As the second largest state in the United States, Texas is known for many things, but the best kept secret is possibly that Texas beaches are among the best in the world.  The southern border of the state is on the Gulf of Mexico Coast, with over 600 miles of soft sandy shoreline.  The water is warm and clean and can be enjoyed year-round.   South Padre Island, Port Aransas, Bay Area Houston, Galveston Island, Beaumont and Port Arthur have not only some of the best beaches is Texas, but in the entire country.

When you aren’t surfing, kayaking, swimming or enjoying the water in some way, there are a wide array of other things to do in the immediate areas that you will need more time in your vacation to do it all!  Below is a partial list of some of the beaches in Texas that you will want to be sure to check out.  While this list is very short, each one of them should be on any travelers list to visit at least once.


1. Padre Island National Seashore


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: BIll Harris

Padre Island National Seashore is one of the Texas attractions that you will not want to miss. When you cross the causeway from the large metropolitan area of Corpus Christi you enter another world. With almost 75 miles of some of the most remote shoreline, this is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island beach in the world.There are no modern facilities along the way, other than a few picnic shelters, which makes this one of the quietest, most serene places in the world.  There are ample opportunities for places to swim, surf, paddle-board and enjoy any water sport you could think of. The fishing in the area is second to none, and local guides are available to take you to the prime spots.

There are also those that will also take you to some awesome spots for scuba diving.Take a romantic stroll along the shore collecting some beautiful shells or do some bird watching for some of the amazing birds of the area.  Camping in one of the many sites that are available along the way is a favorite way to enjoy the area for visitors and locals alike.  You may even be lucky enough to see some of the nesting habits of some amazing sea turtles.  This is perhaps one of the most amazing places to see in Texas for that vacation where you can relax and recharge.  The pristine, natural landscapes and fantastic beaches is why it was chosen as the national seashore.


2. Stewart Beach


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: aadikah

Stewart Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Texas. Located near the city of Galveston on the northeast side of Galveston Island, it is very convenient for everyone to make it a full day of fun in the sun. It is a very family-friendly beach with many amenities that cater to the youngest of visitors as well as beach goers of all ages.  There is a children’s play area where the kids can play for hours on end while the adults sunbathe nearby.

The sand is combed daily, keeping it very clean and free of seaweed and such, which makes it so much more ideal to play in and build sand castles or play volleyball at one  of the many courts. Full facilities including showers are all along the beach, as well as an outdoor pavilion for parties and events, food and drink vendors and souvenir shops that will make your day the best.  There are also many rental shops where you can get all of the equipment, chairs, umbrellas and beach wheelchairs you may need to make it all perfect. At one end of the beach there is a rocky area that is not only fun to climb on, but provides an excellent place to go crabbing.

Digging these guys up and then having them for dinner is a favorite pastime for everyone.  This is also a great place to do some snorkeling and diving, as the underwater life here is so diverse and spectacular.Fishing off these shores is also a wonderful experience, whether you want to catch your dinner or just watch the fish, as there is a wide variety of fish that feed off of the marine life that thrives around the rocks.  There are many guides and charters here that can take you to the prime fishing and diving spots.

Throughout the year there are many free events held on Stewart Beach, such as swimming competitions, sandcastle building competitions, and a wide variety of live entertainment.Nearby the beach is Big Reef Nature Park which is another one of the amazing places to see in Texas.  Other Texas attractions that you will not want to miss while you are in this area are the Historic Downtown Strand District, Bishop’s Palace, and a ride on the Galveston Ferry is always a great time.  With the convenience of the many hotels in Galveston, you could easily spend several days in the area and not see it all.


3. East Beach


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: Dan Thibodeaux

East Beach is another one of the Texas beaches located on Galveston Island, and as the name implies it is located at the east end of the island. It is also a very family-oriented beach, with many events such as concerts and festivals going on all summer.  The annual Galveston sandcastle building competition is held here each year, where you can see some spectacular works of art – or enter the competition yourself and show them how it is done!

This is one of the few Texas beaches that allow alcohol, so adults can enjoy their favorite beverage while watching one of the events, or while taking in a magnificent sunset or taking that romantic moonlit stroll.  There are full facilities at this beach, as well as many food and drink vendors and shops where you can rent or buy whatever you may need to make your stay here very enjoyable.  The scenery on and around East Beach is one of the most grand ones of all the beaches along the Gulf, and is one of the favorite places to see in Texas.


4. Galveston Island State Park


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: Jared Miller

Galveston Island State Park is one of the many Texas attractions you will want to see while you are enjoying the beaches of Galveston Island. It covers an expanse of over 2,000 acres and includes such amenities as campsites, both primitive and those with water and electricity.  Many trails for hiking and mountain biking are here, with a wide range of difficulty levels so everyone can enjoy them.There is plenty of swimming, fishing and playing in the water with paddle boards, kayaks, boats or many other water sports.  Of course, the nature lovers will love the wide variety of bird species and wildlife that make this place home.  This is certainly one of the best places to see in Texas, especially if you want to spend an extended amount of time enjoying the great outdoors.


5. Mustang Island


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: Greg and Tammy

Mustang Island, located on the northern-most end of Padre Island near the town of Port Aransas, is one of the very best beaches in Texas. It is 18 full miles of soft sand, warm water and uninterrupted public shoreline that will take your breath away.  With this much shoreline, you will easily be able to easily carve out for yourself a secluded and quiet section.Or join in the fun of crowded areas where there is music, volleyball and many more exciting things to see and do.

