Top 10 Best Beaches in Texas
Ready to explore the best beaches in Texas? We’ve broken it down for you to help you figure out where to go in the Lone Star State for beach days this summer.
The top 10 best beaches in Texas are:
- South Padre Island
- Matagorda Beach
- Mustang Island State Park
- High Island Beach
- South Packery Channel Beach
- Padre Island National Seashore
- Galveston Island
- Crystal Beach
- San Jose Island
- Surfside Beach
Disclaimer: We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you’ll be ready.
The Best Beaches in Texas
1. South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a barrier island off of the southernmost portion of Texas. Its golden sands and gorgeous sunsets make it tropical heaven for busy urbanites seeking an escape.
The island boasts 34 miles of clear emerald water beaches. South Padre Island gets a little crazy during spring break; in fact, once a year, the island officially becomes known as Spring Break Island.
Apart from Spring Break, the island offers activities for the entire family year-round. Fishermen, nature lovers, water sport junkies, and everyone in between can find something to suit their needs at South Padre Island.
2. Matagorda Beach
The city of Matagorda has roughly 58 miles of some of the best beaches in Texas. However, only 23 miles of the beach is accessible by foot. The other 35 miles, located west of the Colorado River, can only be reached via watercraft.
Matagorda Beach is ideal for swimming and wading, but the mouth of the Colorado River often has very swift currents, so beware if you are in that area. Camping is also permissible on the beach, so feel free to pitch your tent.
Those wishing to experience the fullness of Matagorda should pay a visit to Matagorda Bay Nature Park. The park calls itself the hidden treasure of the Texas Gulf Coast, and we agree. Here you will be soothed by the sounds of waves gently breaking against the shore, many dunes, coastal marshes teeming with birds, and a spectacular pier jutting out into the ocean of this gulf coast beach.
3. Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island is a barrier island stretching 18 miles near Port Aransas. The island gets its name from the wild mustangs that once roamed freely before ranching took over.
On Mustang Island, swimmers, fishers, and water sports fanatics can enjoy over five miles of coastline. Those fishing from the jetties or wading through shallow waters are often surprised at the copious amounts of fish surrounding Mustang Island.
There is also a 20-mile trail paddling trail that follows the western shoreline. This paddling trail offers some of the best shallow water fishing in all of Texas.
4. High Island Beach
Those wanting an escape from the fast-paced beach would love High Island. This beach sits secluded at the edge of a large marsh scattered with clumps of gnarly Oaks.
The sand is coarse and stretches for miles toward Louisiana. Colorful seashells dot rocky sands. The landscape is sparsely populated, visited only by the occasional local cooling off their horses in the Gulf’s waters. Oh, and of course the birds! High Island Beach has thousands of birds. In fact, there are four bird sanctuaries nearby.
High Island is the perfect retreat and place to visit for those wanting to get away from the city and the party beach vibe.
5. South Packery Channel Beach
Also known as South Packery Jetty Beach, this is a great location for the entire family and one of the best beaches in Texas. It’s located between Mustang Island and Padre Island. The beach is not frequented as much as other nearby beaches, making it a safe option whether you’re with the kids or just spending a day alone relaxing.
South Packery Channel Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, playing in the sand, and fishing. While you can fish out in the surf, fishing right off the jetty typically yields the most bites. Common catches include kingfish, grouper, and even tarpon.
Water not your thing? Because the beach is not typically crowded, you can find beachfront real estate on which to spread your towel, blanket, or beach chair and soak up the sun. There are also many hotels and condominiums conveniently located nearby.
6. Padre Island National Seashore
If raw and pristine wilderness is your thing, you will love Padre Island National Seashore, a beautiful gulf coast beach, and one of the best beaches in Texas.
In fact, this coastline is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the entire world. Padre Island separates Laguna Madre, one of the world’s saltiest lagoons, from the Gulf of Mexico. The island has over 70 miles of undeveloped coastline, massive dunes, tidal flats, and prairies.
Over 380 species of birds make this unspoiled land their home. It is also a protected nesting ground for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle. While here, you can camp, canoe, kayak, fish, birdwatch, or just wade in the beautiful waters.
7. Galveston Island
Whether you’re into the bustling, hip scene or you prefer stretches of sand off of the beaten path, Galveston Island has something for you. The island is about an hour away from Houston, making it the perfect (and quick) escape for city dwellers.
In addition to awesome beaches, the island also features tons of restaurants, fish houses, shopping, museums, antique stores, and more.
One of Galveston Island’s most prominent features is its 10.4-mile seawall, built after the devastation caused by the Great Storm of 1900. Today, the wall is usually packed with joggers, bicyclists, skaters, and those who enjoy strolling along the water without having sand get between their toes.
8. Crystal Beach
Crystal Beach is nestled on Texas’s upper Gulf coast on the Bolivar Peninsula. The glimmering crystal clear waters give this beautiful beach its name. Both party-scene seekers and families will enjoy spending time on seven-mile-long Crystal Beach. Beachgoers can drive their vehicles directly onto the sand, set up a grill, and walk right into the water.
Aside from the beach, visitors can enjoy a number of other activities. There are tons of fresh seafood restaurants, nightclubs, and accommodations. Fishing, crabbing, swimming, and sunbathing is also prevalent on Crystal Beach. During May or July, Crystal Beach hosts its annual Texas Crab Festival.
9. San Jose Island
This forgotten island treasure is privately owned and can only be accessed via watercraft. Each hour, a ferry travels between San Jose Island and Mustang Island. Because the island is privately owned, visitors are limited to the beach area. However, shelling, fishing, swimming, birding, and beachcombing can all be found on the beach.
San Jose Island boasts 21 miles of uncorrupted golden sands on some of the best beaches in Texas. It also offers some of the best birding and saltwater fishing in the South. The beautiful beach also has some amazingly beautiful and unique seashells, a collector’s dream.
10. Surfside Beach
Less than an hour away from Houston, Surfside Beach is a convenient escape for Houstonians from stressful city life. Despite the fact that beachgoers can drive directly onto the sand, Surfside is one of the cleanest beaches in the area.
This area is perfect for the whole family as it offers top-notch water activities, coastal eateries, and unique lodging. The beach is typically not very crowded and not a spot with lively crowds, making it a fun and safe place to visit in Texas for the kids.
As a bonus, you are allowed to build bonfires. What better way to end the day than enjoying a S’more as you watch the sunset and listen to waves breaking against the shore?
If you loved these beaches, you might also want to explore the stunning national parks in Texas!
The Best Beaches in Texas: FAQ
South Padre Island is frequently considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Texas
Yes! Mustang Island State Park has beautiful white sandy beaches.
The beach with the clearest water in Texas is Boca Chica beach on South Padre Island.
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