From the Gulf Coast to the southern border, this state is home to some of the best Texas beach towns that you’ll want to add to your Texas bucket list. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or a lively beach town, the Texas coastline has it!
Our family is a beach family through and through! Our happiest days are spent with our toes in the sand and hours splashing in the water.
Our most recent trip was to Whitecap Beach on North Padre Island last month and it reminded us how we live our best lives at the beach! We spent hours a day body boarding with the easy convenience of walking from our condo just a block away. Gorgeous sunsets, clear water, and beautiful dunes = perfection!
From the powdery sandy on Mustang Island to the colorful, quirky buildings in Port A to the incredible amount of things to do in Galveston, you can’t go wrong! The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide the perfect backdrop for a Texas beach getaway, road trip, or Texas spring break destination.
Beautiful Beach Towns in Texas
All along the Texas coastline, you will find amazing beach towns that not only provide gorgeous beaches, but also many entertaining, historical, and relaxing things to do! Here are some of our favorite Texas beaches!
Galveston is a historic beach town located on Galveston Island, off the coast of Texas, near the city of Houston. As one of Texas’ most popular beach towns, they are known for their fun beaches, water sports, and local restaurants. You can enjoy quite the variety of activities, from swimming and sunbathing to exploring the town’s museums and attractions.
Galveston has over 30 miles of coastline, with several beaches to choose from. While Galveston is not particularly known for its clear waters, it is usually murky due to shallow water and stirred up sediment, the beaches sometimes feature clear, blue water which is a delight to beach goers!
Stewart Beach is a family-friendly beach that offers various activities such as volleyball, playgrounds, and concessions. East Beach is known for its live music events, beach volleyball tournaments, and water sports.
Seawall Urban Park is a long stretch of beach that offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is perfect for a relaxing day at the beach. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of restaurants, shops, and attractions along the Seawall Boulevard.
Sunny Beach is a quieter option for those looking for a more secluded beach experience. No lifeguards are present here but crowds (and the mess they leave behind!) tend to be less.
Galveston has a diverse dining scene, with plenty of options for seafood lovers and those looking for international cuisine too. We choose a meal with a view whenever possible when vacationing at the beach!
Some of our favorite spots include:
- Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant (fantastic seafood! don’t miss the red snapper!)
- The Spot (great views! highly recommend the spicy shrimp tacos!)
- Rudy & Paco (great date night spot! we recommend reservations)
- The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe (popular + busy spot! PLEASE get the cinnamon roll – yum!)
Things to Do
When you need a break from the beach (hello, Texas sun!), explore the rest of what Galveston has to offer.
Galveston has a rich history, with several museums and attractions dedicated to preserving it. The Museum of the Gulf Coast showcases the town’s cultural heritage, while the Historical Museum highlights its past. A self-guided tour of Galveston’s historical homes is a great option for a cool day in this coastal Texas town.
Visitors can also take a ride on the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, an amusement park with rides and attractions for all ages. Galveston Island State Park is also a great spot to explore.
There are many guided tours available as well as plenty of free things to do. Galveston is a great place to visit no matter the size of your budget!
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a popular tourist destination located on the southern tip of Texas. If you ask a Texas local where Texas’ best beaches are – nine times out of ten, they will tell you South Padre!
This barrier island offers a wide variety of activities, including surfing, kiteboarding, and parasailing, attractions, and wildlife experiences. The island is known for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and abundant marine life.
South Padre Island has 34 miles of some of the best beaches in Texas. The city beach and county beach are the two main beaches on the island, and both are split into sections. The city beach stretches for 6 miles along the coastline with 25 public access points. Driving on the city beach is not allowed, but is allowed on the county beach.
Isla Blanca is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and located on the most gorgeous stretch of coastline. This mile long beach offers beach rentals and food stands on site which makes it super convenient to spend the whole day here. You can do everything from snorkeling to parasailing here so plan on an amazing time!
We love the secluded feel at Neptune Circle city beach. You won’t find restrooms here, but you will find beautiful sea shells and a peaceful spot to spend the afternoon.
Andie Bowie County Park is an easy family-friendly spot to visit. Expect easy parking, restrooms and facilities, picnic spots, and plenty of restaurants within walking distance.
There are more activities to enjoy on South Padre Island than you can probably fit into one trip! You can go fishing, take a dolphin watching tour, rent a jet ski, or go parasailing.
For those who prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of options for hiking, biking, and birdwatching. The island is also home to several golf courses and the giant Schlitterbahn water park.
South Padre Island is a great place to experience wildlife! The island is home to several species of sea turtles, and visitors can learn about them at the Sea Turtle Inc. rehabilitation center.
Dolphins are also a common sight around the island, and you can take an amazing dolphin watching tour to see them up close (my favorite thing to do here!). The Laguna Madre is a popular spot for birdwatching, with over 300 species of birds calling the area home.
In addition to its beaches and wildlife, South Padre Island has several other attractions to offer when you need a break from sandy toes. The island is home to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which features water rides, a wave pool, and a lazy river.
