11 Best Beaches In Texas For 2022: When to Visit & More
Texas is the second-largest state in the United States, behind only Alaska. Its lands have impressive valleys, and natural reserves in mountains and canyons. But its coasts have ideal beaches to spend a moment with friends or family.
Although the beaches of Texas are not emerald-like those of Florida, they are clean, and you can enjoy the warm weather, the sand, tranquillity, or endless fun. We list travelers’ favorites. Which one do you choose?
When you think of the sea, perhaps Texas is not the first thing that comes to mind since we have other tourist attractions such as lakes, rivers, and historic towns highly visited all year round. The Gulf Coast is considered the third-largest coast in the United States, after the East Coast and the West Coast.
11 Best Beaches In Texas For 2022: When to Visit
Texas is the second-largest state in the American Union, with 268,597 square miles (695,663 kilometers). It also has 400 miles (1,036 kilometers) of a very picturesque coastline, ideal for those perfect sunny days.
When you think of the sea, perhaps Texas is not the first thing that comes to mind since we have other tourist attractions such as lakes, rivers, and historic towns highly visited throughout the year. The Gulf Coast is considered the third coast of the United States, after the East Coast and the West Coast.
In the southeast of our Lone Star, the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide us with excellent beach destinations; visitors can swim, fish, sail, kayak, watch seabirds, walk with the kids, bring their picnic, watch the sunset, take lots of photos, eat fresh fish or shellfish, maybe hop on a boat for a fun-filled day with the whole family.
With 34 miles of beautiful sand and clear water, South Padre Island is one of the most exquisite barrier islands globally and the only tropical island in Texas.
There is a big difference between when the beach is free to access or when it is private in Texas. You will see a clean and safe area when you pay for your ticket.
1. Boca Chica Beach
When it comes to Texas beaches, Boca Chica Beach, 13 km long, is the closest you can get to Mexico without crossing the border. The only thing separating the two is the mighty Rio Grande, which flows east to the Gulf.
This quiet beach, part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge and is protected by the state, is as rustic and untouched as you can imagine. Consequently, there are no facilities in the vicinity, so be sure to bring all the food, water, and beach essentials you want or need.
Although it is certainly a drawback, this lack of development is precisely what makes Boca Chica so unique. The area is quiet and relaxed, perfect for enjoying life’s slower pleasures: swimming, diving, fishing, bird watching, or simply basking in the sun while browsing your favorite reading on the beach.
Where is the clearest water in Texas? The beach with the clearest water in Texas is Boca Chica beach on South Padre Island.
A top tip: Visit the area between April and July for a chance to see Kemp’s ridley sea turtles – the world’s smallest, rarest, and critically endangered species of sea turtle – that nest here each year.
2. Crystal Beach
Are you looking to have a good time? Drive to the Bolivar Peninsula in the Upper Gulf of Texas and catch a ferry bound for Crystal Beach in Galveston.
Despite how secluded it is, Crystal Beach offers an authentic party atmosphere. Visitors can drive their cars and trucks directly onto the sand ($ 10 fee per vehicle), camp overnight (free), and set up grills and bonfires, encouraging groups to get together and have fun throughout summer.
Fishing, hunting for shells and hermit crabs, and bird watching (more than 100 migratory species flock to the Bolivar Peninsula each year) are also popular. After sunset, nearby restaurants, bars and clubs keep the energy high.
For even more family fun, visit the local Fun Spot waterslide and Bolivar Point Lighthouse, an 1872 lighthouse that has survived multiple hurricanes.
3. Galveston Island
An hour south of Houston, Galveston Island is a favorite local getaway from city life. It is not to say that Galveston is bustling – there are as many quiet corners as busy areas along the area’s boardwalk.
East Beach is the largest beach in Texas and the prettiest in Galveston (and the only beach on the island that allows alcohol), so it gets very crowded. Concerts and festivals are held throughout the summer, including an annual sandcastle competition. There is also a playground for children.
Are you interested in sandcastle classes? To do this, head to Stewart Beach, where instead of alcohol, you’ll find seasonal lifeguards, umbrella and chair rentals, and an even more family-friendly atmosphere.
Keep walking west on Seawall Boulevard, and you’ll end up at Galveston Island’s Historic Pleasures Pier, one of the island’s biggest attractions. Its amusement park has a steel roller coaster and a 30-meter high Ferris wheel and is very close to the best restaurants, bars, and hotels on the island in front of the beach, such as the Hotel Galvez and Spa (from 215 $ or 30,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night).
Top Tip: Galveston Island State Park, on the western tip of the island, protects 2,000 acres of beach, salt marshes, wetlands, and several lagoons. Admission is $ 5 per adult (or free for children 12 and under).
