Is Texas Landlocked? (Bordering Places)

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Texas is becoming more vastly populated because of lower taxes and lower crime rates, and it generally offers a better lifestyle for families than some other states. People even try to get to Texas from other countries, often leading to the question, is Texas landlocked?

Despite popular belief, Texas is not landlocked. Texas’ northern, western, eastern, and southern sides all border other states and countries. Still, the southeastern side includes the Texas Gulf Coast, which connects the Gulf of Mexico, offering access to Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean Sea.

Abstract vector color map of Mexico country colored by national flag. - Texas View

Why Texas Is Not Landlocked

A state is only landlocked when the boundaries of the state do not have direct access to an ocean, bay, or gulf. Texas has direct access to the Atlantic Ocean through the Gulf of Mexico, on the Texas Gulf Coast, located in the southeastern part of Texas.  

The southern part of the United States and the northern part of Mexico share a border. The states that share this border with Mexico are Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California.

  • Texas has three coastal regions: the Texas Coastal Bend, South Texas, and Southeast Texas.
  • These three coastal regions are part of the intertidal zone that we call the Texas Gulf Coast.
  • Texas has 14 counties that border the Gulf of Mexico boundary to the east.
  • Texas has ten coastal bays on the Texas Gulf coastline.
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Counties Bordering The Gulf Of Mexico

1. Willacy2. San Patricio3. Refugio4. Nueces5. Matagorda
6. Kinberg7. Kennedy8. Jefferson9. Galveston10. Chambers
11. Cameron12. Calhoun13. Brazoria14. Aransas 
Counties Bordering Gulf of Mexico

The Coastal Bays Bordering The Texas Gulf Coastline

  1. South Bay
  2. San Antonio Bay
  3. Redfish Bay
  4. Matagorda Bay
  5. Lavaca Bay
  6. Galveston Bay
  7. Corpus Christi Bay
  8. Copana Bay
  9. Baffin Bay
  10. Aransas Bay

The Textbook Meaning Of Landlocked

If you look at the textbook definition and meaning of the word “landlocked,” you will come to the conclusion that there is no way that Texas can be referred to as landlocked.

WordMeaning
Landlocked/’lan(d)lɒkt/Almost or completely surrounded by land.
Meaning of Landlocked

So, by that definition, if a state borders with an ocean, bay, or gulf, then that state isn’t landlocked, and thus, Texas isn’t landlocked.

Distance Between Texas And Coastal Areas

Because Texas is so vast, some Texans have to travel great distances to reach the Texas Gulf Coast, especially when you factor in that Texas is the second-largest state in the entire United States.

Let’s see how far the west, north, east, and central Texas residents must travel to experience the Texas Gulf Coast or to see the beaches inside the state’s borders.

El Paso

El Paso is situated in the western part of Texas, which is nowhere close to an ocean, and El Paso is solidly landlocked. The distance from El Paso to the Gulf is 758 miles, and getting there by driving on the I-10 E will take you approximately 11 hours.

Compared to that, El Paso is 725 miles from San Diego, so you can get to the beach faster by crossing state borders and passing through New Mexico and Arizona than by staying within the state of Texas.

Amarillo

Amarillo is situated in the far northern part of Texas, and though the Gulf is a bit closer to Amarillo than El Paso, it’s still a long drive away. The distance from Amarillo to the Gulf is 669 miles, and the fastest route is US-287 S, which will take you approximately 10 hours and 45 minutes to drive. Unlike El Paso, the Texas Gulf Coast is the closest point to the ocean from Amarillo.

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Dallas

We are slowly getting closer to the Texas Gulf Coastline and the ocean, and Dallas is located more toward the eastern part of Texas. The distance from Dallas to the Gulf is only 336 miles, and driving the I-45 S will get you there in approximately 5 hours and 20 minutes.

Austin

Austin is situated in central Texas. It’s the state’s capital city and much closer to the Texas Gulf Coastline. The distance from Austin to the Gulf is 188 miles, and driving the State Hwy 71 E will take only around three hours to get there.

Map of of Texas with border states. - Texas View

Landlocked State Vs. Landlocked Property In Texas

We have determined that Texas is not landlocked because of its direct access to the ocean; you do not have to cross any state borders to get to the Gulf. However, there is another way that people may understand “landlocked,” which has to do with property or land you purchase in Texas.

Properties in Texas can be landlocked, and it’s pretty common. This means you don’t have access to your property’s entrance or exit road. In these cases, some landowners need permission to cross a neighbor’s property to access their own. It’s a good thing Texans have a reputation for being friendly.

  • If your property is landlocked and you must access it by passing through your neighbor’s property, you must obtain a right-of-way agreement.
  • This agreement is called an easement, giving you legal permission to access another person’s property, but only for precise reasons.
  • Easements have many different classifications, but there are two common easements that are provided:
    • The first easement is an easement of gross. This is provided to a person for personal use to cross another person’s property to enter their property. The general agreement of this easement includes that it’s not transferrable.
    • The second and most common type of easement is an easement appurtenant, which is transferrable because it’s not attached to a person but to the title of a property or land. You could say it’s not an agreement between two people but between two properties, one being the servient estate and the other the dominant estate.
  • If you purchase a property that is landlocked within the state of Texas, it’s your responsibility to find out which type of easement the previous owner had in their possession. If it’s a gross easement, that could cause problems for you in the future, as you would have to go through an entirely new easement process. It’s best to purchase land that has an easement appurtenant.
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FAQs About Texas Being Landlocked

Does Texas Have Direct Access To The Sea?

You have access to 370 miles of beaches, ports, and vacation spots along the Texas Gulf coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

What Does “Landlocked” Mean In Texas?

The word “landlocked” has a double meaning in Texas. It could mean a state surrounded by land on all sides (which Texas is not, despite what most people believe), but it’s also possible to own or purchase property in Texas that is landlocked (surrounded by other properties with no direct access to public roads).

Why Does Mitski Call Texas A Landlocked State?

Mitski Miyawaki wrote a song called “Texas Reznikoff,” where she sings about Texas being a landlocked state. So, of course, people wonder why she wrote a song about Texas being landlocked while we all know it’s not
Unfortunately, there are no detailed answers, but Mitski tweeted in 2015 that only two people should understand what she meant in her song, and that’s her and the person she wrote it for. According to her tweet, it seems that it’s an inside joke shared between her and a loved one, so we will probably never know the whole truth.

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Christian Linden Texas View Headshot 3 - Texas View
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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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