Do yourself a favor and check out Boca Chica State Park also. It actually rivals South Padre in beauty and has eight miles of sandy beach located north of the mouth of the Rio Grande river. It is also near the SpaceX Launch Facility.
Port Aransas is a charming Texas beach town located on Mustang Island, which is connected to both Corpus Christi and the mainland by the Causeway Bridge. It is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the United States and is especially popular for its sandy beaches, fishing, and birding.
Port Aransas is home to several stunning beaches, including IB Magee Beach Park and the adjacent Port Aransas Beach, which are the most popular and accessible beaches in Port Aransas. They are known for its soft sand and clear blue waters, making it perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. This beach area draws big crowds so plan to share the sand with many of your closest friends. A restaurant on site is tasty and convenient.
Other notable beaches in the area include Mustang Island State Park, which offers over five miles of uninterrupted, gorgeous beachfront and is popular for camping and fishing. This is personally, our favorite spot in the area. Less crowds, cleaner, soft sand, and plenty of space to enjoy.
Port Aransas is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, with a variety of options available for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. The most popular fishing spots in the area include the jetties, which are known for their abundance of redfish, speckled trout, and flounder, and the deep-sea fishing charters, which offer the chance to catch bigger game such as shark and tuna.
Activities + Attractions
Aside from fishing and beachcombing, there is a variety of other activities in Port Aransas for you to enjoy in this coastal town in Texas. A visitor favorite is renting golf carts in Port A to explore the island! Our children enjoyed souvenir shopping in the various beach shops along the main road. There are also several spots to stop for shave ice.
Kayaking is also a popular choice, with several companies offering guided tours of the area’s waterways. You can also take a scenic road trip down the Mustang Island Loop, which offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding marshlands.
Bird hobbyists will also appreciate the opportunity to spot a variety of bird species at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which is located just a short drive from Port Aransas.
Port Aransas is known for its fresh seafood, especially fresh shrimp boils! There are plenty of restaurants that with delicious meals that taste even better on the beach!
- Rollin’ Tide Boil Co. (they brings a beach front shrimp boil to you and serve it on the beach!)
- Surfside Sandwich Shoppe (we love this spot! tasty menu with shrimp tacos, Philly cheese steaks, and burgers!)
- Irie’s Island Food (unique Jamaican restaurant! Amazing jerk chicken!)
- Grumbles Seafood (the best seafood classics dishes like fish and chips and shrimp po’boys)
- Coffee Waves (tasty breakfast sandwiches and pastries!)
Corpus Christi is one of the best beach towns in Texas, offering a perfect combination of sun, sand, and surf. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, this vibrant city boasts miles of beautiful beaches, exciting water activities, and plenty of attractions to keep visitors entertained.
Corpus Christi is home to some of the best beaches in Texas. If you stay in the city proper, you will find some urban beach parks, such as Corpus Christi, that are a nice spot to stop, but the best beaches in the area are across the bay on North Padre Island. There are miles of white sand and crystal-clear waters.
JP Luby Beach is a hotspot for surfing, kiteboarding, and skimboarding. Padre Balli Park is a great spot to watch the sunset from the pier. Padre Island National Seashore is a few miles south and is a beautiful beach where you can easily find a spot to stretch out by yourselves. Malaquite Beach is a beautiful option in Padre Island National Seashore.
Whitecap Beach is another beautiful spot with white sand and warm waters, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun. We LOVE Whitecap Beach! It is our new family favorite and we plan to return again and again. Check out the image above of my sons happily boogie boarding for days with their $10 boards from Academy Sports.
Water activities are a major draw in Corpus Christi. Visitors can enjoy kiteboarding, boogie boarding, windsurfing, and kayaking, among other water sports.
The city also offers plenty of fishing opportunities, with both freshwater and saltwater options available. For an extra special evening, consider taking a sunset sail or a dolphin watching tour.
In addition to its beautiful beaches and water activities, Corpus Christi has plenty of attractions to keep visitors entertained. The USS Lexington is a must-see for history buffs, with exhibits and tours showcasing the ship’s role in World War II. The Texas State Aquarium is another popular attraction, offering a chance to get up close and personal with a variety of marine life.
If you are a Whataburger fan, the world’s largest one is in Corpus Christi! It was my sons’ vacation bucket list item to eat a cheeseburger on the second story of this Whataburger – so we did!
Rockport is a charming coastal town located on the Gulf Coast of Texas just north of the more well-known Port Aransas. It is known for its idyllic small-town feel, friendly locals, and beautiful beaches.
Rockport Beach is the main attraction in the town, and it is known as one of the best beaches in Texas. The beach is a mile-long stretch of white sand that offers swimming, sunbathing, and a variety of water sports.
If you ask a local where the best beach is for young children, they will often tell you “Rockport Beach!” The beach is protected here and therefore more gentle for playing along the waterline than some other beaches nearby.
