Hello fellow beach lovers! Are you looking for the best Texas beaches near Houston? You are in the right place!
We are beach loving family and when it has been too long since we put our toes in the sand, we start to get a little crabby (see what I did there?).
Luckily we live in Central Texas, which isn’t toooo far from the beautiful Texas coastline. We can get to the Houston beaches in just three hours which is so worth it. Houston, Texas is known for its warm temperatures and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, making it an ideal destination for beach lovers.
Galveston Island, located just an hour south of Houston, is home to some of the most popular beaches in the area, including Stewart Beach and East Beach. If you’re looking for a quieter, more secluded beach experience, consider heading to Surfside Beach or Sylvan Beach Park. These beaches are located further from the city and offer a more laid-back atmosphere, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the sun.
Check out our full list below to help you find the best Houston beach for your next day trip or family vacation!
Best TX Beaches Near Houston
If you’re looking for a quick escape from the city, Houston has some of the best beach towns in Texas within easy driving distance. While Houston’s beaches are not known for their clear water throughout most of the year, this area has so much to offer and is sure to make for a great beach trip anyway. Check out our favorites and let us know what you think!
You won’t find the clearest beaches in all of Texas here, but there is no lack of soft sand, refreshing water, and plenty of fun!
Galveston Island State Park
We are huge fans of Texas state parks, and Galveston Island is no different. Admission for the whole family is included with an annual pass which is an added bonus, otherwise expect to pay $5 per person.
Head to Galveston Island State Park for swimming, bird watching, fishing, kayaking, and even camping too. This state park beach is much quieter than the busy, action-packed beaches near the seawall, so keep it in mind for a more relaxed day at the beach.
If you are looking to camp at one of the best beaches in Houston, Galveston Island State Park is a great spot for beach camping in a tent or RV. Campsites are spacious and equipped with electrical outlets. Pro-tip: Bring a couple fans if the weather is warm! Restrooms are kept clean and there is also water and an ice machine on site. If you want to be near the beach but avoid getting sand in all the places, you can reserve a spot on the bay side on the grass.
For those that enjoy walking trails, you’ll want to check out the bay side. Keep a lookout for native birds and wildlife. The Eskimo Curlew Trail will lead you to the wooden boardwalk while the Clapper Rail Loop will take you on a longer stroll.
The bay side is also where you will find kayak rentals with some great waterways for exploring the bay. Seasonally, you may even find free kayaking with a guide at sunset!
East Beach is on the east end of Galveston Island close to the ferry. Children love spotting the hermit crabs here and discovering the many shells.
There is a shallow entry which works great for families and it is often quieter than other beaches on the island. Paid parking is standard but there are some options for free parking nearby too – so be sure to keep an eye out for those!
Another beach on the charming Galveston Island is Stewart Beach. This stretch of beach is well-maintained and typically pretty clean. There are umbrellas and chairs to rent for $35-40 which will get you closest to the water.
Due to this great stretch of sand and convenient amenities, Stewart Beach does get very busy, so expect a crowd and get there early to this beach close to Houston!
Porretto Beach is just down the coast from Stewart Beach. They also have colorful chairs and umbrellas to rent which you’ll be thankful for when that Texas sun is beating down!
We are personal fans of Porretto Beach and it just might be our favorite beach near Houston. There is a large stretch of sand with plenty of room for my children to play along with gentle waves perfect for swimming and splashing.
Surfside Beach is a hopping beach town located about an hour south of Houston. The beach is sandy and great for swimming, fishing, and beachcombing. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas. The beach is shallow pretty far out which makes is a fun spot to play with children. It is also well-maintained and clean.
For easy parking, we recommend heading to the large parking lot next to the jetty. Or you can park right on the sand for $12 (at the time of publishing). You’ll want to arrive early for a parking spot and spot on the sand. This beach is popular and gets pretty busy!
Bolivar Peninsula is a 27-mile stretch of beach located about two hours east of Houston. The peninsula has several beaches, including Crystal Beach and Port Bolivar Beach. The beaches have wide open, clean sand and are great for swimming, fishing, and shelling. If you are lucky, you might even find a shark tooth!
Access the beaches from almost any of the crossroads coming from Highway 87. This will make it easy for your crew to find a happening, busy spot to make new friends, or a quiet spot to read a good book with just the sound of the waves.
