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The 15 Best Beaches In Texas

With 367 miles of coastline, you have a lot of options for a beach vacation in Texas. But, as with everything, you want to maximize your time and effort put into the vacation — and you want to ensure you pick the best location upon committing to that beach. 

 

367 miles. That’s a lot of beaches to sift through. 

 

Luckily for you, I’ve chosen some of the best beaches in Texas when choosing a vacation, including which beach is best for families with kids, elderly folks, college kids, and more. I’ll also tell you if you can do some of the best beach activities to do at that location, like jet skiing, fishing, paddleboarding, snorkeling, and kite surfing.

 

But I’ll stop telling you about how great these beaches in Texas are and start showing you instead.

1. South Padre Island

It’s located near the southern tip of Texas near the Mexico border. It’s about a 45-minute drive to Brownville on the Texas — Mexico border. South Padre Island is nearly a four and a half hour drive from San Antonio.

 

The best way to get to South Padre Beach is to get

Getting To South Padre Island

The best way to get to South Padre Beach is to get on TX-550, then take I-69 to US-77 in Willacy County. Follow I-37 N till you get to exit 140B.

Parking At South Padre Island

You can almost always find a spot to park in South Padre Island thanks to the plentiful free parking available on the island. All along Gulf Boulevard, there are 24 city public beach accesses. Just note that there are two types of beach accesses — city and county. You’ll have to pay a fee for county parking, but city parking is free.

Photos Of South Padre Island

sunrise from the beach at south padre island
early evening time at south padre island

South Padre Island Beach has you covered no matter what your interests are. Adrenaline junkie? There’s fast-paced windsurfing and jetskiing available. Want something slower-paced? There are paddleboarding and fishing options on the shore. 

 

The beaches are clean and spacious, with miles of fine white sand that’s perfect to sunbathe on, play sports like volleyball, cornhole, and frisbee. If you avoid peak tourism seasons times like spring break and the Fourth of July, you’ll find uncrowded beaches.

Good For Yes / No

 

Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Swimming

 

 

Yes

 

Fishing

 

 

Yes

 

Snorkeling

 

 

Yes

 

Kite Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Paddle Boarding

 

 

Yes

 

Beach Sports

 

 

Yes

The water is shallow with gentle waves. The beaches are clean with creamy white sand. There’s an overflowing list of fun beach activities to do while visiting South Padre Island. 

 

So whether you’re a college student, have young children, want heart-pounding water sports, or simply prefer to enjoy a calm, accessible beach in old age, South Padre Island offers the best experience for diverse needs.

Good For Yes / No

 

Young Adults

 

 

Yes

 

Families

 

 

Yes

 

Elderly

 

 

Yes

South Padre Island Weather

The temperature rarely dips below 75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, with May through September being the hottest months. September sees showers nearly the whole month. If you go in the summer, be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as the sun can be rather unforgiving. 

 

The short buildings near the beach won’t be tall enough to block out the sun, so you can enjoy a breathtaking Texas beach sunset. South Padre Island has also been spared destruction from hurricanes, so you can enjoy the untouched sandy beaches.

Top 5 Places To Stay Near South Padre Island

Because of the high-quality beach, you’ll find lots of high-quality hotels and resorts on the oceanfront. If they’re out of your budget, though, there are cheaper places to stay on your vacation.

  • Isla Grand Beach Resort
  • Comfort Suites Near South Padre Island Beach
  • Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Beach Resort
  • Upper Deck Hotel with the Poolside Bar & Grill
  • The Palms Resort

Top 5 Things To Do Near South Padre Island

South Padre Island has nearby kiteboarding and windsurfing shops available, paddleboarding, nearshore and offshore fishing, skydiving, parasailing, and even horseback riding.

Top 5 Restaurants Near South Padre Island

You see the sea? You’ll see the seafood. Delicious seafood restaurants line the shores of South Padre Island, giving you the best meals harvested from the ocean. If seafood isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of American diners, pizza joints, and Mexican restaurants because of the proximity to the Mexican border.

