Beaches in Texas (12 of The Best)

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Putting the words “Texas” and “beach” in the same sentence isn’t a common thing. The state is often viewed as you’d see it in the movies, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Texas has over 3,300 miles of bays and around 367 miles of Gulf beaches. That’s surely a lot more than people would think. If you want to know more about beaches in Texas, this post is for you.

South Padre Island Beach Texas. - Texas View

The Beaches of Texas

There are 28 beaches in the State, offering you a great variety if you’re a little picky. In this article, we’ll discuss 12 of them.

1. Boca Chica

Boca Chica is as close as you can get to Mexico while still being in Texas. That’s because it’s located right to the north of Mexico, across the Rio Grande.

This beautiful beach has a reputation for being quiet, clean, and relaxing. That’s because it’s part of the National Wildlife Refuge and is protected by the State.

The beach is open to visitors, but there are no facilities like restaurants or vendors, which explains why it manages to stay clean and quiet. So, if you’re planning to visit Boca Chica, make sure to prepare your food, drinks, and all other essentials beforehand.

This beach is best suited for those who want a slow and relaxing beach experience. You can swim, surf, dive, snorkel, or simply lay under the sun for hours.

Boca Chica Beach - Texas View
Boca Chica – Image by Alan Schmierer

2. Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Matagorda Bay is a 58-mile beach taking most of Matagorda Island. Unfortunately, only half of those miles can be explored on foot, as the rest of the trail can be difficult.

However, that doesn’t negate that exploring Matagorda beach is one of the most serene beach experiences.

The hiking trails will take you through sand dunes and coastal marches, where you can see storks, spoonbills, and herons.

If you’re not into moving much, you can set camp on the sand, enjoy the water, or go kayaking. Keep in mind that, much like Boca Chica beach, there are no facilities or shops. You’ll have to double-check that you’ve brought everything you need with you.

Matagorda Science Center - Texas View
Matagorda Science Center – Image by Larry D. Moore

3. Padre Island National Seashore

Around 30 miles away from Corpus Christie, lies the 70-mile Padre Island Seashore. This paradise of a shore is home to over 300 different species of birds! If you’re a fan of sightseeing, this place is definitely for you.

Padre Island isn’t composed of one beach, but rather several. For example, if you’re into snorkeling and kayaking, then Laguna Madre is the place for you. It’ll provide the best, visual-rich experience the Island can host.

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If you prefer swimming, then try the Malaquite Swimming Beach. Not only will you get to swim in clean, blue water, but you’ll also get to see some sea turtles racing to the sea!

That’s right, rangers in Malaquite Beach host baby turtle releases, where they safely let the sea turtles go back to the sea while allowing you to watch.

Sand Dunes National Seashore South Padre Island Texas. - Texas View
sand dunes National Seashore South Padre Island Texas

4. Rockport Beach

Rockport beach is a fantastic place for families with children because it doesn’t have strong undertows or big waves.

It’s also considered one of the cleanest beaches in the entirety of Texas. That’s because cars, campsites, fireworks, and bonfires are all not allowed on the beach.  

We get you, these are quite strict measures, but they paid off. Rockport beach is the first ever in Texas to earn the “Blue Wave Beach” status, a certification of cleanliness.

On the bright side, you can enjoy your time on the beach as much as you’d like. You can go swimming, play volleyball, build sand castles, and enjoy the sun. There are also various facilities, picnic tables, restrooms, and even car parking.

Rockport Beach Texas. - Texas View

5. Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach is pretty much the opposite of Rockport when it comes to water stability. Living to its name, this beach has stronger and higher waves, making it perfect for water surfing enthusiasts.

However, much like Rockport, Surfside beach is regarded as one of the cleanest beaches in Texas. Additionally, the rules and regulations here are a bit more relaxed.

For example, campfires are allowed on specific areas of the beach, but there are still strict littering policies.

Once you’re done with your usual beach activities, you can enjoy some guided horseback rides on the clean sands of the beach. This one could use a camera, so don’t forget.

Surfside Beach Texas - Texas View
Surfside Beach Texas – Image by Lance L Lowry

6. Crystal Beach

Crystal beach is located in Texas’s Upper Gulf, and it offers a lot more freedom than other beaches.

As a start, you’re allowed to camp overnight, so it’s a perfect beach for those who want a night outdoors while listening to the calming sound of waves.

