Texas

Best Texas Beach Vacations: 6 Must-See Beaches And Where to Stay

From the northern tip of Galveston all the way down to the Mexico border, these Texas beaches rival any other coast.

Scheduling a relaxing beach getaway doesn’t have to involve international flights or cross-country driving. Texas offers beaches of many sizes all along 600 miles of gulf coastline. When I feel the need to sink my feet in the sand and soak in some vitamin D, these Lone Star beaches are the perfect spots for a weekend trip or staycation.

If you’re planning your first trip to the Texas coast, these are some of the best places to start exploring. And, if you are a state native, this list provides inspiration of new places to discover and great accommodation tips-this way, you can have new and unique experiences even in destinations that you already visited. Get those beach towels ready!

Commune With Nature at Padre Island National Seashore

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For windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, it’s hard to beat Padre Island National Seashore. This national park is 70 miles of undeveloped barrier island—the largest in the world. It’s an ideal place for fishing from the shore or small boats like canoes. It’s also one of the most serene seashores in Texas, and ranger-guided events are hosted year round.

From mid-June through August, check the park’s website for public releases of sea turtle hatchlings. On evenings when there are enough hatchlings to release, these adorable baby sea turtles make their way down the beach and out to sea. (Quick note, public releases have been canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19. Visit their website to view photos and support the effort.)

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Look Up And Observe The Stars at Boca Chica Beaches

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Less than an hour from Brownsville, stargazers have been visiting Boca Chica to catch a glimpse of future space vehicles. That`s because when SpaceX began testing their new Starship space flight design, the company has set up a launch test site just south of Boca Chica State Park.

But beach goers know Boca Chica for its 1,000 acres of beaches and sandy dunes that are open to vehicle traffic. It can take up to an hour to reach Boca Chica beaches from the nearest hotels in Brownsville. But it’s time well spent, as you’ll be able to see the SpaceX site from Boca Chica Boulevard—the only road going to and from the park.

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Lounge Like a Local at Surfside Beach

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The village of Surfside Beach is another popular Texas beach destination. Located just south of Galveston Island, about an hour from Houston, Surfside offers lots of open beach and the Stahlman Park Event Center right on the waterfront. It’s also popular for fishing, with several marinas and charters available.

Surfside has a small-town community feel (probably because the population is only around 500 people!). Most accommodations will be guest homes and small motels, especially since the village has five RV parks which means many people bring their own accommodations. Restaurants and shops are locally owned, and it’s a great place for relaxing like a local.

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Roll Up To The Blue Waters on Crystal Beach

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Ever wanted to tailgate at the beach? If you’re driving out to Bolivar Peninsula just north of Galveston Island, you’ll be able to drive right to the water and park for the day (if your vehicle can handle that!). Crystal Beach has some of the clearest blue waters and light, sandy beaches in all of Texas. Expect to find lots of seashells among the pop-up canopies and beach chairs. Wading out into the surf, you’ll find the water’s not much higher than waist-deep in most places.

When you’ve had your fill of lying on the beach (if that’s possible), visit the birding preserves at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Bolivar Peninsula is part of the Great Coastal Birding Trail, so you can walk the trails through the 34,000 acres of Ahahuac or visit one of several other sanctuaries nearby. The peninsula is a globally recognized shorebird area, and people travel from all over the world to spot hundreds of species of shorebirds here.

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Enjoy The Romantic Vibe in Rockport Beach

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One of the most popular locations for beach weddings in Texas is Rockport Beach. The clear blue waters, wide beach, and grassy dunes make for a scenic backdrop for nuptials and other outdoor events. Rockport Beach is a public park, so reservations are first-come, first-serve if you want to secure beach space for an event.

Even if you’re not planning an event, Rockport is the state’s first Blue Wave Beach. This program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides regular water testing to make sure water bacteria levels are safe. It`s a great place to relax with your partner in a large sand beach in Texas!

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Bring The Family For a Long Weekend in Port Aransas

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Known for music festivals and incredible restaurants, Port Aransas is also a family-friendly spot. There are 18 miles of public shoreline in Port Aransas, plus the nearby beaches of Mustang Island and the privately owned San Jose Island (which you can visit via ferry).

Beaches are open to vehicles with a beach permit, and barbecues are welcome! Expect to see plenty of pop-up canopies and people lounging at the waterfront. Visit Padre Balli Park and Bob Hall Pier, where you will find covered picnic tables, a seafood restaurant serving cold drinks, and a fishing pier.

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