The 14 Best Beach Towns in Texas

best beach towns in texas

Need some beach time?

Well put on your trunks and kick off those sandals. These beach towns in Texas are perfect destinations!

From Galveston to Boca Chica, each town on this list has something different to offer. Whether it’s miles of beautiful beaches or endless entertainment, these coastal communities are sure to impress.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the 14 best beach towns in Texas!

Map of the Best Texas Beach Towns

1. Galveston, TX

There’s no town in Texas more synonymous with the beach bum life than Galveston. Honestly, it’s no surprise that this 32-mile long island takes the number-one spot on my best beach town list! Aside from its gorgeous ocean views, Galveston also features the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, a 2,000-acre state park, ziplining, and 7 different beaches.

Not in the mood to lounge on the warm, soft sand? No problem! Catch a 3D movie at Moody Gardens or tour the town’s historic Victorian houses and colorful murals.

P.S. Galveston is also one of the only beaches in Texas where you can legally drink alcohol. Just sayin’.

2. North Padre Island

Fun fact: did you know that Texas split Padre Island in half after forming the Port Mansfield Channel?

What’s now known as North Padre Island is home to tons of wildlife. From late June to mid-August you can witness baby turtles hatching from their eggs along the shore and making their journey to the ocean. But what’s even cooler about North Padre Island is what lies beneath the water’s surface: this island has multiple shipwrecks that are just waiting to be explored, so pack your snorkeling gear.

3. South Padre Island, TX

You can’t mention North Padre without talking about its way more rowdy sibling, South Padre. This half of the island is a popular spring break destination that’s known for its crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and inviting tropical climate. South Padre is full of delicious Tex-Mex restaurants right on the beach, too. My husband was in hog heaven when he got to eat caldo de mariscos overlooking the ocean.

Bringing the kids along on your vacation? No problem! South Padre might seem like a big party town, but it’s actually pretty family-friendly. South Padre is home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which offers dozens of waterslides and other aquatic rides for kids of all ages. 

4. Rockport, TX

Conveniently located 3 hours from Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Rockport is the home of Texas’ first Blue Wave Beach. This means that the mile-long shore is clean, managed responsibly, and protects both human health and the environment. Nice, right? The Rockport beach even includes barbecue areas and picnic tables, which make this the perfect stop for an all-day adventure.

Tired of baking in the sun? Head indoors to check out the Texas Maritime Museum, where you can learn about everything from pirates to oil. The Fulton Mansion State Historic Site is also a must-see architectural wonder.

5. Port Aransas, TX

I spent most of my spring breaks in college frolicking on the shores of Port A, but Port Aransas is actually one of the top ten most family-friendly beaches in Texas. It’s also home to 18 miles of gorgeous coastline that are perfect for parasailing, kayaking, or windsurfing.

In the summer, Port Aransas hosts fishing competitions nearly every weekend that attract experienced anglers from all over the world. Thinking of making a trip down in the fall? If you plan wisely, you can be there for America’s largest native-sand sculpture competition, SandFest!  

6. Bolivar Peninsula

From its 169-year-old lighthouse to the Great Coastal Birding Trail, there’s something for everyone on the Bolivar Peninsula. The soothing and inviting sand makes the perfect place to camp. Just keep in mind that there aren’t any bathrooms or amenities there, so you’ll be roughing it.

If you’re traveling with a history buff,  be sure to swing by Fort Travis and tour around what remains of its bunkers, which were built in 1836. 

7. Freeport, TX

Known as one of the best fishing spots in Texas, Freeport’s coastline allows you to drive your car right up to the water. This seaside town features bird observatories, wetland trails, and a national marine sanctuary that’s also a top-tier diving spot.

Looking for something a little more thrilling? Head over to the Old Brazos River to go jet skiing, waterskiing, or wakeboarding. 

8. McFaddin Beach (Port Arthur, TX)

This uncrowded, pet-friendly beach is also an archeological site. It isn’t unusual to find ancient animal bones or artifacts from Texas history washed up onshore.

You’ll also find that the sand at McFaddin Beach is pretty hard-packed, which makes it perfect for long walks and even driving. At night you’re likely to come across packs of locals partying by a bonfire, but during the weekday you’ll likely have the beach to yourself.   

9. Corpus Christi, TX

If you’re looking for endless opportunities to stay entertained while taking in some coastal beauty, Corpus Christi is the destination for you. This Gulf-side city features the Texas Surf Museum, the CC Museum of Science and History, the Art Museum of South Texas, the Texas State Aquarium, and the USS Lexington, a large aircraft carrier from World War II.

If you visit Lake Corpus Christi State Park, you can stay active both in the water and on land. You can swim, paddleboard, kayak, fish, boat, and water ski. Feel free to camp, hike, bike, geocache, or bird and nature watch at Corpus Christi’s rich conservation areas, too.

10. Boca Chica Beach (Brownsville, TX)

Now home to Tesla’s SpaceX launch site, Boca Chica is located directly across from the Rio Grande and Mexico, which makes it a great destination for fishing, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and more.

After spending a peaceful day on the uncrowded beach, head over to the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art to check out exhibits by local and international artists. If you want something more family-friendly, take the kiddos over to Gladys Porter Zoo to check out its 375 different animal species.

11. Matagorda Bay Nature Park (Matagorda, TX)

The Matagorda Bay Nature Park is a 1,333-acre area where the Colorado River meets the Gulf of Mexico. If you’re a fan of roughing it a little, Matagorda is the perfect spot for a real adventure.

If you forgot your beach accessories, you can rent beach chairs, beach wagons, and even paddleboards from the park. Enjoy activities like horseback riding on the shore or bird watching in the park’s coastal marshes. You can also fish or swim in Matagorda Bay’s inviting, warm waters. 

12. San Jose Island

San Jose is a privately-owned island that boasts 21 miles of coastline, 300 species of birds, and over 600 species of native fish. In fact, it’s teeming with so many fish that San Jose is known as the Fishing Capital of Texas!

While the island is mostly a wildlife preserve, the public is allowed to access the beach area below the vegetation line. But don’t worry, because that’s exactly where you want to be! The shores here offer the perfect environment for birding, shelling, fishing, and beachcombing. (Be sure to keep an eye out for sea turtles when you’re hanging around the jetties.)

13. Sylvan Beach Park (La Porte, TX)

Sylvan Beach Park is one of the few beaches in La Porte with fine, beachy sand. Since this park is seaweed-free, it makes beach time even more fun!

If you’re visiting in the spring, don’t miss out on the Annual Sylvan Beach Festival Crawfish Jam. The event kicks off with a parade, live entertainment, food, craft booths for the kids, a carnival, cook-off, pageant, and much more.

If you need a break from the beach, you can also check out Pecan Park in La Porte for its baseball fields, walking trails, playground, concession stands, and picnic areas. 

14. Seabrook, TX

Seabrook is a gorgeous destination just outside of Houston. Seabrook is located in one of the most popular bird migration paths in North America, which makes it a must for bird watchers.

Seabrook’s 11 miles of coastline offer boating and beachside fun, but if you want to enjoy yourself on dry land, its 18 parks provide amenities like a skatepark, disc golf course, swimming pool, hiking, biking trails, and more.

In the evening, head over to Seabrook’s Kemah Boardwalk to enjoy amusement rides, carnival games, and other family-friendly events.