What is the closest beach to San Antonio? (All the best nearby beaches)

closest beaches to san antonio

San Antonio is known for so many things. From theme parks to Fiesta to knock-your-socks-off-good Tex-Mex, San Antonio is the place to be.

But there’s one big attraction that we’re missing out on, and that’s the beach. It gets hot enough here (110+ degrees in the summer) that it makes you want to take a dip to cool off.

While you could always float the river, nothing beats the salty serenity of a great day at the beach. If you’re down for a road trip, there are plenty of beaches right here in Texas that are within driving distance from San Antonio.

What is the closest beach to San Antonio?

Texas is a big state, guys. If you want to find the closest beach to San Antonio, you’ll need to drive 2.5 hours to the Corpus Christi area, where you’ll find Mustang Island State Park.

This state park has several miles of pristine shoreline. It’s located on a barrier island to the south of Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, so if you’re visiting for a few days, you’ll need to snag a hotel at either of these cities. Port Aransas is smaller and has a gorgeous seaside town vibe, but Corpus Christi is a bigger city with more amenities, so choose your own adventure.

At Mustang Island State Park, you can tan on the beach, swim in the Gulf of Mexico, fish in the bay, paddleboard, bird watch, and even camp! There aren’t a lot of facilities or amenities here, but I like how quiet certain areas of Mustang Island are. It’s the perfect beach getaway without a super long drive from San Antonio.

(For more along these lines, don’t miss our complete guide to the best beaches in Corpus Christi.)

Other nearby beaches to San Antonio

Not feeling Mustang Island? No worries. There are plenty of other beaches near San Antonio, although they all require a bit of a longer drive. If you’re looking for more beaches near San Antonio, consider these options.

Port Aransas

Distance from San Antonio: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Port Aransas is technically part of Mustang Island, but it’s a beachy destination in its own right, too. I prefer it over more touristy spots like Corpus Christi or Galveston. Although Port A (as the locals call it) is technically a tourist town, it still has the charm of a small seaside haunt.

Port A has a special place in my heart. It was our go-to beach vacay when I was in college. I assure you that I spent many a hungover morning at the Port A Whataburger, still clad in a bikini and Daisy Dukes, like any respectable Texan.

If you want to check out the beach at Port Aransas, I recommend booking a condo right on the beach. It’s a little pricier, but beach parking is a nightmare (I guarantee you’ll have to walk a mile otherwise). Some condos have their own private beaches, so paying a little bit more could mean getting primo beach access, too.

Port A is definitely a swimmer’s beach. Certain spots are good for surfing or bodyboarding, if that’s your thing. Other areas allow boats and jet skis, and the winds allow for sailing, parasailing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing.

San Jose Island

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours

Want something a little quieter? Like Mustang Island, San Jose Island is a barrier island in the Gulf. It’s close to towns like Portland, Port Aransas, and Rockport. San Jose Island is actually a privately-owned wildlife preserve, so if you aren’t into the crowds at places like Corpus Christi, then San Jose is for you.

San Jose Island is completely uninhabited, so it doesn’t have a lot of facilities or amenities. But if you want to get back to nature, this is the best-kept secret in Texas!

Although people love going to St. Jo’s (as we call it) for bird watching, beachcombing, and shell collecting, it’s also a decent spot for swimming, too. If you want to pick up lunch or provisions, you can take a ferry to Port Aransas. St. Jo’s even rents out golf carts so you don’t have to lug all of your stuff up and down the 21-mile coast by foot.

St. Jo’s is also a favorite spot for saltwater fishing. And since several Spanish ships sank near the island, it’s also a great spot for history buffs and treasure hunters!

Matagorda Bay

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours and 20 minutes

If you’re visiting Matagorda Bay, you’ll likely stay in Victoria or Port Lavaca for the weekend. Matagorda Bay isn’t a single beach; it’s miles and miles of clean, wide-open beaches that tend to be a little less crowded.

Actually, if you want to camp on the beach, Matagorda Bay allows it! And if you’re looking for a piece of Texas history, it isn’t uncommon for old Spanish coins to wash up on its shores.

Matagorda Bay also hosts fishing tournaments, so if you fancy yourself an amateur saltwater angler, you can compete for some seriously good prizes.

Surfside Beach

Distance from San Antonio: 3 hours and 47 minutes

Surfside Beach is actually the name of the town, but it has a great beach, too!

Surfside is much quieter than destinations like Galveston, and in my opinion, the water tends to be a little clearer. There might not be much in the way of amenities in this sleepy town, but there are some great bars and grills along the shoreline. Plus, if you have an RV, there are a few decent RV parks right along the water.

The neat thing about Surfside is that it has coastal reefs. (Fun fact: Texas is home to some of the largest coral reefs in the world) So, if you like diving or snorkeling, there’s lots to see under the surface at Surfside.

Galveston Island

Distance from San Antonio: 4 hours

I mean, I couldn’t list beaches near San Antonio without mentioning Galveston. Galveston is actually its own island, and it’s definitely more of a tourist attraction. But if you want to see the beach, enjoy the nightlife, and have access to the comforts of a bigger city, Galveston is definitely one of the best beach towns in Texas.

It tends to be more family-friendly than other beaches, too. Check out the historic Pleasure Pier for amusement park rides, fresh shrimp, and drinks for a truly spectacular beach vacation.

South Padre Island

Distance from San Antonio: 5 hours

Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. South Padre is a long, long drive from San Antonio. If you can stomach five hours in the car, though, you’ll find yourself at one of the most popular party beaches in the state of Texas.

But boy, is South Padre beautiful! We visited for our wedding anniversary last year and had a blast. Plenty of families visit South Padre, but it’s better known as a party beach. I would ABSOLUTELY steer clear during spring break.

If you look carefully, you might spot a sea turtle or dolphin during your stay at South Padre. We took a jet ski out on the Laguna Madre and it was truly unforgettable. If you’re brave, you can even go parasailing around the Laguna!

Map of the Best Beaches near San Antonio