Enjoy the water with great surfing, paddle boarding, kayaking, jet skiing, parasailing or any other water sport you can think of.  Snorkeling and scuba diving are prime here as well, with many guides in Port Aransas that are more than happy to take you to the best diving locations.  You can also find many that will take you out for some of the best deep sea fishing around, or just out for a sail in the deep to try to spot some great fish like dolphins.Back on shore you will no doubt want to take the time to stroll along the shoreline looking for some of the amazing shells that are always present, like sand dollars, lightning whelks, shark’s eyes and so much more.

Head on over to Port Aransas, where you will find many restaurants, clubs and bars, shops and so much more that will make your stay complete.  You can stay in one of the many hotels here, or enjoy the nights out under the stars at one of the many campsites along the beach.  With so much to do for people of all ages and families of all sizes, Mustang Island is one of those beaches in Texas where you get to leave the hustle and bustle behind and truly relax and enjoy.


6. San Jose Island


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: crtee

San Jose Island is one of the amazing Texas beaches that is located across from Port Aransas. It is a private, undeveloped island but you can take the ferry, or Port Aransas Jetty Boat as it is called, from Port Aransas several times a day from several different locations. This is certainly one of the best beaches in Texas for that quiet, secluded getaway for the day where the only “noise” you will hear, besides other beach-goers, are the many species of birds in the area.Bird-lovers from all over love to come to this piece of heaven to spot some of the magnificent feathered friends from some of the best vantage points.

The are dunes in the interior of the island where the best bird watching and viewing of the many other species of wildlife is.  There is no commercialization, homes or vehicles to spoil the tranquility of this island. This is also one of the best beaches in Texas for “shelling”, or combing the beach for some of the amazing seashells that can be found here.  Spending the day here swimming, sunbathing or enjoying your own private picnic is one of the best experiences you can have.


7. Boca Chica Beach


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: j-No

Boca Chica Beach is another of the Texas beaches that are more secluded and primitive that is among the best for anyone that loves to get away from the crowds. Located just east of Brownsville and across the Brazos Santiago Pass from South Padre Island, it lies further south than any other Texas beaches, and is separated from Mexico only by the Rio Grande River.It is a sandy peninsula that has some of the cleanest shoreline and the amazingly clear, warm turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico are so inviting. The entire surroundings are considered the tropics, which makes it so beautiful with a very wide array of wildlife, bird and plant species.  Any nature lovers or bird watchers will be thrilled by spending a day or more enjoying all that this area has to offer.

Although this is technically a State Park, there are no amenities here to speak of, and only a handful of homes, so it is a very serene place to relax and enjoy the ocean.You can enjoy so many water sports here such as surfing, snorkeling, kite boarding or swimming, just to name a few.  For the more sporty people, fishing from the jetty is a wonderful experience, and a great way to bring home dinner.  Relax on the shore while sunbathing, or take a hike around the area looking at all of the wonderful wildlife, flora and birds that call this place home.  No matter how you choose to spend the day, this is one of the beaches in Texas you will want to see!


8. Bay Area Houston


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: Dave Gates

Bay Area Houston is one of the best beaches in Texas for that ideal extended vacation where you can have the luxuries and excitement of a big city combined with the relaxation and fun of the sea. Located just 30 minutes south of Houston, the beautiful sand lined with palm trees and tropical foliage and the warm water of the Gulf make for a splendid respite from the big city all year around.Enjoy some of the best surfing around as well as any other water sports you care to do, or relax and sunbathe while watching others play in the sea. The Bay is called the “Boating Capital of Texas” and for good reason.  Whether you want to sail the seas or take a deep sea fishing trip or charter a party cruiser, you can find it here.

For more speed, rent a speed boat or jet ski – whatever water craft or excursion you desire is available.For the nature lovers the largest urban wildlife preserve in the country is located here.  Many trails can lead you through the wilderness where hundreds of bird and wildlife species can be seen.  There are also guided canoe and pontoon tours that can make the area even more interesting. When not playing in the sand or water you will want to stroll along the Kemah Boardwalk, which Forbes ranked as one of the “Top 10 Boardwalks” in the nation.

Here you will find arcade games, amusement rides, places to eat and so much more.  The area is also where the NASA-Johnson Space Center is, which is one of the most popular Texas attractions for anyone interested in the aerospace industry.  With all of the other exciting things to see and do in Houston, this could be the best vacation you have ever had.


9. Beaumont


best beaches in Texas

Flickr Credit: Christian Salgado

Beaumont has got to be one of the best beaches in Texas for anyone looking for a unique atmosphere. Very near the Louisiana border, it is a great mixture of everything Texas with a touch of Cajun flair.  The town has great Cajun restaurants and entertainment that you won’t find anywhere else.  The beach itself is magnificent and the perfect place to enjoy the sand, sun and surf. The beach is surrounded in magnificent landscape that ranges from dense forests to cypress swamps and everything in between.

Of course you can enjoy all of the water sports imaginable in the warm, beautifully clear Gulf coast sea.  In addition to this, you can visit one of the alligator parks in the area.  Gator Country Adventure Park is one of these, and is home to over 300 alligators including Big Al, the largest gator in Texas.At this popular Texas attraction you can pet some of these creatures, and even snuggle with a baby one!  For serious bird watchers, this is one of the best places to see in Texas because it happens to lie between two migratory flyways and part of the Great Texas Birding Trail.

That makes it home to almost 250 species of birds at one time or other during the year.  You will be able to spot something new each time you visit.The Cattail Marsh Scenic Wetlands is the best place to see as many different birds as possible.  The nearby Neches River is also a great place to visit when you aren’t hanging out at the beach.  You can paddle the river on your own, take a two-hour riverboat cruise from downtown Beaumont, or ride in “The Cardinal”, a pontoon boat that will take you to hot spots along the river.  This and so much more awaits you when you visit Beaumont, one of the absolute best beaches in Texas.



best beaches in Texas
best beaches in Texas
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Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!
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