Texas is famous internationally for its wide-open ranges, romantic sunsets, and incredible barbecue. But it isn’t all grassy fields and cattle ranches; it also has some of the most beautiful beaches you can find anywhere in the world. Texas boasts more than 370 miles of coastline, and what you can experience changes dramatically from beach to beach. With plenty of attractions and views to choose from, the shores of Texas are bound to have what you’re looking for.
One of the most popular beaches in Texas is Port Aransas, a family-friendly beach on Mustang Island. You can enjoy sport fishing, parasailing, and the only seaside links-style golf course in Texas. Many cabin rentals sit right on the coast, letting you reach the waters by taking only a few steps out of your door. The beach is also a short distance north from Mustang Island’s official state park, which means you can enjoy some beach camping, too!
In the spring, South Padre Island explodes with life as wild spring break parties pop up across its beaches. However, throughout the rest of the year, the island becomes an almost calm locale. You could spend your time next to a beach bar, dancing and drinking the night away, or you could head north and hang out on the relaxing, less busy sands. Fishing, surfing, and dolphin watching are all available to you on South Padre Island.
On the tip of the Bolivar Peninsula sits one of the most interesting beaches in Texas. Because the peninsula separates Galveston Bay from the Gulf of Mexico, it has unique wildlife and scenery. Beach visitors can spend their day searching for hermit crabs or observing over 100 species of majestic, migratory birds. Crystal Beach also allows you to have a campfire directly on the sand for a truly memorable experience. Nothing beats the warmth of a campfire as the cool sea air blows gently over you.
If you’re looking for a slice of paradise, search no further than San José Island, also known as St. Jo Island. You can only access this beach by taking a boat from Port Aransas, but this also means that there are no crowds, cars, or businesses to disrupt your time there. If you have an interest in shell collecting, this is one of the best beaches in the United States. There are no amenities available on St. Jo Island, but preparing for your trip in advance with snacks and supplies is worth it to enjoy the island's beautiful, crystal clear waters.
Anyone who knows Texas’ incredible beaches is probably aware of the beaches of Corpus Christi. North Beach, formerly known as Corpus Christi Beach, is one location you don’t want to miss if you're stopping in the city. Take a walk across the white sands during the day, then cool off with a dip or relax in a charming cabana. Dolphin Park playground sits on the north end of the area, and there are many options for fishing. The beach is also just a short distance away from some of Corpus Christi’s most iconic sites, including the Texas State Aquarium and the U.S.S. Lexington.
If you have small children and worry about the potential risks of waves and choppy waters, you should visit Rockport Beach. This beach is great for people of all ages, but its gentle, shallow waves are ideal for young kids. Couples can stroll across its beautiful promenade or set down some chairs for some sunbathing. It’s also a major hotspot for fishing and volleyball. Make sure to take a picture with the Big Blue Crab before heading down to the pristine sands.
For people who want to bring their furry friends to the beach, Surfside is an excellent choice. It’s only a short drive outside of Houston and welcomes dogs as long as they remain on a leash. Fishing fans love to wade out into the water, looking for bonito, kingfish, and ling. Others enjoy taking a walk up to the less busy northern sections where they can bird watch in a calm and serene setting. Surfside can get pretty busy on weekends, so visit during the week if you prefer your solitude.
Just because you enjoy some fun in the sun doesn’t mean you enjoy the massive crowds that many beaches seem to draw. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys being by themselves, you should check out Malaquite Beach. Large crowds are rare, and the beach is large enough that you can avoid most groups of people. There are almost 60 miles of perfect, powdery sand. Plus, you can enjoy kayaking and windsurfing throughout most of the year. Tent campers can set up camp on the beach or a nearby campsite.
Sure, this serene and easygoing beach doesn’t have some of the amenities that those near bigger cities do, but it more than makes up for it. One of the most endangered sea turtles, the Kemp's ridley sea turtle, comes to Boca Chica Beach to nest in the spring and summer. You'll also discover tons of fun activities like surf fishing and kiteboarding, and many visitors choose to bring snorkeling equipment to explore the sea. Many others choose to prop up a comfortable beach chair and bask in the beach’s laid-back energy.
When choosing where to visit, it’s common to make sacrifices in terms of what activities you get to enjoy. However, Matagorda Bay Nature Park gives you more than you could ask for. If you want to go swimming and leave your footprints in the sand, you can. Or you can hike across the beach and visit the wetlands for some paddling. You could even sit in the rocky areas and watch the birds. There are also plenty of spots for tent and RV camping. No matter what you want out of your beach experience, you can find it at Matagorda Bay.