4. Matagorda Bay Natura Park
Much of Matagorda Island, immediately northeast of San José Island, is occupied by the Matagorda Bay Natural Park, a hidden gem off the beaten path on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Only half of Matagorda’s 58 miles of beach is accessible on foot, which helps to keep the area in its natural state. Still, if you can cope with the primitive surroundings and bring plenty of supplies and sunscreen, it promises to be one of Texas’s most serene beach experiences.
When you’re not camping in the sand, horseback riding in the water, or kayaking along the shoreline, the rest of the inland region is ready to be explored.
Follow one of the hiking trails to see the changing dunes or venture into the coastal marshes home to herons, storks, and spoonbills. Although no longer open to the public, the Matagorda Island rusty lighthouse, built-in 1852, is another favorite visit.
5. Mustang Island State Park
East of Corpus Christi, Mustang Island gets its name from the wild horses that once roamed it and is arguably the most beautiful and best-value beach vacation destination in Texas.
There is only one city on the island: Port Aransas. The rest is reserved for Mustang Island State Park, a magnificent natural strip of land home to 20 miles of trails, 5 miles of beach, green dunes, surfing waves, and a healthy population of shorebirds, dolphins, and turtles.
Swimming, bird watching, stand-up paddleboarding, and kayaking are noble activities here – the shallow water paddle trail allows you to get up close to the park’s wildlife – as well as fishing at the multiple jetties.
There are also charters available for the more severe fishermen; For people who want to stay awhile, there are 98 camps available, located directly on the sand or at the back of the Father and with electricity.
6. North Beach
North Beach is living proof that you don’t have to leave the Texas city limits to enjoy quality beach time. One of the best beaches in the state is located just across the Harbor Bridge from Corpus Christi, the second largest metropolis (behind San Antonio) in South Texas.
From this 1.5-mile-long stretch of sand, two of Texas’s most outstanding attractions are within easy reach. Perhaps the most famous is the USS Lexington, a WWII aircraft carrier turned naval museum that you can take photos of from North Beach.
A paved walk along the beach from North Beach also leads directly to the non-profit Texas State Aquarium, which features a 4D movie theatre. It is a 400,000-gallon tank that serves as a habitat for sharks and a jungle exhibit home to flora and fauna native to the Yucatan, such as flamingos and southern two-toed sloths.
7. Padre Island National Seashore
Nowhere else in the world will you find an undeveloped barrier island as long as the Father’s. About 50 km from Corpus Christi, the 80 km of beaches and dunes that make up the National Coast of Padre Island are a paradise for nature lovers, with more than 300 species of birds, as well as Kemp’s turtle, in danger of extinction.
If it sounds rough, that’s because it is. The seashore belongs to birds and turtles, but those in the know come here to relax, camp, windsurf, kayak, and stroll the waterline in solitude.
In the shallow waters of the Laguna Madre, you can kayak and snorkel, and the aptly named Gran Concha and La Pequena Concha beaches are where you can best practice fishing. However, beachgoers can have more fun at the Malaquite Swimming Beach, where park rangers organize sea turtle releases and lead conservation programs.
Padre Island is also one of the best areas in the country for bird watching, which is especially spectacular during the early spring, fall, and winter.
Important Tip: Entry to the park costs $ 10 per vehicle for a day pass or $ 15 per pedestrian or cyclist. Campsites are also available but have additional fees ($ 14 per night at Malaquite Campground; $ 8 per night at Big Island Basin).
8. Port Aransas
The best family destination on Mustang Island, the sleepy little town of Port Aransas, draws more people than Mustang State Park, but never more than the ever-popular Galveston or South Padre Island.
Comfort is the key here. Relaxed restaurants and vacation rental homes line the 18-mile-long beach, where it’s only a short walk to the sand. Well-maintained facilities include outdoor toilets and showers.
Due to the popularity of the beach, parties are held here throughout the year. The most significant event in Port Aransas is the Texas SandFest, a weekend sand sculpture competition where concessions, live music, and activities attract thousands of people. For bird enthusiasts, the Picket Crane Festival also takes place every February.
9. Rockport Beach
Cars, dogs, bonfires, fireworks, and beach camping are prohibited on Rockport Beach to keep its sand (and water) as clean as possible. These relentless efforts have paid off in a big way: this was the first beach in Texas to earn “Blue Wave Beach,” an environmental certification that recognizes America’s clean, well-managed beaches all the world.
Locals spend their time swimming, playing volleyball on the beach courts, and fishing off the pier, as well as lazing on the thatched palapas that line the sand in a crescent shape. Families especially like the shallow waters and the facilities available, including picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. Parking costs $ 5 a day.
