide, soft shorelines offer a tranquil escape from the bustle of city life.
4. Surfside Beach: A Surfer’s Dream
Situated 40 miles southwest of Galveston, Surfside Beach is a small town with the beach as its primary attraction. Known for its deep waters, the beach offers excellent conditions for surfing, kayaking, and jet skiing.
Bird & Butterfly Trail and Splash Pad
When not in the water, visitors can explore the Bird & Butterfly Trail or enjoy the splash pad with 10 water features. The clean environment and 4 miles of soft sand provide an ideal setting for sunbathing or reading a book.
5. Port Aransas: A Beach Vacation with a Twist
With San Jose Island to the north and Mustang Island State Park to the south, Port Aransas is an ideal location for a Texas beach vacation. The town offers much more than just beautiful sandy shores.
IB Magee Beach Park
IB Magee Beach Park is a popular spot in Port Aransas. It offers camping facilities and is located close to Horace Caldwell Pier, a hotspot for fishing enthusiasts.
The Art Scene and Seafood Restaurants
Apart from the beaches, Port Aransas has a thriving art scene, museums, boat tours, and seafood restaurants, ensuring visitors have a good time both on and off the sand.
6. Matagorda Bay Nature Park: A Blend of Land and Water
Where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll find Matagorda Bay Nature Park. The park comprises two miles of coastline and 1,333 acres of land, offering a variety of activities ranging from camping to fishing to crabbing and one of the best beaches in Texas.
Horseback Riding on the Beach
One unique feature of this park is the opportunity for horseback riding on the beach. Bird watching in the park’s coastal marshes is another popular activity.
7. Corpus Christi: A City with Its Own Beaches
Corpus Christi is not just a gateway to the surrounding shorelines, but it also boasts its own beaches.
McGee Beach is a small, clean beach within walking distance of downtown Corpus Christi. It offers gentle waves and a jetty for fishing.
To reach North Beach, visitors can cross the Harbor Bridge. The beach features a 1.5-mile stretch of sand and sits adjacent to attractions like the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington.
8. San Jose Island: Natural Beauty at Its Best
San Jose Island is a privately owned island that features 21 miles of pristine coastline. To reach this island, visitors need to take a short ferry ride from Port Aransas.
Birding, Shelling, and Fishing
Popular activities on the island include birding, shelling, and fishing. And if you’re lucky, you might spot sea turtles swimming around the island’s jetties.
9. Boca Chica: Classic Beach Offerings
Boca Chica, located north of Mexico across the Rio Grande, is a laid-back Texas beach destination. It may not have the extravagance of other beach towns, but it offers a classic beach experience with activities like fishing, swimming, surfing, and snorkeling.
Boca Chica Beach
The 8-mile Boca Chica Beach is the main attraction here. And with the SpaceX testing site nearby, you might even catch a rocket launch during your trip.
10. Rockport Beach: Clean and Family-friendly
Overlooking Aransas Bay in southeastern Texas, Rockport Beach is recognized as the first Blue Wave Beach in Texas by the Clean Beaches Coalition. It’s praised for its overall cleanliness and family-friendly facilities.
Volleyball Courts, Playgrounds, and a Fishing Pier
The crescent-shaped beach offers volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic tables, and a hot spot fishing pier. Plus, a natural saltwater pool makes it ideal for swimming.
11. Surfside Beach: A Surfer’s Paradise
40 miles southwest of Galveston, Surfside Beach is known for its deep waters that create superb conditions for surfing, kayaking, and jet skiing and considered one of the best beaches in Texas.
Bird & Butterfly Trail and Splash Pad
When not engaging in water sports, visitors can explore the Bird & Butterfly Trail or enjoy the splash pad with its 10 water features.
12. Boca Chica Beach: A Serene and Laid-back Destination
Located north of Mexico across the Rio Grande, Boca Chica is a serene and laid-back Texas beach destination. It may lack the bells and whistles of other beach towns, but it offers a classic beach experience with activities like fishing, swimming, surfing, and snorkeling.
Viewing Rocket Launches
With the SpaceX testing site nearby, you might get a chance to witness a rocket launch during your trip. Just remember to plan ahead as Boca Chica Beach is typically closed around launch dates.
Texas offers a diverse range of beach destinations for every type of traveler. Whether you’re seeking a family-friendly vacation, a peaceful retreat, or an adventure-filled trip, the best Texas beaches have something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to explore the coastal wonders of the Lone Star State!