  • Blackbeard’s seafood restaurant

  • Pier 19

  • Ceviche Ceviche

  • The Grapevine Cafe and Coffeehouse

  • Yummies Bistro

2. Surfside Beach

The sunny, calm waters of Surfside Beach resides nearly an hour and a half south from Houston in the southeast part of the state. The nearest towns are Angleton and West Columbia.

Getting To Surfside Beach

Let’s say you want to get there from Houston. You’d take HWY-288 heading south, and the island is pretty much a straight shot. You could bike to Surfside Beach if you’re already on the island — a lot of the roads have bike paths along the side.

Parking At Surfside Beach

Most of the time I find a spot if I get there early. The beach doesn’t have a parking lot so guests park directly on the beach. This can lead to the beach filling up pretty quickly by the afternoon, making it nearly impossible to find a spot afterward. There is a free parking section and a paid parking area. 

Photos Of Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach is not as action-packed as other beaches are. The town is small and mostly residential, so you should bring your own beach tent, gear, and any water games you want to play. There’s not much else to do besides what you can bring and operate at a beach yourself.

Good For Yes / No

 

Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Swimming

 

 

Yes

 

Fishing

 

 

Yes

 

Snorkeling

 

 

No

 

Kite Surfing

 

 

No

 

Paddle Boarding

 

 

No

 

Beach Sports

 

 

Yes

If you go a bit before June and a little after August, avoiding peak times, you’ll find this beach nearly empty. Even if you go when everyone else does, you’ll enjoy the serene environment where it’s just you, your loved ones, the wind, waves, and ocean. 

 

You might see folks surfing and paddleboarding, but there are no jet skis or windsurfers or other speedaholics here. If you want that fix, you’ll want to go to another beach.

Good For Yes / No

 

Young Adults

 

 

No

 

Families

 

 

Yes

 

Elderly

 

 

Yes

Surfside Beach Weather

Annually, there are 203 sunny days to be had at Surfside Beach. It’s been unaffected by the recent hurricanes, so the beaches are clean and crisp. Because of low construction around the beach, the surrounding buildings don’t impede the beautiful view of sunsets.

Top 5 Places To Stay Near Surfside Beach

Surfside Island is a sleepy little neighborhood without many high rise buildings or massive resorts. The hotels by Surfside Beach will most likely be smaller and locally-owned. There are also rental properties galore — akin to AirBnBs. 

 

There’s not a lot of good options on Surfside Island itself, so you’ll have to stay a bit farther away for comfortable hotel arrangements.

  • Ocean Village Hotel
  • Ocean Village Extended Stay Suites
  • Days Inn by Wyndham Freeport
  • Baymont by Wyndham Clute
  • TownePlace Suites by Marriott Lake Jackson Chute

Top 5 Things To Do Near Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach is what you make of it. Whether you decide to go fishing, surfing, make sandcastles with the little ones, or just decide to read all day, Surfside Beach affords the privacy and space you need to have a great time. While quiet, there are a few exciting gems here, such as:

  • Horseback riding on the beach.
  • Explore the historic Jetty Park in Surfside.
  • Go on a guided dolphin tour.
  • Visit the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary.
  • Walk, jog, or bike the Bluewater Highway Trail.

Top 5 Restaurants Near Surfside Beach

Most of the food options on Surfside Island skews toward American hamburgers or grills, although nearly all of their menus will have a seafood option. Of course, there are still seafood restaurants as well, like Pier 30.

  • Red Snapper Inn
  • Seahorse Bar and Grill
  • Kitty’s Purple Cow Cafe
  • Pier 30
  • Beach Front Deck Bar and Grill — where you can play giant chess!

3. Corpus Christi Beach

Corpus Christi Beach, renamed North Beach in 2012, is on the southern edge of Texas, nearly 146 miles south of San Antonio. To the west of Corpus Christi Beach is Alice and Kingsville.

Getting To Corpus Christi Beach

To get there from the north, take I-37 and head south. If you’re coming from the west, go east on TX-44. Take US-77 if you’re driving north from the south. Unless you’re coming up there for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, you shouldn’t hit traffic congestion.

