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Aerial view of the Texas Gulf Coast
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The 10 best beaches in Texas

Here's where to find the best beaches in Texas, from secluded stretches of sand to summer party hangouts

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Justine Harrington

Admittedly, Texas isn’t known for its beaches in the world, but that’s not to say there aren’t great ones around. The Lone Star State has over 600 miles of coastline, featuring stretches of emerald green, dusty gold and blood orange hues. Admittedly, it's the activities that make the Texas beaches extra bit special—think spots for families to gather and enjoy fireworks, barbecue and go for a cool, refreshing dip. Whether you’re looking for a quiet getaway or to frolic with loved ones, we’ve uncovered the best beaches in Texas to set your sights on as the temperatures rise along the Gulf Coast. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

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Best beaches in Texas

These 70 miles of protected, peaceful coastline, prairies and dunes separate the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre. If raw, rugged, beachy wilderness is your thing, you’ll love Padre Island National Seashore. The world’s longest undeveloped barrier island, Padre Island National Seashore is a Texas treasure, and one of the state’s most important conservation areas. The island provides a safe habitat for over 350 migratory bird species, in addition to the rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. Camp on the sand or just find a quiet place to lounge for the day.

Find this charming state park nestled on the western end of the island, where visitors can explore both Galveston Bay and the Gulf. Home to over 2,000 acres of natural landscape and scenic coastline, there are tons of island activities to enjoy here: admire the views of the park’s marshes, wetlands and estuaries; go hiking or biking on picturesque trails; or, simply pack a picnic and lounge on one of the park’s beaches.


For those looking to hike, mountain bike, kayak or swim in the Gulf, Mustang Island just east of Corpus Christi is a great beach destination. But it’s the state park’s sheer natural beauty—forest green dunes, powdery sand and dark blue waters—that’s the biggest draw. One of the prettiest and most remote beach getaways in Texas, Mustang Island State Park also offers first-come, first-served beach camping. Plan to visit between April and July to catch a glimpse of the sea turtles laying their eggs on the shore.

This barrier island off the southernmost corner of Texas boasts sparkling tropical waters, unspoiled beaches and action-packed nightlife. South Padre may be unofficially called Spring Break Island, but this picturesque locale is so much more than a teenage hangout (just don’t come here during March!) The best time to visit is between September and February, in order to relax and enjoy the lovely scenery without the crowds and rowdy partying.


Nestled on the 18-mile-long Mustang Island, Port Aransas (or “Port A”, as it’s known to locals) is beloved for its mix of great beaches, excellent seafood restaurants and cultural attractions. This idyllic stretch of coastline features soft white sand, blue-greenish waters and plenty of activities, including fishing and camping. If you’re craving a dose of quiet, coastal charm, a visit to Port Aransas Beach is just what the doctor ordered.

This laidback, sandy, eight-mile beach is located just across the Rio Grande from Mexico. If you’re just in it for the sand and surf, Boca Chica Beach may just be a perfect choice. This rustic yet charming area doesn’t have much in the way of amenities, but this is precisely why it’s so wonderful. Come here to fish, swim, snorkel and surf, but be sure to pack plenty of food, beverages and other beach essentials for the day; as previously mentioned, there really are no services here.


Situated across from Port Aransas, San Jose Island is accessible only by boat—which is a significant part of the island’s charms, of course. There’s a ferry that travels hourly between here and Mustang Island, and because San Jose is privately owned, visitors are restricted to the beach only. However, swimming, birding, fishing and beachcombing are allowed.

Find this lively, kid-friendly beach community on the shore of Aransas Bay, just northeast of Corpus Christi. Home to volleyball courts, several picnic spots, play areas for the kiddos, a popular fishing spot and plenty of shoreline that’s perfect for lounging and swimming, Rockport Beach is a clean, family-oriented area that’s also known for being the first Blue Wave Beach in Texas.


Though the city of Matagorda has roughly 58 miles of beach, only 23 miles of the beach are accessible by foot; this off-the-beaten-path coastal strip attracts very few tourists, especially compared to South Padre and Galveston. Matagorda Beach is a bit of a hidden treasure in Texas, so this is the perfect coastal spot to visit if you’re in the mood for solitude. Just keep in mind that Matagorda is primitive and it’s a bit of an adventure to get here, so you’ll need to bring plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen to last you the whole day.

Crystal Beach
Photograph: Courtesy Tour Texas

10. Crystal Beach

Situated along Texas’s Upper Gulf coast on the Bolivar Peninsula, this pretty slice of coastline is home to tons of amenities and activities. Crystal Beach does tend to attract party-goers, in addition to families and other big groups, largely because you can drive your car directly on the sand here. In addition, there’s plenty to do in the area: Enjoy freshly-caught seafood, soak up the local nightclub scene, go crabbing, hunt for shells or just frolic in the glimmering waters.

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