Looking for incredibly charming and simply the best beach towns in Texas for your next beach getaway?
The Lone Star State is blessed with a long coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and here you will find lots of fun and vibrant coastal towns including Rockport Beach and North Padre Island.
From Port Arthur near the Louisiana border to Boca Chica in the south near Mexico, you will find a variety of affordable and beautiful beach towns in Texas.
They all have pretty beaches, amazing water sports, and excellent birding.
These best coastal towns in Texas make the perfect beach vacation destinations for families as well as couples.
Best Beach Towns in Texas
Plan the ultimate Texas Gulf Coast road trip or beach getaway by using our list of the most adorable coastal towns in Texas.
Several of these beach towns including South Padre Island can be visited on a day trip but to make the most of your visit, consider booking a hotel, getting a vacation rental, or going RVing along the coast.
You can also camp right on the beach in the Lone Star State in several of these small towns.
Here is our list of the best beach towns in Texas to visit on your next trip.
Galveston Island is Texas’ most famous beach town.
Located just an hour away from Houston, the city makes an excellent beach weekend getaway in Texas.
Galveston Island also makes the perfect day trip from Houston and is pretty popular year-round.
There are several beaches on Galveston.
East Beach, Stewart Beach, or Jamaica Beach are our top favorites to relax on the sand and enjoy the water.
In the Strand Historic District of downtown Galveston, you will find several excellently preserved Victorian era buildings.
Galveston Island is also home to the famous Moody Gardens.
Here you will find the three glass pyramids: the Aquarium pyramid, the Rainforest pyramid, and the Discovery pyramid.
Here you will also find the Palm Beach Waterpark with its thrilling rides and the lazy river.
Moody Gardens is an excellent place to stay for families in Galveston.
The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is home to a carousel, roller coaster, and Ferris wheel.
Moody Gardens Golf Course on Galveston Island is a great place to enjoy the sport while taking in the water views.
Galveston Island State Park has hiking trails, sea kayaking, and birding.
The abundance of activities make the island city one of the most popular beach destinations in Texas.
Surfside Beach, located near Freeport, is the most underrated coastal town in Texas.
As its name suggests, Surfside Beach is famous for its big swells and is one of the most popular surfing spots in Texas.
Spend a day at the Surfside Jetty County Park.
You can enjoy the big breaks north of the pier or enjoy fishing from the Jetty Park.
Here you will also find picnic tables, a splash pad for kids, and walking trails along the waterfront to keep you busy for the whole day.
Surfside Beach is also home to several seafood restaurants located right along the water’s edge.
Enjoy the fresh catch of the day and sip on a cold beer or soothing cocktails while enjoying the panoramic sunset views.
If you want to spend more time, park your RV at the Brazoria County Beach Park.
Surfside Beach is also popular for birding.
Hike or bike along the Bluewater Highway trail to see seagulls and pelicans.
You can also drive the scenic Bluewater Highway from Surfside Beach all the way to Galveston.
Kemah, located near Houston, is famous for its Boardwalk.
This small Texas beach town is unlike most other sleepy, secluded destinations on this list.
On the Kemah Boardwalk, you can enjoy a variety of fun family friendly attractions including roller coasters, arcade games, and shopping.
However, Kemah is much more than the Boardwalk.
Because of its location on the Galveston Bay, the city is also great for indulging in a variety of water sports and swimming.
If you want to go hiking and enjoy nature trails then visit the Armand Bayou Nature Center.
Another great place to enjoy in Kemah is the Clear Lake park.
Here you will find excellent fishing, children’s play area, local flora and fauna, and picnic tables.
Kemah is also home to many museums including the Bay Area Museum, Old Railroad Station Museum, and the Lone Star Flight Museum.
While Freeport is most famous for Surfside Beach, there are many other things to do in this coastal small town.
Go camping at Brazoria County Beach Park or enjoy the beaches at Quintana or Bryan Beach.
Freeport is also an excellent destination for birding.
Visit the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and hike the Big Slough Wilderness Trail to see ibis, herons, ducks, and geese.
Take the auto tour to see even more migrating birds and songbirds.
Explore the historic downtown of Freeport and the history museum to see the shrimping history of the beach town.
You can also see several maritime exhibits here.
After Houston, Corpus Christi is one of the largest cities along the Texas Gulf Coast.
It is also one of the best beach cities in Texas!
The coastal city is known for its many museums and pristine beaches such as the McGee Beach – one of the best beaches in Texas!
If you want an urban beach getaway, then definitely plan a trip to Corpus Christi.
Culture travelers will enjoy the amazing variety of museums here.
Climb aboard the USS Lexington museum ship or see the marine life at Texas State Aquarium.
Art lovers should head to the art museum of South Texas while history enthusiasts can enjoy sunken treasures and fossils at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.
Corpus Christi also has a vast variety of restaurants and cuisines and is a perfect place for a romantic vacation or a fun family getaway.
Just like Galveston, Corpus Christi is also popular to visit year-round.
Mustang Island State Park
Corpus Christi also serves as the gateway to Mustang Island and Padre Island National Seashore, two of the best coastal nature preserves in Texas.
Mustang Island is named after the wild horses that once roamed here.
Today a majority of the island is home to Mustang Island State Park which is an excellent place to go hiking and camping on the Gulf Coast.
Padre Island National Seashore
Not to be confused with the touristy South Padre Island, Padre Island National Seashore is a NPS managed site with staggering natural beauty and pristine beaches.
