Texas boasts almost 370-miles of coastline which gives us an array of beautiful beaches. Take a day trip if you live nearby or take a memorable vacation to one of Texas’ beach destinations.
Wondering where to go on the Texas coast? Keep reading for the 15 best beaches in Texas and discover the seaside treasures in the Lone Star State.
Whether you’re looking for an exciting Spring Break trip, a relaxing summer vacation, or a quick beach activity, you’re sure to find it at the best Texas beaches on our list. Let’s check them out!
1. Rockport Beach, Rockport
On a beautiful peninsula that juts out from the downtown of Rockport, Texas, Rockport Beach allows you to take in a little bit of nature while staying close to civilization. Despite its urban location, Rockport Beach is often referred to as the cleanest beach in the area. It’s even certified by the Clean Beaches Coalition and holds a “Blue Wave” certification.
Rockport is an incredibly comfortable place to take the kids for a swim because of all the conveniences. The beach is in the center of town and it’s surrounded by plenty to do. Families especially love that there are restrooms with showers available right by the ocean.
We also love the hiking trails, fishing piers, designated areas to launch windsurfs, and volleyball courts. There’s also a playground and picnic area with grills.
Given that Rockport Beach is right in town, it’s easy to find a place to spend the night. There are also many options for eating and nighttime entertainment.
2. Padre Island National Seashore, Corpus Christi
The beach at the Padre Island National Seashore is a bit more rugged than most beaches and stunning all the while. The island was named after Father José Nicolás Ballí, a missionary who used to own the island. Now the United States National Park Service runs Padre Island. It’s universally recognized as one of the best beaches in Texas.
Padre Island National Seashore is located on North Padre Island and is a great place to fish, swim, sunbathe, and do some bird watching. There are also events for releasing baby sea turtles. For a memorable experience, be sure to go horseback riding on the beach.
When it comes to staying on the island, the Malaquite Campground has campsites for pitching a tent and parking spots for those traveling with an RV. There are restrooms and a visitor center, but not much else beyond that.
The town of Corpus Christi is a 15-minute drive away if you’re looking for nearby restaurants and other activities.
3. McGee Beach, Corpus Christi
Another Corpus Christi beach, this one’s located on Corpus Christi Bay. McGee Beach is a popular spot for the locals.
McGee Beach is a sheltered beach and great for a relaxing day on the sand but not the best if you’re looking for some waves to surf. Beachgoers with children enjoy safe swimming opportunities here.
McGee has showers and restrooms right on the beach. If you’re looking for a place to stay the night or want to grab a treat from the beach bar, you can do so at Emeral Beach Hotel located right by the water.
4. South Packery Channel Beach, Corpus Christi
Located slightly further away from downtown Corpus Cristi than McGee Beach, South Packery Channel Beach (also called South Packery Jetty Beach) is another laid-back beach with a local vibe.
South Packery is considered to be a great fishing destination. You have the chance to catch many different types of fish, both large and small. Casting from the jetty or jetty boat is the easiest way to fish. However, there are some rocky areas below the jetty to be mindful of.
Aside from fishing, the long sandy shores allow for plenty of space to relax and do some beachcombing.
5. Mustang Island Beach, Corpus Christi
Mustang Island Beach is another popular beach getaway that’s located on a barrier island that shelters the southeast coast of the city. It lies within Mustang Island State Park.
The state park service puts a lot of effort into keeping the area clean, safe, and ready for visitors. Mustang Island Beach features a vast array of amenities to make your trip to the beach easy and fun from free WiFi to pet-friendly areas.
Get active on the water with rentals such as kite-boards, windsurfs, kayaks, and surfboards. You can also enjoy playing volleyball, exploring scenic trails, and snapping photos of the picturesque views. There are also many bird-watching opportunities to enjoy.
The beach itself is five miles long and you’re allowed to drive on it. This makes finding a parking spot incredibly easy. Want to stay the night? You can camp out at the park, too.
6. San Jose Island, Aransas County
San Jose Island is privately owned and accessible to the public by ferry. This undeveloped island is among the most unique Texas beaches.
The entire island used to be a ranch where domesticated horses held sway over it. These days, the island is a nature reserve that provides a habitat for many animals. As a result, the owners are serious about ensuring visitors don’t spoil the natural environment. They ask everyone to simply enjoy the beach area and avoid walking inland past the vegetation line.
The only way to get to San Jose Island is the ferry that runs from Port Arkansas, a charming little town on the edge of Corpus Cristi. Since driving on the beach is prohibited on the island, leaving your car in the port is best.
San Jose Island is famous for the quality and quantity of seashells you can find on the sandy shore. Wander around and you’ll find seashells, lightning whelks, shark teeth, and sand dollars.
After your beach town, you can return to the charming town of Port Aransas and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants on the island. There are also hotel rooms if you’re looking to stay the night.
7. McFaddin Beach, Sabine Pass
McFaddin Beach is located further north just outside of Port Arthur. The best part of this beach is that you can experience beach camping free of charge, which is a very rare but cool opportunity.
There aren’t many amenities at McFaddin Beach, but it’s one of the prettiest beaches you’ll find in the area. The sand is hard-packed and pretty in color. It’s a great place for catching fish and spotting crabs.
Since McFadden Beach is directly on the Gulf Coast, there’s often nice surf that comes in. However, there’s no place to rent a surfboard so be sure to bring your own.
