Despite its location along the Gulf of Mexico, Texas really doesn’t have a global reputation for world-class beaches. That’s a shame, because you will find some incredible opportunities to relax, explore, and rejuvenate along the 350 miles of coastal shores that the state offers. Here are some of the best beaches in Texas for you to consider visiting if you find yourself in the Lone Star State.
- Boca Chica
This is the beach you’ll want to visit when you want the authentic Texas experience. Its 8 miles of almost vacant bliss, giving you the chance to enjoy the crashing waves and warm sun all on your own. Its right between the delta on the Rio Grande and the lower Laguna Madre, so there’s some character to this beach as well. It’s a bit rustic, but incredibly beautiful, and will give you the chance to get away from all of the other tourist hot spots for a while.
This beach receives a lot of care. It’s always relatively clean, even though it does see a moderately high level of traffic each day. What’s nice about your time here is that it faces a bay instead of the Gulf proper, which reduces the waves and riptides that other beaches see, making it the perfect spot for a swim. It’s also been given a romantic uplift with a lighted jetty pier that’s 1,500 feet in length, offering you a nice sunset stroll and a perfect view.
- South Padre Island
Many list this beach as the best in Texas for good reason. The weather is consistent, the spacing is good even when the beach is busy, and the waves are great for a seaside stroll. There’s a bar scene for those who want to have a good time, fine dining options, and beachside service. Maybe the best part about a visit to this beach is the sea life, as turtles and dolphins can be spotted here on a regular basis. It may be a tourist spot, but it is abundantly beautiful.
- Mustang Island
This state park will give you a vista that stretches out to the horizon, with waves overlapping waves in consistent harmony. Pick a spot on the large sandy beach and relax the afternoon away with nearly uninterrupted isolation. There are water sports opportunities available in the state park and because it’s in Corpus Christi Bay, you’ve got two different shorelines to explore. Take advantage of the paddling trails for a unique Texas adventure.
- Port Aransas
If you want to avoid the tourist beaches in Texas, but you still want the same type of experience, then this is the beach for you. It’s a favorite for the locals and you’ll find that the atmosphere is very laid-back and relaxed. Head out into the water for some fun, grab a skimboard or a bodyboard to take advantage of the waves, and you’ll have a fantastic time. It’s still busy, but without the huge crowds of people jostling for umbrella space.
Sure. The beaches in Galveston have a poor reputation when it comes to cleanliness and atmosphere, but that isn’t the case for every single beach. The island has some wonderful spots where you can pitch a chair, grab a book, and read blissfully underneath an umbrella for hours on end. Services are just a few feet away if you need them. The pay-service beaches tend to be overcrowded – we highly recommend taking some space around Pleasure Pier to avoid the largest crowds.
- Crystal Beach
If you’ve decided that Galveston isn’t the place you want to go, then this beach on the Bolivar Peninsula is a wonderful second option. Consider renting a cabin on this beach so that you can prolong your stay at very affordable rates. You can sometimes drive on this beach as well. It’s not isolated, but it’s also not as busy as you might think one of the best beaches in Texas would be, and that makes for a winning combination.
- Padre Island
Texas is home to some great beaches, but it’s also home to the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. If you love windsurfing, then we highly recommend making a stop at Bird Island Basin. You’ll also see plenty of wildlife out on the island, especially if you’re visiting in the hot months of June-August. Most people tend to head toward the northern part of the island for their adventures, so if you want a little elbow room, try heading in the opposite direction.
This is one of the few beaches in Texas which will allow you to make a bonfire out on the beach. As an added perk, there’s also plenty of free parking available, so you can head down in the morning and stay all day if you wish. You can drive on the beach if you want as well. We like it because the beach is impeccably clean and accessible from Houston with a short drive, yet is still undiscovered by many tourists who are seeking out a great beach in the state. It might not have big waves or world-class dining available, but it does have a wide beach with plenty of sunshine.
- Matagorda Bay
This beach is part of a nature preserve, so the atmosphere is a little different. You’ll find people bringing their tents for beach camping, families out exploring, and birdwatchers enjoying a warm afternoon in a way that seems peaceful and natural. It can get busy on some days, especially when school is out of session, but for the most part it’s a quiet beach that offers a lot of fun. It’s a great place for beachcombing, but there’s also plenty of space for those who just want to relax by sinking their toes into the warm sand.
The best beaches in Texas offer visitors a lot of variety to enjoy. From big waves to big sunshine, you can find a beach that is clean, comfortable, and offers you the amenities that you want to have for your day away. The Lone Star State might not be known for its beaches yet around the world, but with these beaches leading the way, that won’t be the case for very long.