Parking At Corpus Christi Beach

You can mostly find a spot at Corpus Christi Beach depending on when you go. If you avoid holidays, parking isn’t an issue as there are copious parking lots by the beach and street parking if you’re feeling up for a walk. If you’re so inclined, you can bike to the beach as well.

Photos Of Corpus Christi Beach

The water along North Beach’s shores is deep blue and beautiful, but the sand along the beach is gravely and too uncomfortable to lay on. Beachgoers often leave trash behind, and some visitors have even reported medical waste found on the beach, like needles and pill bottles. Many said they were stung by jellyfish upon swimming in the water as well.

 

You can still have a day at the beach, just be cognizant of your surroundings and wear shoes. Maybe grab a chair as opposed to lying on the sand, and don’t spend too long in the water.

Good For Yes / No

 

Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Swimming

 

 

Yes

 

Fishing

 

 

Yes

 

Snorkeling

 

 

No

 

Kite Surfing

 

 

No

 

Paddle Boarding

 

 

No

 

Beach Sports

 

 

No

If you like being near the water, you’ll still like visiting North Beach.

 

Corpus Christi has lots of surrounding attractions to entertain visitors, such as the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum. There are bars and restaurants galore along North Beach, so night owls will have plenty to do after hours.

Good For Yes / No

 

Young Adults

 

 

Yes

 

Families

 

 

Yes

 

Elderly

 

 

Yes

Corpus Christi Beach Weather

North Beach maintains idyllic weather conditions year-round, though June through August could get near 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

You’ll want to avoid September if you don’t want to get caught in the rain, but otherwise, Corpus Christi will provide a great backdrop for summer vacations.

Top 5 Places To Stay Near Corpus Christi Beach

You won’t see many resorts in North Beach. You’re more likely to see a few nice hotels and lots of cheaper motels. No matter what your budget is, you’ll find a place to stay along North Beach or Corpus Christi Beach.

  • Hotel De Ville
  • Beachcomber Cottages
  • Omni Corpus Christi Hotel
  • V Boutique Hotel
  • Best Western Corpus Christi

Top 5 Things To Do Near Corpus Christi Beach

Like aquariums? Like museums and amusement parks? North Beach has some of the best attractions in Texas. Whether a nature lover or WWII buff, North Beach has it all.

  • The Texas State Aquarium
  • USS Lexington WWII Aircraft Carrier and Naval Museum
  • Hurricane Alley Waterpark
  • Corpus Christi Museum of Science and Natural History
  • Texas Surf Museum

Top 5 Restaurants Near Corpus Christi Beach

North Beach offers a variety of choices for those who like different types of food. There’s plentiful seafood restaurants and also Mexican food, barbeques, upscale dining, and casual American eats.

  • Blackbeard’s on the Beach
  • Bali’s Bar and Grille
  • Water Street Oyster and Sushi Bar
  • Yo Philly Cheesesteaks and Subs
  • Hester’s Cafe

4. Mustang Island

Mustang Island is nearly directly to the east of Corpus Christi on the southern edge of Texas.

Getting To Mustang Island

You’ll have to take I-37 and take TX-358, then turn onto TX-361 to enter the island.

Parking At Mustang Island

You will always find a spot. There’s always a place to park in one of the nearby lots.

Photos Of Mustang Island

sun setting over the horizon at mustang island texas
two elderly people walking on the beach at mustang island texas

There are nearly five miles of beach at the Mustang Island State Park, so it’s unlikely to feel crowded. You can find a secluded spot and surf the waters, go paddling on the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail, or simply take a thorough stroll along the beach — among others.

Good For Yes / No

 

Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Swimming

 

 

Yes

 

Fishing

 

 

Yes

 

Snorkeling

 

 

No

 

Kite Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Paddle Boarding

 

 

Yes

 

Beach Sports

 

 

Yes

Small kids will love the miles of beach to explore and sand to build castles on. College kids can entertain themselves if they bring beach sports equipment or games, though if they go by themselves, they might not like the alcohol restrictions. Older folks will enjoy the privacy along this long strip of beach.

