Although the city of Houston doesn't have any beaches of its own, the coastline can be easily reached within an hour or so driving. There is a variety of beach options, ranging from popular, touristy destinations to more isolated coves and quiet retreats. Some of the beaches offer full amenities for visitors, while others are little more than empty stretches of sand, perfect for those days when you just want to get away. The Houston area benefits from nice weather nearly all year round, meaning that the water is warm enough for swimming, water sports, and relaxing in the sun for most of the year.
1. East Beach
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Galveston has one of the area’s busiest beaches, which is also one of the closest to Houston. At the far eastern tip of Galveston Island, you will find East Beach, the state’s largest beach. It is popular among the party crowd and offers a bustling and high-energy atmosphere virtually anytime you visit. The beach offers a range of amenities and facilities for visitors, which are available from March until October. The beach park has a boardwalk, a pavilion, and an entertainment stage, which often hosts live music and other entertainment during the summer. Summer is also when the beach park hosts the American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition, when flocks of people come to see talented artists create elaborate sandcastles.
1923 Boddeker Drive, Galveston, TX 77550
2. Galveston Island State Park
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Galveston Island State Park is a true refuge located on the western end of Galveston Island. The park comprises more than 2,000 acres of wetlands, dunes, estuaries, brackish ponds, and stretches of beaches. The park also has a large number of trails for viewing scenery and wildlife. There are public campgrounds and cabins for those who wish to spend the night on the beach or bay side. Other popular activities include fishing, paddling, hiking, biking, and more. The park does not have canoes or kayaks available for rent, but for those who bring their own, there are mapped out paddling trails. The park rangers regularly offer educational programs related to the park’s plants, animals, and other features. Things to Do in Galveston
14901 Farm to Market 3005, Galveston, TX 77554
3. Sylvan Beach Park
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Sylvan Beach Park is a beachfront park offering sandy beach areas, playground equipment for children, an event pavilion, and a fishing pier. The sandy beaches near the park have somewhat finer sand than that of some of the surrounding beaches, and are not covered with seaweed. In addition, the calm and smaller waves make for a better swimming experience, especially for families with kids. There are picnic tables, so pack a lunch and plan to stay for the whole day. Fishing is permitted along the fishing pier for a small fee. Each year in the spring time, the park hosts the Annual Sylvan Beach Festival Crawfish Jam, which is tons of fun for the whole family.
636 N Bayshore Dr, La Porte, TX 77571
4. Stewart Beach
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Families looking for a beach destination near Houston should check out Stewart Beach. This family-friendly beach on Galveston Island is alcohol-free and frequently hosts family-friendly events. The beach is located at the intersection of historic Broadway Avenue and the Seawall. There are plenty of amenities for visitors and there are also trained lifeguards on duty for much of the year. The beach park has concession stands, a pavilion, showers, restrooms, chair and umbrella rentals, beach wheelchair rentals, a gift shop, s playground, and more. All of these amenities make for an easy family beach day near the city of Houston.
201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550
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5. Surfside Beach
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Surfside Beach is the perfect destination for those who are looking for a more laidback beach retreat than some of the other beaches on our list. The beach offers miles of undeveloped shoreline as well as nearby coastal marshes, rivers, and bays for even more opportunities to explore. Even though the shoreline is unspoiled, it is no secret to Houstonians, so the beach can be a bit crowded on summer weekends. However, visitors can usually still find room to spread out a bit, especially if you get an early start. Fishing, birdwatching, nature photography, swimming, playing in the sand, and relaxing are all in order if you make a visit to Surfside.
Surfside Beach, TX 77541
6. El Jardin Beach
Located just 26 miles from Houston, El Jardin Beach beckons the whole family to come and enjoy a day by the seaside. The small beach is very rich in marine life and the sand is smooth and soft, ideal for building sand castles. Another great factor about El Jardin Beach is that it is relatively unknown (except among Seabrook residents), and is consequently never overcrowded. Non-residents have to pay an access fee and it can be quite difficult to find parking in the parking area. The water is usually quite calm and good for swimming but the beach also attracts some surfers. You are allowed to bring your dog provided it is on a leash.
El Jardin Beach, 500 El Jardin Dr, Seabrook, TX 77586
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