Explore the Point Bolivar lighthouse and Fort Travis Park for some history at this Texas beach near Houston. Embrace the laid-back vibe and take the time to build a sandcastle and walk the beach, listen to live music most weekends at venues around the peninsula, and then munch on tacos, Cajun ribs, and gator nuggets (!) from Tia Juanita’s.
Best Texas Beaches a Few Hours from Houston
If you are up for a road trip, more of the best beaches in Texas are just a few hours from Houston. You’ll find clearer water and softer, whiter sand as you head further south away from the rivers that cause runoff at some of the beaches in Houston, Texas.
We are huge fans of North Padre Island, but there are several that are worth a visit. Check them out below!
North Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore is a gorgeous stretch of beaches near Corpus Christi. These Texas beaches near Houston require a bit more effort to get to, but they are lovely!
Malaquite Beach is our top recommendation within the National Seashore. It features an expansive stretch of soft, white sand and beautiful waters that just beg you to come, sit, and relax. One of its charms is the lower crowds, creating a more serene atmosphere.
The beach is well-equipped with a Visitor’s Center, restrooms, and picnic table facilities for added convenience. An extra touch of magic lies in the conservation efforts of Padre Island National Seashore, where they rescue turtles. If you visit during the summer months, you might even have the incredible opportunity to witness a sunrise baby turtle release!
Port Aransas Beach
Discover the beauty of Port Aransas, a gem not too far from Houston, offering a beautiful escape to the Gulf Coast. It’ll take a 3-4 hour drive that will lead you to the charming town of Port Aransas, known for its adorable beach town vibes, delightful seafood restaurants, pristine beaches, and plenty of activities.
Rent a golf cart to explore the town’s gift shops and enjoy delicious local cuisine. Fishermen will love the popular fishing activities, whether it’s casting a line from the shore or joining a deep-sea fishing tour.
Port Aransas Beach, stretching over 6 miles, invites you to completely relax on its soft sand, ride mild waves, and take in stunning sunset views from the pier.
Having recently visited on Memorial Day weekend, our family is already planning a return trip! We especially loved the crystal-clear waters and the perfect setting for a fun family getaway.
North Padre Island is home to several beautiful beaches and Whitecap Beach is one of our VERY favorites. Whitecap Beach is about 30 minutes down the coastline from Port Aransas mentioned above.
Whitecap Beach offers a delightful change with its slightly bigger waves, creating the perfect playground for our older kids who enthusiastically spent hours boogie boarding. The light and soft sand provided a great spot to relax, and we were thrilled to find that our vacation rental was conveniently located, allowing us to stroll right over to the beach on our last visit.
Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island State Park is a coastal gem that promises a perfect blend of nature and recreation. With its pristine beaches, expansive dunes, and diverse ecosystems, this beach in Port Aransas offers an idyllic setting.
You can enjoy a range of activities, from sunbathing on the sandy shores to birdwatching along the wetlands. The park also provides excellent opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and camping, allowing guests to really soak up the beauty of the Texas Gulf Coast.
What are some nice beaches near Houston?
There are many great beaches near Houston. Some of the best beaches near Houston include Surfside Beach, Stewart Beach, Galveston Island State Park, and Sylvan Beach Park. These beaches offer a variety of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and more.
What’s the closest ocean beach to Houston?
The closest ocean beach to Houston is Galveston Island. It is located about an hour away from Houston and offers a variety of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and more.
What’s the closest white sand beach to Houston?
The closest white sand beach to Houston is Crystal Beach. It is located about two hours away from Houston and offers beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun.
What’s the prettiest beach in Texas?
The prettiest beach in Texas is a matter of personal preference. However, some of the most beautiful beaches in Texas include South Padre Island, Mustang Island, and Padre Island National Seashore. These beaches offer stunning views, crystal clear waters, and a variety of activities.
Are there any beach resorts near Houston?
Yes, there are several beach resorts near Houston. Some of the best beach resorts include The San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center, The Tremont House, and Moody Gardens Hotel. These resorts offer a variety of amenities, including pools, spas, restaurants, and more.
What are the best beaches in Texas?
Some of the best beaches in Texas include South Padre Island, Mustang Island, Padre Island National Seashore, Galveston Island, and Surfside Beach. These beaches offer a variety of activities, stunning views, and crystal clear waters.