Texans tend to take their beaches for granted.
Ask about them and you’ll likely get a reply of something like this: “Of course we have beaches; we’ve got everything.”
The state does indeed have almost everything when it comes to beaches and beach resorts. With 3,300 miles of shoreline along the Gulf Coast, Texas beaches are so attractive for their variety, access to terrific fishing, family activities, relatively small crowds, and unbelievably low prices for beach accommodations.
Here’s a list of sandy spots to consider for your next road trip to the Lone Star State.
South Padre Island
Now that Spring Break is over, South Padre Island is a great place to start your beach explorations of the state. Much of the Texas coast is protected by barrier islands, creating a shallow bay between the island and the mainland that is ideal for sport fishing. The beaches are on the outer side of these islands, including South Padre.
Access to this narrow spit of land is at Port Isabel, via the Queen Isabella Causeway. Accommodations on the island itself include RV parks and campgrounds.
There are more than just beaches to South Padre Island. Besides the beach itself, there’s Schlitterbahn Waterpark, horseback riding among the dunes, bird watching, and off-shore fishing charters. For birders, there’s the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.
Mustang Island and Port Aransas
Further up the coast, the Mustang Island State Park near Corpus Christi has forty-eight campsites with water and electricity just over the dunes from the gulf. The park offers twenty miles of paddling trails on the bay side of the island.
For those who like to fish and enjoy the beach, Bob Hall Pier in Padre Balli Park is the place to be; no need to even bring your own gear since rentals are available.
Farther north is “Port A,” as Texans like to call Port Aransas, their favorite beach destination for RVing. But don’t fret if you don’t have a rig of your own. The mega RV parks here also have rental cottages.
If you like your beaches far-removed from the crowds, Matagorda may be your spot. About two hours southwest of Houston, the activities here are all about nature, including birding and fishing. The number one attraction is miles of clean, uncrowded sand. Accommodations include a handful of RV parks and vacation rentals.
Galveston sits on a barrier island two miles offshore surrounded by 32 miles of sandy beaches, numerous attractions, and one of the largest and best-preserved concentrations of Victorian architecture in the U.S. From sof
t sandy beaches to famous 19th century architecture, the island is surrounded with incredible history and unique beauty.
Running parallel to Galveston Beach and the Gulf of Mexico is the island’s famous Seawall that stretches for more than 10 miles and rises 17 feet above mean sea level. The Seawall was built to protect Galveston from hurricanes, following the Hurricane of 1900 that devastated the island.
After taking a direct hit from Hurricane Ike in 2008, Galveston Island underwent major reconstruction and now has more fun than ever before. Whether you are extending a cruise departing from the city or planning a complete vacation on the island, Galveston has plenty to do. The beaches are clean, the seafood is fresh, and the campgrounds plentiful.
Must-see attractions include the aquarium at Moody Gardens (slated to re-open at the end of the month following a complete makeover), 1859 Ashton Villa, 1885 Moody Mansion, 1892 Bishop’s Palace, 1877 Tall Ship Elissa, and Strand Historic District. And don’t forget the Historic Pleasure Pier, which is essentially a modern re-incarnation of the pier that stood at the site from 1943 through 1961.
Texas Spoken Friendly
No matter how far we may wander, Texas lingers with us, coloring our perceptions of the world.