Texas has huge variety of beaches, most long and hard packed with fine white sand, on the mainland and on the barrier islands. There are great party beaches such as Galveston Island East Beach and quiet deserted ones like Boca Chica on South Padre Island, Texas where people go for solitude, romance and to enjoy unspoiled nature. Here are the best Texas beaches for your next weekend getaway from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and other Texas cities. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1. Boca Chica, South Padre Island
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There are many spectacularly beautiful beaches on South Padre Island, some lively, others quiet and deserted, but Boca Chica Beach manages to stay empty of crowds, clean, and beautiful. It is located just east of Brownsville on a sandy peninsula separated by the Rio Grande River from Mexico and by the Brazos Santiago Pass from South Padre Island. It has completely escaped development and has only a few stilt houses and a jetty sticking out into the Gulf of Mexico. Although Boca Chica is a state park Texas beach, it has no park facilities. What it does have is miles of fine sand beaches, clear water, and great swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kiteboarding, and birdwatching. It is a perfect spot to get away from the crowds and noise. Things to Do on South Padre Island
2. Galveston Island East Beach
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Island East Beach is Galveston’s largest, prettiest, and the most popular beach. It is the place where the best parties are held and where there are concerts, festivals, and events of all kinds going on the whole summer. There is a popular sandcastle building competition every year and like very few beaches on Galveston Island, booze is allowed as long as it is not in a glass container. During the quiet season, when it is mostly deserted, Island East Beach is perfect for long walks, great fishing, and bird watching. Well-established today, the beach is actually an accidental by-product of the building of Galveston’s harbor and port in the 19th century. The efforts to deepen the harbor resulted in a shift in the current and the accumulation of sand in a series of jetties that were consequently filled up to form a beach.
1923 Boddeker Rd, Galveston, TX 77550, Phone: 409-797-5111
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Rockport Beach is Texas’s first Blue Wave Beach, certified by the Clean Beaches Coalition. The magnificent long crescent of fine sand and calm shallows has 65 quaint picnic areas with shade, grills, and picnic tables, volleyball courts, several kids’ playgrounds with swings, and a beautiful ¾-mile-long walking path along the Little Bay shores. The beach is a designated bird sanctuary, so try to spot some colorful birds while you are walking. Fishing is permitted everywhere except at the saltwater pool and at the boat dock. The best fishing is at the 800-foot-long pier at the end of the beach. The beach is popular with water skiers and jet skiers in the summer. No cars are allowed on the beach. If you are looking for the
cleanest beach in Texas, this is a great place. Also, the rules are no dogs, no fires and no overnight camping.
210 Seabreeze Dr, Rockport, TX 78382, Phone: 361-729-6661
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4.IB Magee Beach
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Located in Port Aransas on the northern end of Mustang Island, IB Magee Beach is a 157-acre-long beach stretched along the shipping channel. It is part of the Nueces Country Park, open all year, and contains 75 well-organized campsites. Simple camping is allowed on the beach. One of the main attractions on the beach is the 1,240-foot-long Horace Caldwell Pier that extends deep into the Gulf of Mexico. It offers great spot for fishing and has shops selling and renting bait and tackle. There are picnic sites with cabanas and tables all along the beach. The beach is huge, with miles of fine sand, perfect for long walks, swimming, snorkeling, playing volleyball, or just hanging about.
Nueces Country Park, 321 N on the Beach, Port Aransas, TX 78373, Phone: 361-749-6117
5.Best beaches in Texas: Magnolia Beach
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Magnolia Beach is a small town on the coast of Lavaca Bay, southeast of Alamo Beach. The town beach is an 8-mile-long stretch of fine sand, much smaller than many Texan beaches, but quiet and peaceful and perfect for family day under the sun. There are several covered picnic shelters with benches and grills, a kids’ playground, and a volleyball court. Some parts of the beach are accessible by car, usually filled with passionate anglers partaking in a spot of surf fishing. For those who want to spice things up, there are gambling boats a short drive from Magnolia Beach. The whole area is great for shelling, bird watching, and crabbing. There is a small fishing pier and a public boat launch, and the nearby marina sells bait, offers deep-sea fishing charters, and serves a great lunch.
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6.Matagorda Bay Nature Park
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With 2 miles of beachfront at the Gulf of Mexico and 2 miles of Colorado River frontage, magnificent 1,600-acre Matagorda Bay Nature Park is wonderful place to visit with the family. There are acres of dunes and coastal marshes with thousands of birds, offering one of the best bird watching areas in the country. Horseback riding on the beach is a unique experience. There are many campsites of all types, the beautiful Redfish Hall you can rent for birthdays, weddings or any other celebration, a small shop, a kayak rental shop, and a shaded group picnic area with grills and picnic tables.
6430, FM2031, Matagorda, TX 77457, Phone: 979-863-2603
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An 18-mile long barrier island near Port Aransas, the whole of Mustang Island is a state park with five miles of spectacular sandy beach. Off its southern end is Padre Island and Corpus Christi, connected by the JFK Causeway. Before ranching took over, the island was famous for the mustang horses that roamed the island freely and gave the island its name. Visitors usually spend their time on the island swimming, bird watching, or collecting shells. When the wind picks up, there are surfers enjoying the waves, and when the wind dies down, kayaking and paddleboarders take over. Fishing from the jetties or wading through the shallows often results with surprising number of fish. It is also possible to charter a deep fishing boat. Walking around and enjoying the dunes and the birds that make their home here is a wonderful experience.