Good For Yes / No

 

Young Adults

 

 

Yes

 

Families

 

 

Yes

 

Elderly

 

 

Yes

Mustang Island Weather

Expect clouds and heavier showers in September and parts of October if you want to avoid peak tourism times. But summer will bring the typical Texan weather — warm days nearing 100 degrees.

Top 5 Places To Stay Near Mustang Island

There’s no housing in the state park, but a few hotels line the entrance to the island before getting to the park. You’ll find plenty of places to stay on the mainland as well — mostly chain hotels, but a few locally-owned businesses and resorts as well.

  • Village by the Beach
  • Best Western — Padre Island
  • La Casa Del Sol
  • Waves Resort Corpus Christi
  • The Island Hotel

Top 5 Things To Do Near Mustang Island

Of course, the biggest attraction on this island is Mustang Island State Park, with the miles of naturally beautiful beaches and the freedom to do nearly any popular beach activity. There’s a kitschy pirate cruise you could do, or if you like nature, a beautiful birding center to pay a visit to.

  • Explore Mustang Island State Park
  • Red Dragon Pirate Cruises
  • Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center
  • Horses on the Beach
  • Chute ‘Em Up Parasailing

Top 5 Restaurants Near Mustang Island

While mostly consisting of seafood, the restaurant selection on Mustang Island includes Italian, Southern, Thai, and Latin American.

  • Padre Island Burger Company
  • Costa Sur Wok and Ceviche Bar
  • Snoopy’s Pier
  • Thai Siam Island Restaurant
  • Island Time

5. Boca Chica Beach

Boca Chica Beach is at the southernmost tip of Texas, but well worth the drive to capture a beach getaway.

Getting To Boca Chica Beach

Getting to the beach requires taking Route-281 or Route-77 down as if you’re heading to Mexico. The roads may be congested on the small roads, but it’s so tucked out of the way that traffic shouldn’t be a problem. Brownsville would be the closest city.

Parking At Boca Chica Beach

You can always find a spot to park, as you park directly on the beach.

Photos Of Boca Chica Beach

sand dunes out at boca chica beach texas

Boca Chica is one of the United State’s southernmost mainland beaches aside from Florida, of course. As with any excellent beach, you can do all the basic beach endeavors, like surfing, fishing, snorkeling, birdwatching, and kitesurfing.

Good For Yes / No

 

Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Swimming

 

 

Yes

 

Fishing

 

 

Yes

 

Snorkeling

 

 

Yes

 

Kite Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Paddle Boarding

 

 

Yes

 

Beach Sports

 

 

Yes

Due to distance, many Texan beach-goers prefer to save travel time by choosing a beach close to them. It makes economic sense, and it also gives visitors plenty of space to spread out, break out the cornhole, and blast some tunes without worry.

Good For Yes / No

 

Young Adults

 

 

Yes

 

Families

 

 

Yes

 

Elderly

 

 

Yes

Boca Chica Beach Weather

Boca Chica Beach received some heavy rainfall during 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, it avoided the brunt of the damages. The beach is much more pleasant without hurricanes, staying warm and arid year-round.

Top 5 Places To Stay Near Boca Chica Beach

The areas surrounding Boca Chica Beach aren’t developed, which is great for the local environment but inconvenient for beachgoers, as you’ll have to drive nearly 45 minutes farther inland to reach Boca Chica Beach. Still, there are plenty of cheap options in the surrounding towns to make staying near Boca Chica easier.

  • Staybridge Suites in Brownville
  • Rooms at the Pecan
  • Hotel at Alameda Express
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Brownsville North
  • Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club

Top 5 Things To Do Near Boca Chica Beach

Boca Chica doesn’t have much in terms of businesses providing amenities. It’s more of a choose-your-own-adventure with the people and gear you bring along with you. Still, you can do the following if you hit a lull in your vacation.