The nearby town of Rockport, with its restaurants, art galleries, hotels, including the charming Lighthouse Inn at Aransas Bay, and weekend events, is another pleasant distraction. If you visit in March, don’t miss the annual Fulton Oyster Festival, which supports the local volunteer fire department.
10. San José Island
It would help if you had a boat to set foot on this pristine island off Port Aransas. Once you arrive, you will be limited only to the beach (San José, or “St. Jo” as the locals call it, is privately owned, so there are no restaurants or shops), but then that is what you have come for enjoy.
The jetty is a perfect spot to fish for flounder or speckled trout, the water is astonishingly clear (a rarity for Texas), and since cars are not allowed on the island, the area is incredibly safe calm, and clean.
For that level of cleanliness to last, there are no facilities, toilets, running water, or even shade. If you plan to spend a long time in the sun, umbrellas, snacks, water, and refrigerators are essential to pack before leaving.
Bird watching and shell hunting are popular pastimes on San José Island. If you are fond of the former, be sure to attend the Piquera Crane Festival held in nearby Puerto Aransas every February.
Tip: The Jetty Boat transports passengers to San Jose Island from Fisherman’s Wharf ($ 12 roundtrip per adult, $ 6 per child) in Port Aransas all day.
11. South Padre Island
There’s no denying the beauty found along this 34-mile-long barrier island just north of Boca Chica, nor the crowds. South Padre is considered one of the busiest beaches in Texas. It has to be attributed to the stellar conditions for kite-surfing and parasailing, the pet-friendly beaches, the diversity of fauna and flora, the relatively affordable hotels, and the fact that drinking is allowed on the sand.
March is the peak season when spring break tourists flock to dance and party during all-day beach parties. The South Padre Bay area is especially appreciated for its lively beach bars and incredible sunsets. If you want to avoid the crowds, the island’s northern tip is usually much quieter, although less developed.
Outside of March, the rest of the year is a fantastic time to visit, especially Isla Blanca Park. The beaches are wide, the pavilions are full of food stalls, the boat tours offer everything from deep-sea fishing to dolphin watching, and there is even a Beach Park water park with 13 slides and a zip line.
Tip: Stay nearby at Isla Grand Beach Resort, where guests enjoy oceanfront rooms, two pools, and a nightclub.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Beaches In Texas For 2022
What is the number one beach in Texas?
Rockport Beach is named the best in Texas! Texas is known for many things – cowboys, barbecue, Old West heritage, and wide-open spaces – which may be why its 600-mile sparkling coastline along the Gulf of Mexico is so often overlooked.
Does Texas have any pretty beaches?
The Best Beaches in Texas. With 350-plus miles of coastline, Texas has sandy beaches for days. Here, are the top five beaches in the Lone Star State. It can be hard to find hidden pockets of natural beaches between the spring breakers and year-round partiers on South Padre Island to beaches with more dirt than sand.
Where is the most transparent water in Texas?
Where is the most transparent water in Texas? The beach with the clearest water in Texas is Boca Chica beach on South Padre Island.
Is Corpus Christi or South Padre Island better?
Some tips: South Padre Island IS the best of the two. It has better beaches, better accommodations, better restaurants and, in my opinion, friendlier people. However, I love both towns! Corpus is closer to the major cities and has more things to do, but SPI… .it’s just in the smack middle of nowhere.
Are there white sand beaches in Texas?
Texas’ blistering summers draw residents and travelers to its many miles of white sand beaches. Many beaches sit on the state’s long, thin barrier islands, which stretch from Sea Rim State Park in the northeast to South Padre Island, near Mexico.
Other beaches like McGee Beach, Jamaica Beach, Port Aransas, and Malaquita Beach. Although this cowboy country can’t compare to the Bahamas, Hawaii, or Cancun, definitely taking a road trip to the shores of Port Isabel or Galveston will make you fall in love even more with what Texas has to offer.
Note: Sometimes, the beaches are closed for maintenance or natural events. Check what conditions they are in before you start planning your trip. According to the law, if you were born in 1993 or later, to sail on your own in motorboats or sailboats, you need special permits, take the safety course and register your boat. A current state fishing license is required to fish in Texas. Regulations for Flying Drones in Texas. Carrying weapons in public places.
Remember: No glass containers or bottles should be brought onto Texas beaches, rivers, or lakes. Find out if you can take your dog, but it must be on a leash and muzzle.
Caution: Due to the proximity to the Mexican border, on the return road from South Padre Island to the north, there are checkpoints of the United States border patrol; these are Brownsville, TX, and Falfurrias, TX.
If you want to have a good time, music should be played at a moderate volume, pick up the trash and always leave the place better than you found it. Be nice.
Everything is bigger in Texas.
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