It is also a popular spot for fishing, and you also can rent boats and equipment to go out on the water. The beach is clean and well-maintained, and it is a great place to relax and soak up the (hot!) sun. Don’t forget your umbrella!
Rockport is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, and it offers some of the best fishing in Texas. Fish from the shore or rent a boat and head out on the water from Rockport Harbor!
Like most Texas beach towns, Rockport is known for its fresh seafood, and visitors can enjoy delicious seafood dishes at the many local restaurants. Here are a few of our most highly recommended spots to check out:
- Our Family Kitchen (great for a classic breakfast with delicious French toast and hash browns!)
- Latitude 28 02 (fresh seafood at its best!)
- JJ’s Cafe (try the shrimp and grits!)
Activities + Attractions
The Fulton Mansion State Historic Site is a great place to visit when the weather is chilly or you need a break from the sun. They offer tours, and plenty of hands on exhibits f this gorgeous home with views of the Gulf. The Texas Maritime Museum also showcases the history of Texas’s seafaring heritage.
The nearby Half Moon Reef Lighthouse is another popular attraction. You can take a ferry to the lighthouse and learn about its history for a fun morning excursion. The Bay Education Center is a great little spot with interactive displays and a sweet museum. We highly recommend their scavenger hunt for kids!
Freeport is a charming coastal town in Texas that is known for its beautiful beaches and excellent fishing opportunities. This town is located just over 60 miles from Houston and offers a perfect weekend getaway.
Freeport has some of the best beaches in Texas, including Surfside Beach and Surfside Jetty County Park. These beaches offer visitors miles of pristine sand and crystal-clear waters, making them perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and other water activities.
Take a stroll along the beach and enjoy the scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico. The Brazoria County Beach Park is a popular spot for picnicking and swimming, and it offers beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Freeport is also known for its excellent fishing opportunities. Visitors can cast their lines and try their luck at catching redfish, trout, flounder, and other species. The Surfside Jetty County Park is a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts, as it offers easy access to the jetty and the surrounding waters.
- Rudy Roo’s Seafood Restaurant (casual order at the counter spot – try the shrimp and hush puppies!)
- On the River Restaurant (head here for fried seafood and cornbread)
Activities + Attractions
Apart from beaches and fishing, Freeport also offers the Freeport Historical Museum where you can learn about the town’s rich history and culture. The museum features exhibits that showcase the town’s past, including its early settlers, the fishing industry, and the impact of hurricanes.
For those looking for outdoor activities, Surfside Jetty County Park offers visitors a chance to go birdwatching, hiking, and camping. The park features several hiking trails that wind through the dunes and offer scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico. You can even camp at the park and enjoy a night under the stars – simply magical!
Planning a Trip to the Best Texas Beach Towns
For those who love seafood, the coast of Texas is a must-visit destination. With its diverse wildlife and blue wave beaches, it’s no wonder that many visitors come back year after year. Every time we leave the Texas coast we are practically planning our next visit before we even drive away!
For those who enjoy water sports, windsurfing and parasailing are popular activities along the coastline. And for those who simply want to relax and enjoy the sunset, there are plenty of spots along the coast where you can do just that.
Texas beach towns offer a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, pack your bags and head to the Lone Star State for an amazing beach vacation!
Coastal Towns in Texas FAQs
What are some of the best beach towns in Texas?
Some of the best beach towns in Texas include South Padre Island, Port Aransas, Galveston, and Rockport.
What makes South Padre Island a great beach town in Texas?
South Padre Island offers beautiful sandy beaches, a vibrant nightlife, water sports activities, and access to the stunning Laguna Madre Nature Trail.
Why should I visit Port Aransas?
Port Aransas boasts pristine beaches, great fishing opportunities, a charming small-town atmosphere, and access to the Mustang Island State Park.
What is there to do in Galveston?
Galveston offers a historic downtown area, an impressive beachfront with a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment options, and attractions like Moody Gardens and Pleasure Pier.
What makes Rockport an appealing beach town in Texas?
Rockport features scenic coastal beauty, excellent fishing spots, bird-watching opportunities at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, and a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere.
Are these beach towns family-friendly?
Yes, these beach towns in Texas are known for being family-friendly, with plenty of activities and attractions suitable for all ages.
What is the best time of year to visit the beach in Texas?
The best time to visit these beach towns is generally during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and the crowds are smaller.
Can I participate in water sports and activities in these beach towns?
Absolutely! These beach towns offer a range of water sports and activities, including surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, jet skiing, and fishing.
Are there accommodations available near the beach towns?
Yes, each of these beach towns has various accommodations available, such as hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, and campgrounds, to suit different preferences and budgets.
What are some popular events or festivals held in Texas beach towns?
These beach towns host several popular events and festivals throughout the year, such as South Padre Island’s Sandcastle Days, Port Aransas’s Beachtoberfest, Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration, and Rockport’s HummerBird Celebration.
Please note that the availability of specific activities, attractions, and events may vary. It’s always a good idea to check the latest information and plan your trip accordingly.