  • Visit Boca Chica State Park
  • Birdwatch at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary
  • Attend the Gladys Porter Zoo
  • Go to the Stillman House Museum
  • Visit the Children’s Museum of Brownsville

Top 5 Restaurants Near Boca Chica Beach

Because of its proximity to the Mexican border, most restaurants will offer Mexican food. You can still find restaurants providing American staples, like burgers and shakes.

  • Vermillion Restaurant and Watering Hole
  • Cocteleria El Amigo
  • Dora’s
  • Stars Drive-In
  • 100% Natural

6. Crystal Beach

Near the southwestern border along the Gulf Coast sits Crystal Beach.

Getting To Crystal Beach

The nearest metropolitan city is Houston, about 100 miles away. To get there, take I-10 E before turning onto I-45 S and US-90 E.

Parking At Crystal Beach

You can always find a spot at Crystal Beach, since you can park directly on the sand.

Photos Of Crystal Beach

lady in green shirt walking on bolivar peninsula crystal beach

Crystal Beach gets its name for a reason — when you step on these sands, you’ll gaze into crystal blue waters with shallow waters great for kayaking and paddle boarding that deepen out into the perfect surfing waves.

Good For Yes / No

 

Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Swimming

 

 

Yes

 

Fishing

 

 

Yes

 

Snorkeling

 

 

No

 

Kite Surfing

 

 

Yes

 

Paddle Boarding

 

 

Yes

 

Beach Sports

 

 

Yes

Crystal Beach is a popular vacation destination for both old and young people alike. The Bolivar Peninsula has lots of dining options to choose from, as well as clean beaches on which people can bring their entertainment.

Good For Yes / No

 

Young Adults

 

 

Yes

 

Families

 

 

Yes

 

Elderly

 

 

Yes

Crystal Beach Weather

Bolivar Peninsula, which contains Crystal Beach, received severe damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 since the peninsula is one of Texas’ barrier landforms. Almost all have been cleaned up since the initial destruction, and the warm skies and general lack of rain seem opposite from the devastating weather that hit the peninsula in 2017.

Top 5 Places To Stay Near Crystal Beach

You’ll find smaller, locally-owned businesses on the island itself. As a result, finding a place to stay during peak seasons may be difficult when all the on-peninsula hotels fill up. There will be plenty of places to stay in off-peak times, in either a humble hotel or swankier villa.

  • Crystal Beach Villa
  • Saltwater Inn 
  • Out by the Sea Bed and Breakfast
  • Comfort Inn and Suites at Winnie
  • Hampton Inn and Suites — Winnie

Top 5 Things To Do Near Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach isn’t as crowded as some other beaches like South Padre and nearby Galveston, but there are still several businesses and organizations doing what they can to preoccupy beachgoers with interesting things to do, such as:

  • Visit the Bolivar Lighthouse
  • Fort Travis Park
  • Fun Spot Water Slide
  • Moody Gardens
  • Birdwatching on the Peninsula

Top 5 Restaurants Near Crystal Beach

Get your choice of Tex-Mex, American food, and tons of seafood options. You have your pick of cafes, higher-end dining, or a casual diner.

  • Steve’s Landing Restaurant
  • Ocean Grille Restaurant
  • Joe’s Cantina
  • Stingaree Restaurant and Marina
  • Hardheads Icehouse Grille and Scratch Chicken

7. Port Aransas Beach

Situated to the east of Corpus Christi, Port Aransas sits at the top of Mustang Island.

Getting To Port Aransas Beach

You’ll need to head south on I-37 before taking US-131 and TX-119. Unless it’s peak travel time, traffic should be clear.

Parking At Port Aransas Beach

You can always find a place to park, since there’s parking all along Port Aransas Beach road which runs parallel to the beach.

Photos Of Port Aransas Beach

With 18 miles of uninterrupted beach, Mustang Island offers a variety of fun activities for you and your family. There are some jetties to fish off of, plenty of big waves to entertain surfers, pretty and clean waters to swim in, and dozens of other things to do on this small island.

Good For Yes / No