17047 TX-361, Port Aransas, TX 78373, Phone: 361-749-5246
8.Padre Island National Seashore
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If you want to visit the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world, go to Padre Island National Seashore. This beautiful spot of land separates the Laguna Madre, one of a saltiest world’s lagoons, from the Gulf of Mexico. This park was developed to protect more than 70 miles of majestic coastline, huge dunes, prairies, and tidal flats as well as the wildlife that make their home there. It is a protected nesting ground for the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and a sanctuary for more than 380 bird species. Take the paved scenic Grasslands Nature Trail to see the unspoiled nature, the way it looked hundreds of years ago, or take your off-road vehicle along the beach, or take a tour of the island with one of the park rangers and learn about its history and environment.
20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418, Phone: 361-949-8068
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9.Port Aransas Beach
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Once known for its pirates in the 18th century, Port Aransas is a small town on Mustang Island known for its great fishing, its 18 miles of long sandy beach and a large number of Texas beach resorts. It is the only town on Mustang Island, one of the longest Texas coast barrier islands. This sleepy small town swells to over 60,000 people during the spring break and summer, when the tourists come to swim, snorkel, fish, watch birds, hike the dunes, golf, bodysurf, play volleyball, surf, boogie board, and have a good time. Its beach is famous for the Sand Fest, an annual sand castles competition that turns into a large festival.
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High Island is a small, quiet East Texas town, not popular with students coming on a spring break or with those looking for a location of their second home. It is the kind of place many people imagine East Texas to look like. It is located at the edge of a vast marsh, with twisted oaks clinging to the rims of salt domes at times 40 feet high above the Gulf. The beach has nothing but coarse sand that stretches for miles towards Louisiana, dotted with colorful shells, often deserted, sometimes visited by riders cooling horses in the surf. Only an hour and a half from Houston, it is the perfect beach for those who want solitude and unspoiled nature. There are four bird sanctuaries nearby. The largest is Smith Oaks Sanctuary, with four lakes and a lovely rookery with herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, and cormorants.
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11.San Jose Island
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Just a short ferry trip from Port Aransas is San Jose Island, your chance to soak in unspoiled Texas nature. This privately owned island was originally a ranch, but is today mostly a wildlife sanctuary and a paradise for beach goers and bird lovers. The heart of the island is off limits, and visitors can only enjoy the public portion of the island – the beach below the line where the vegetation starts. Not to worry, that is where you can enjoy the best bird watching, fishing, shelling, and strolling along the beach. The beach is 21 miles long with fine white sand and covered with thousands of colorful shells, some of them rare. No cars are allowed on the beach, unusual for Texas beaches. Fishing on the island is so great that it is called the "Fishing Capital of Texas." More Texas beach resorts.
12.South Packery Channel Beach
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The South Packery Channel Beach or the South Packery Jetty Beach is a sandy oasis between Mustang Island and Padre Island. Often much less crowded than other nearby beaches, it is a pleasant and safe alternative to bring the kids to play in the sand. Quiet and peaceful, the beach is great for swimming, snorkeling, building sand castles and, of course, fishing. While surf fishing is popular and great fun, the fishing is best right off the jetty. You are likely to catch trout, grouper, kingfish, and at times even tarpon. Be careful when swimming, the jetty can cause strong riptides.
14218 S Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, TX 78418, Phone: 361-949-7004
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Surfside or Surfside Beach is a small beach town about 60 miles from Houston, between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. The town has more than 4 miles of beaches popular for horseback riding and walking. There are very few services on the beach and there are signs about the water quality, so check before going swimming. The pedestrian beach between Welk St. and Thunder St. has free parking at both edges, but the rest of the beach permits cars. There are a few picnic tables and grills at Stahlman Park and the jetty. More Texas beach resorts.
Bluewater Highway, Surfside Beach, TX, Phone: 281-732-8800
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Whitecap Beach is a lovely sandy beach in Corpus Christi on North Padre Island. It is about a mile and half long but quite narrow and surrounded by large dunes, so you can find a nice shelter from the wind for a family picnic. Wind is blowing almost all the time so you can see surfers catching the waves all year round. The best surfing is from April to August. The beach is almost completely undeveloped and unspoiled, great for family gatherings – they even allow small fires – or for quiet time with the book or a bit of sun. The hard-packed sand is also great for biking.
14802 Whitecap Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78418, Phone: 361-826-3469
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14 Best Beaches in Texas
- Boca Chica, South Padre Island, Photo: Courtesy of flatbox - Fotolia.com
- Galveston Island East Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Kubyshin - Fotolia.com
- Rockport Beach, Photo: Courtesy of st_matty - Fotolia.com
- IB Magee Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Evgenia Tiplyashina - Fotolia.com
- Best beaches in Texas: Magnolia Beach, Photo: Courtesy of cbruzos - Fotolia.com
- Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Photo: Courtesy of Kenny - Fotolia.com
- Mustang Island, Photo: Courtesy of Eric - Fotolia.com
- Padre Island National Seashore, Photo: Courtesy of bodnarinq - Fotolia.com
- Port Aransas Beach, Photo: Courtesy of E Dan - Fotolia.com
- High Island, Photo: Courtesy of balloondude - Fotolia.com
- San Jose Island, Photo: Courtesy of Evgenia Tiplyashina - Fotolia.com
- South Packery Channel Beach, Photo: South Packery Channel Beach
- Surfside Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Wilfred - Fotolia.com
- Whitecap Beach, Photo: Courtesy of Alexandre - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of bodnarinq - Fotolia.com
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