16 Best Beaches in Texas

Updated December 6, 2022 | Infoplease Staff
Sunset beach
Source: iStock

When you think of Texas, you might not immediately think of beaches. But the Texas coast has some of the most beautiful, family-friendly, and cleanest beaches in the country, not to mention some of the most charming coastal cities and beach towns.

And you might be wondering— does Texas have any real beaches? The answer is, yes! And not only that, but there are also many different types of beautiful beaches, from isolated natural refuges to bustling family vacation hubs.

What’s the best beach in Texas? We’ll leave that for you to decide. For now, have a look at our picks for the top Texas beaches.

1. Boca Chica Beach

Boca Chica Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Brownsville

If birding is your thing, Boca Chica Beach and the surrounding Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge should be on your list. Aplomado Falcons, Osprey, Harris Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and others rule the roost here, along with many others.

Beachgoers can also enjoy traditional beach activities like snorkeling, surfing, and swimming. Just remember to bring your own equipment. And when you’re in Boca Chica, be sure to check out the Space X Launch Site!

2. Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Galveston County

Crystal Beach is part of a 27-mile stretch of beaches on the Bolivar Peninsula, east of Galveston Island. It’s one of the few beaches that has campsites and allows campfires, and the North Jetty provides good fishing.

The community of Crystal Beach is friendly for both families and tourists, and have everything your bunch needs to enjoy crabbing, fishing, beachcombing, and more.

3. East Beach

East Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Galveston

East Beach is located at the far tip of Galveston Island. If you’re after the Coney Island experience, complete with a boardwalk, entertainment, and playgrounds, you can find it here. Nearby Big Reef Nature Park is a bit off the beaten path, but well worth it for bird watchers.

4. Laguna Madre Beach

Laguna Madre Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

Water sports enthusiasts will have a great time on Laguna Madre Beach, which is an internationally renowned site for swimming, windsurfing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and more. It’s also an excellent place to spot birds.

Laguna Madre Beach is one of six hypersaline lagoons in the world. That means it’s saltier than the ocean!

5. Malaquite Beach

Malaquite Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

Malaquite Beach, located on Padre Island, strikes a happy medium. On one hand, it’s clean and not overrun by beachgoers. But neither is it completely isolated and without amenities. There’s a small store and a visitor center. The easiest way to get there is to fly in from Houston International Airport.

6. Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

Matagorda Island is part of a large barrier island in Matagorda Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re looking for pristine, unspoiled wilderness, this is one place to find it.

This is a great place for nature lovers to do some wildlife-watching, with 19 federally-listed endangered species, alligators, and numerous migratory bird species. It’s also a good place for saltwater fishing and picnicking. At the north end of the island stands a 19th century lighthouse.

7. Mustang Island

Mustang Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

Mustang Island, located in Mustang Island State Park, is a barrier island located just east of Corpus Christi. In addition to 18 miles of beach fun, this is a great place for land and water sports, including camping and bird watching. Twenty miles of shallow canals are ideal for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding.

8. North Beach

North Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

People who want a bit of town with their beach can find both at North Beach in Corpus Christi. The beach features a 1.5-mile paved beach walk and calm bay waters for wading. Fishing enthusiasts will love the fishing jetties and ready bait and fishing gear providers.

And when you’re ready to clean up and head into town, the Texas State Aquarium and USS Lexington Museum are great places to start.

9. Port Aransas Beach

Port Aransas Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

Port Aransas Beach is one of several barrier island beaches, including those on Mustang Island, San Jose Island, Matagorda Island, and others. This is a peaceful place with warm, clean water and soft sand.

Don’t worry about bringing your beach gear; you can rent most things, including beach chairs, surfboards, fishing gear, and so forth.

10. Rockport Beach

Rockport Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Rockport-Fulton

Rockport Beach bills itself as “Texas’s first blue wave beach.” A blue wave beach is one that’s clean, accessible, and managed in a way that’s good for both the environment and beach users.

Located on the mainland, along Aransas Bay, Rockport Beach has a laundry list of amenities, including walking trails, playgrounds, launch areas for boats and windsurfing, a waterski loop, and more.

11. San Jose Island Beach

San Jose Island Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

San Jose Island Beach is part of the barrier island beaches that include Port Aransas, Matagorda Bay, North Beach, Mustang Island, and others. But this isn’t a fully equipped locale for a family getaway. This island is largely uninhabited. Vehicles are prohibited, and there’s a pack-it-in-pack-it-out policy for food and waste.

But being uninhabited doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. There are 21 miles of golden sand to enjoy. Seashell collectors will find a diverse and unique array of shells. It’s a great place for birding and saltwater fishing, too.

12. Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Beaumont

Sea Rim State Park, located at the far southeast corner of Texas offers a unique opportunity: to visit where marshlands meet the sea. Paddle a canoe or kayak down maintained paddling trails, go birdwatching, swim, or enjoy horseback riding—there’s a lot to see and do, here. You can even go fishing without a fishing license.

For people looking for an active vacation, Sea Rim State Park is one to check out.

13. Stewart Beach

Stewart Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Galveston Island

Families looking for a safe, low-key, child-friendly getaway in the Lone Star State should consider Stewart Beach. This clean, sandy beach is alcohol-free and regularly supervised by lifeguards.

Younger kids will enjoy the playgrounds, and everyone can enjoy a game on the beach volleyball courts. Or you could just kick back with your rented umbrella and beach chair and watch the kids build a sandcastle.

14. South Beach

South Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Corpus Christi

Located on Padre Island, on the gulf coast, southeast of Corpus Christi, South Beach is a great place to get away from it all. There are no rentals here, and it’s often a bit chilly for sunbathing. However, the white sands are sublime, and if you like beach camping, this could be your place.

15. South Padre Island National Seashore

South Padre Island National Seashore, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: South Padre Island, Gulf of Mexico

Located just north of the Mexican border, South Padre Island Beach is a longtime favorite of Spring Break revelers. But recently it’s been reinventing itself as a family vacation destination.

The nonstop parties are still there for one month out of the year, but the other eleven months are a great time to enjoy the wide, sandy beaches, sparkling blue water, and activities like deep-sea fishing, dolphin-watching, and swimming.

SPI also has several conservation areas open to visitors, including a Nature and Birding Center and a Sea Turtle conservation facility.

16. Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach, Texas
Photo Source: iStock

Location: Freeport

Fans of charming beach towns may enjoy a trip to Surfside Beach, a small coastal community of just under 500 people. This is a town that loves its visitors, and you’ll find a variety of activities, including surfing lessons, guided boat tours, and fishing expeditions, jetskis, and more.

What’s the Nicest Beach in Texas?

That depends on what you’re looking for.

Mustang Island is a great all-around beach, with traditional beach activities, water sports, and nature. For unspoiled wilderness, we recommend San Jose Island Beach, while active vacationers should check out Sea Rim State Park.

And if it’s a party you’re after, visit South Padre Island Beach during Spring Break.

Texas is known as the Lone Star State, but how many other state nicknames do you know? Take our State Nicknames Quiz and find out!

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