8. Lighthouse Beach, Port Lava
Lighthouse Beach is a beautiful beach located on the shores of Port Lavaca, a charming beach town that’s the perfect location for a relaxing vacation. With just over 12,000 residents, the city is a hub for so-called ‘Winter Texans’ who leave colder climates in search of warmer weather and affordable RV parks.
Lighthouse Beach isn’t directly on the Gulf but rather gently slopes into Lavaca Bay. This keeps the waters calmer and the winds lower than beaches that directly face the ocean. Gentle waves make this a top family-friendly destination. There’s also a playground, splash pad, and picnic area.
Just steps away from the beach are plenty of dining options including beachfront restaurants and some that serve delicious local fish.
9. Magnolia Beach, Port Lavaca
A few miles down the Coast of Lavaca Bay, Magnolia Beach is one of the most popular tourist attractions for RVers on the Coast. That’s because driving on the beach is allowed and there’s free parking for all.
The community at Magnolia Beach first sprang up back in the late 19th Century when early residents built several vacation cottages to rent out. Since then, Magnolia Bay has sustained a small community that revolves around tourism.
There are still many rental houses and cottages if you want to stay the night and not camp. Though small, there’s plenty to do around town. Sweetwater Saloon is a popular restaurant. If you’re looking for some city life and more to do, Port Lavaca is just a few miles away.
10. Bryan Beach, Freeport
Just outside of Freeport, Bryan Beach is a wild beach on the Gulf of Mexico and is located right by the Bravos River. Bryan Beach is said to be one of the most stunning beaches in Texas.
Very close to the metropolitan area, Bryan Beach is one of the best Houston beaches and remains a popular place for people from the city to spend the afternoon in the sand and sun. All you have to do is jump on Interstate 288 and you’ll be there in a little over an hour.
The beach offers miles of wide sand which allows driving and overnight camping. With that said, tides are high when there’s high wind or big surf, so be mindful when choosing your spot. You can also find accommodation and activities in Freeport as it’s one of the larger Texas beach towns.
Popular spots we recommend checking out in the area include Bahamian Brewery and the Garden of the Groves.
11. Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville
Boca Chica Beach is located in south Texas right on the border of Mexico. We love the warm, sunny temperatures at this beach! In fact, it was recently named the #1 beach in Texas.
With bright white sand and gorgeous blue water, Boca Chica is one of the most beautiful beaches in Texas. It’s not small either—it stretches for more than eight miles top to bottom!
At the end of a long road that runs to the shore from Brownsville, Texas, there aren’t many amenities at the beach. However, you can bring all your supplies and camp right on the beach at no cost.
We find this location to be one-of-a-kind as it is less than a mile from the SpaceX Launch facility. You can often see massive rockets being prepared for launch as you drive towards the coast and from some areas of the beach itself.
For a special experience at Boca Chica Beach, go far south to see the Rio Grande River enter the sea and look across to Mexico.
12. Isla Blanca Beach, South Padre Island
Isla Blanca is a beach located on South Padre Island surrounded by various amenities and activities. The beach at South Padre Island runs along a nice neighborhood. Since the beach is conveniently located in town, there is a parking fee.
Right at the bottom of Isla Blanca, there’s a great fishing spot where a concrete jetty runs out into the deep water.
Families also love spending time at Isla Blanca Park, a recently opened water park with pools, water slides, and even a zip-line. Those with a scuba license can even swim around with several species of fish in the aquarium.
13. Jamaica Beach
Jamaica Beach is the only town on our list with its very own beach. It’s right outside of Galveston and is known for its great surf and the amazing nature found in the Galveston Island State Park.
Near the border of Louisiana, this area is a great representative of the North Texas Gulf coast. There’s clean golden sand, beautiful dunes with seagrass, and excellent surfing opportunities.
About a thousand people live in the thin strip of land that’s incorporated as Jamaica Beach, which has a couple of hotels for people looking to stay as well as RV parks.
There’s also a fair amount of businesses devoted to helping people enjoy the water, including Kayak rentals, offshore fishing tours, and even a Skydiving company.
14. Sea Rim State Park Beach, Sabine Pass
Sea Rim State Park is huge at more than 4,000 square feet and features a lovely beach. There’s a small entry fee but it’s worth it for the plentiful activities and conveniences.
Within the park, wooden boardwalks take you over the marshes and to the beach. From the Gambusia Nature Trail Boardwalk, you can do some bird watching and check out awesome views.
Visitors also enjoy kayaking, fishing, and paddleboarding. If you’re looking to stay the night, you can camp out or stay in a beach cabin.
15. Crystal Beach
On the Bolivar Peninsula, Crystal Beach is a laid-back, small town that caters to day-trippers from Houston and out-of-town tourists.
If you’re looking to get active on the beach, then you’ll love Crystal Beach. It’s one of the best beaches in Texas for surfing on the beach, kayaking, and windsurfing.
If you’re interested in birds, then you’ll enjoy spotting sea birds right on the beach. Crystal Beach is also near the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge where you can see snow geese, roseate spoonbills, sandhill cranes, and many other species of birds.
And, if you like music, Crystal Beach has that, too! There are awesome dive bars and restaurants which feature live music.
That’s not all! There are also a couple of excellent golf courses in the area. And, if the kids are joining, check out some nearby minigolf courses and arcades.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our roundup of the best beaches in Texas. As you can see, there are many jewels spread across the long Texas Gulf Coast.
Whether you’re looking to surf, fish, or relax, Texas beaches offer a range of activities. Enjoy your next beach vacation!