You’re also allowed to drive your car directly in the sand! There’s a $10 fee on each vehicle, but it’s not that much compared to the convenience you’d have.

Crystal beach also has various types of shells and hermit crabs for you to discover. Additionally, there are over 100 different species of birds that can be seen during their migration seasons of the year.

Bolivar Peninsula Crystal Beach Elmgrove Point. View of Texas taken during ISS Expedition 34. - Texas View

7. North Beach

The Texan North beach offers a slightly different experience than most other beaches on this list. This is mainly because you can see an old aircraft carrier there; the USS Lexington.

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That’s right, the Lexington was a WWII aircraft carrier that became a naval museum. You can easily take some good photos of the naval vessel from the beach.

The North beach also gives you access to the Texas State Aquarium, which features a 400,000-gallon tank of sharks and a 4D theater.

The Aquarium also has a jungle exhibit home that contains various native animals from Yucatán, like the flamingos.

Don’t worry, you can still do all your other beach activities, like swimming and camping.

View from bridge Corpus Christi Texas. - Texas View

8. High Island Beach

High Island beach is perfect for those who seek solitude during their time on the beach. It has nothing but stretching sand to Louisiana, and it’s an hour-and-a-half ride from Houston.

High Island beach may not be one of the bigger and more popular beaches, but that’s exactly why some people seek it.

You’ll also get to see various bird types since there are four bird sanctuaries in the area. Speaking of four, there are also four lakes around the beach, displaying various birds like cormorants, herons, and spoonbills.

Galveston texas. The park has a beach as well as brackish ponds and bay for fishing. The park also has a larg Light shining through the clouds on the beach. - Texas View
Galveston texas. The park has a beach as well as brackish ponds and bay for fishing. The park also has a larg Light shining through the clouds on the beach. – Image by Yinan Chen

9. Magnolia Beach

Magnolia beach is located along Lavaca Bay’s waterfront, just southeast of Alamo Beach. It’s a great beach for families who’d want both freedom and privacy.

The mix of freedom and privacy comes from the RVs you’d see all over the beach. That’s right, you can take your family in your RV and drive directly on the sand without any problems.

If you don’t want to stay in a vehicle, there are some shaded cabinets for you to stay in. However, that’s pretty much it. There aren’t food outlets there, so you better come prepared.

Despite being an RV resort, Magnolia beach is rarely crowded. Tourists don’t visit much, and the locals don’t overcrowd the beach. You may spend your time in the water, or collect seashells on the shore.

If you enjoy socializing, you may talk with the villagers who’d be walking around, they often have something interesting to say.

Lavaca Bay coast Port Lavaca Texas. - Texas View
Lavaca Bay coast Port Lavaca Texas – Image by Adavyd

10. Porretto Beach

Poretto Beach isn’t your everyday beach as it’s privately owned. While some people may take this as a disadvantage, others think it’s the perfect opportunity for calmness and serenity.

This beach was first established back in 1950, and it has been a private beach since then.

Poretto Beach also provides some extra activities that aren’t as common on other beaches. For example, you can rent jet skis and carve your way through the water. You can also try parasailing, an activity where you’d be strapped in a parachute and dragged by a boat.

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Porretto Beach, Galveston | Drone shots

11. Lighthouse Beach

Lighthouse Beach got its name because of the beautiful red and white lighthouse it has. This beach received some extensive damage in 2017 when it was hit by Hurricane Harvey. Luckily, it’s been repaired and reopened again.

The Lavaca Bay area is the place we recommend for swimming. Not only is the water clean and calm, but the shoreline also serves as a bird sanctuary. Both swimmers and walkers will enjoy the flocks of birds roaming around.

There are also some splash pads for kids and some camping grounds for those who love chilling in their tents.

Lavaca Bay area - Texas View
Lavaca Bay area – Image by NOAA’s National Ocean Service

12. San Jose Beach

Also known as San Jose Island, this beach is another privately owned beach on our list. Visitors can enjoy the beach’s public portion until their hearts’ content, but the heart of the Islan is off-limits.

Don’t worry, that doesn’t restrict your fun at all. San Jose beach is a 21-mile-long beach with everything that you’d need. You can go swimming, bird-watching, and even fishing.

Fishing is actually more common on San Jose beach than you think. The experience is so good that many people deemed the Island the “Fishing Capital of Texas.”

Texas barrier islands map - Texas View
Texas Barrier Islands Map – Bryan Rutherford


Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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