Hitting the Beach in Texas

Texas' Top Stretches of Sand

South Padre Island
••• South Padre Island Beach. Danno Wise

Texas is known for a lot of things. However, many people overlooked the excellent beaches that are located along the Texas coast. With over 600 miles of shoreline, there is no shortage of sand for beachgoers. Here is a list of some of the top spots to spend the day at the beach in Texas.

Corpus Christi/Padre Island National Seashore – The mainland portion of Corpus Christi is metropolitan. However, cross the causeway to Padre Island and the urban feel begins to fade.

As you head south on Park Road 22 down Padre Island National Seashore, the modern world disappears. In fact, the Padre Island National Seashore offers visitors the longest stretch of unimproved/undeveloped beachfront in the Lone Star State. 

Galveston Island Galveston Island offers many beach-going options. Inside the city of Galveston, the seawall and adjacent sand strip are popular among visitors, as are Stewart Beach and East Beach. Further down the island, Galveston State Park and West Beach are favorite sandy hangouts. After a day of surf, sand, and sun, head to the Strand to shop or visit one of Galveston’s many excellent eateries.

Mustang Island/Port Aransas – This quaint, central coast beach is located at the northern-most end of Padre Island. The ferry ride across to Port Aransas is a great way to leave the “real world” behind and begin your vacation. Things only get better as you visit Port A’s many shops and restaurants or stake out a secluded stretch of sand on Mustang Island.

San Jose Island - Located across from Port Aransas, San Jose Island is a private, undeveloped island. The only access to "St Jo Island" is aboard the Port Aransas Jetty Boat, which has several drop-offs and pick-up times each day. There is no other beach that offers such seclusion and privacy on the Texas coast.

And, although there are no amenities, visitors to San Jose Island enjoy beachcombing, birding, swimming and fishing without encountering an automobile, house or condo. 

Sea Rim State Park – A mix of marsh and beach, Sea Rim State Park isn’t a typical beach destination. However, this state park, which is located just south of Beaumont/Port Arthur is a nature lover's delight. Bird-watchers and beach-goers often co-exist on this stretch of sand, which is the northern-most beach in Texas.

South Padre Island The most pristine beach in Texas is also the most difficult to get to. Located scant miles above the Mexican border, the South Padre surf is often a Caribbean-like clear/green as it laps against the grainy white sand. Across the Brazos Santiago Pass is isolated Boca Chica Beach. During your off-beach hours, try SPI’s sizzling nightlife, excellent restaurants and a variety of curio shops. Other options include heading across the bridge to historic Port Isabel or across the border to Matamoros, Mexico.

Keep in mind, these are but a few of the beaches available in Texas. They are listed above in alphabetical order, not by any sort of rating since they each have such diverse characteristics.

But rest assured, whatever type of beach you have in mind can be found in Texas. And, again, Texas beaches are open year around, meaning there is no end to beachy fun for dedicated beachgoers.