Coastal Vacation Destinations in Texas

Texas has hundreds of miles of coastline and dozens of great "beach towns" to visit on summer vacation. Each of Texas' coastal vacation destinations offers something different and unique for summer visitors. And, while there are literally dozens of destinations for vacationers to choose from, a handful of Texas coastal vacation destinations stand apart from the rest.

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South Padre Island

South Padre Island, TX
Richard Stockton/Photolibrary/Getty Images

South Padre Island is one of Texas' most popular summer vacation spots. Officially designated as the "Fireworks Capital of Texas" due largely to its weekly summer fireworks displays (every Friday night at 9:18), South Padre Island certainly lives up to the billing on Independence Day when a huge fireworks extravaganza is held over the Laguna Madre Bay. The fireworks display can be viewed from numerous condos and restaurants on both South Padre Island and across the bay in Port Isabel. In addition to the miles of beautiful beaches, South Padre Island offers visitors a full slate of summer vacation activities, including fishing, swimming, kite boarding, parasailing, surfing, jet skiing, sand castle building and more.

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Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi CVB

Corpus Chrisit, also known as the Sparkling City by the Bay, is one of the most popular summer tourist destinations in Texas. Corpus Christi is the state's largest coastal vacation destination. It is also one of Texas' most unique "beach towns" in that it lies partially on the mainland and partially on Padre Island. This combination of mainland coastal city and island beachtown affords visitors a great variety of vacation activities. Not only does Corpus Christi offer miles of clean beaches as well as bay and beachfront waters for a variety of outdoor activities, it is also home to a number of first rate attractions such as the Texas State Aquarium and USS Lexington. Beyond that, there are plenty of top hotels, restaurants and activities for summer visitors headed to Corpus Christi.

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Port Aransas

Fish restaurant in Port Aransas.
Richard Cummins

Located just north of the Island portion of Corpus Christi, Port Aransas is almost the complete opposite of Corpus, despite the two towns sharing a portion of the same island. While Corpus is a large city with a lots of attractions and activities, Port Aransas is a quaint town with a laid back pace. The ferry ride over sets the mood for a relaxing visit to Port Aransas (you can drive across, but why would you?). Birding, nature watching, fishing, shopping, and surfing are just a few of the activities located on this enchanting middle coast island beach town, which is why many visitors consider Port A an ideal blend of everything Texas beach towns have to offer. 

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Fulton Mansion
Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce

Rockport is known more for its "charm" than any other town along the Texas coast. Nestled in the heart of the Texas Coastal Bend region, Rockport has become a mecca for artists. This burgeoning art scene has spawned a unique tourist stream. Many of these same visitors also partake in Rockport's natural attractions and outdoor activities such as boating, birding and fishing. Rockport is also home to a number of festivals and celebrations such as the Hummerbird Celebration, Rockport Seafair, and Rockport Film Festival. Additionally, Rockport boasts a variety of cozy restaurants and accommodations.

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Galveston Island

Galveston Pleasure Pier

Galveston is a very unique "beach town." It is Texas' largest coastal island city and also the state's oldest surviving coastal community. It's rich blend of history, architectural flair, modern attractions and miles of open beaches make Galveston an ideal destination for a family summer vacation. Museums, waterparks, restaurants, shops, beaches and more await visitors heading to Galveston Island during the summer months. Galveston's historical attractions include numerous historic homes, the historic Strand Shopping District and museums such as the Texas Railroad Museum, Texas Seaport Museum and Lone Star Flight Museum. Those looking for something with a more modern flair should visit Moody Gardens or head to Schlitterbahn Waterpark. Galveston's close proximity to Houston, the largest city in Texas, also makes it one of the most easily accessible coastal vacation destinations in the Lone Star State.

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