The park is located on the north side of the barrier island of North Padre Island.
Fun fact: Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the world!
Padre Island National Seashore is one of the best national parks in Texas and visited by millions every year for its white sand beaches.
If you are looking for a budget beach getaway away from the crowds, then Padre Island National Seashore is an excellent choice.
The park offers some of the best beach camping in Texas at North Beach and South Beach.
The South Beach is a 60 mile long quiet beach with soft sand and excellent for those seeking solitude.
Other popular activities such as windsurfing, paddling trails, wildlife watching, and more also draw visitors here.
The Laguna Madre Bay side is especially good for beginner kayakers and is one of the best places to kayak in Texas.
Malaquite Beach on North Padre Island is a beautiful day-use sandy beach located on Padre Island National Seashore.
The natural paradise is also an excellent place to learn about sea turtle conservation.
You can actually see baby sea turtles being released as a part of the conservation program in the park.
Port Aransas, located along the north end of Mustang Island, is a small Texas beach town with a fun, arty vibe.
Port Aransas Beach is famous for its expansive views and soft powdery sand.
The beach town is also home to many restaurants and hotels.
IB Magee Beach Park is an amazing natural beach with golden sand.
If you love fishing, then you should definitely head to Port Aransas.
This is known as the fishing capital of Texas.
You can fish from the 1240 feet long Horace Caldwell pier or book a fishing charter and go deep-sea fishing in the Gulf waters.
Port A also serves as the gateway to San Jose Island, a beautiful shelling island off the Gulf Coast.
Take the Jetty Boat passenger ferry from Port Aransas Fisherman’s wharf and spend the day looking for sand dollars, conches, and seashells.
Crystal Beach, located on the Bolivar Peninsula, is one of our favorite Texas coastal cities.
This great beach town is an easy ferry ride away from Galveston.
This Texas beach getaway is home to wide sandy beaches, excellent fishing, and amazing birding.
Crystal Beach has a fun boho beach vibe.
Shop by the boutiques located by Crystal Beach for tropical clothing and souvenirs.
Grab a beach chair and soak up the sun or swim in the warm waters. Rent a golf cart and cruise up and down the beach.
Crystal Beach is also an excellent place to listen to live music, rock and roll bands, and country music concerts.
Crystal Beach makes a perfect base for exploring other attractions on the Bolivar Peninsula including the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and the Point Bolivar Lighthouse.
Rockport is a small and charming Texas beach town located about 3 hours away from Houston.
It is famous for its clean beaches, fishing opportunities, and bird watching.
Rockport Beach is the only blue wave beach in Texas, meaning it is exceptionally clean and safe year-round.
The cleanest beach in Texas is perfect for everything from a lazy beach day to jet skiing and picnic areas on the beach.
At Aransas Wildlife Refuge, you can see migrating whooping cranes, Roseate spoonbills, egrets, blue herons, and even alligators.
A visit to the Rockport Fulton area is not just about the beach and marine life.
The city also has great cultural attractions including the Rockport Center for the Arts and the Texas Maritime Museum.
The Maritime Museum is an excellent place to learn about Gulf Coast history.
The Fulton Mansion is also a great place to visit for history lovers.
With its plenty of accommodation options, Rockport makes a fantastic beach destination.
Rent a secluded beach house or go glamping in a camper, Rockport Beach has multiple choices for every budget.
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is famous as a spring break destination and is as crowded as Myrtle Beach during spring break week.
But the rest of the year, South Padre Island is a charming coastal town that is perfect for some rest and relaxation on the Gulf Coast.
Then are several things to do on South Padre Island for adventure lovers.
You can go horse riding on the South Padre Island beach, build a sandcastle, learn surfing, or take a dolphin watching cruise.
You can also climb the lighthouse in Port Isabel while visiting South Padre Island.
The island is also home to Schlitterbahn Waterpark which makes it very popular with families in summer.
The island is also an excellent birding and wildlife destination.
You can visit the South Padre Island birding and Nature Center or Sea Turtle Inc to learn more about Texas coastal and marine life.
South Padre Island is home to several restaurants and offers a variety of cuisines from fresh seafood and excellent Tex-Mex to build fire pizzas and Caribbean food.
You will also find a variety of accommodations on South Padre Island, making it one of the best Texas beach towns.
The tourist town is an excellent weekend getaway from San Antonio or other destinations in south Texas.
Boca Chica Village
Boca Chica Village, located near South Padre Island, is a hidden gem among Texas coastal towns.
This extremely small beachside community is home to the Boca Chica State Park on the Gulf Coast.
Boca Chica is home to a 8 miles stretch of a sandy beach located north of the mouth of the Rio Grande river.
To reach Boca Chica, drive along Texas Highway 4 as far as the road takes you.
There are very few amenities here and camping is not allowed.
Recently, Boca Chica has become famous as the launch site of SpaceX, the private space exploration company founded by Elon Musk of Tesla.
On a visit to Boca Chica beach, you are also able to see the SpaceX facility and rocket.
Port Arthur, located 90 miles east of Houston, may not be as pretty and charming as other Texas coastal towns on this list but it is definitely an option for Houston area folks.
Here you will find cultural attractions, lots of birds, and secluded beaches.
Our favorite attraction to visit in Port Arthur is the Sea Rim State Park.
The park is home to kayaking trails, boardwalk hiking trails over wetlands, migrating birds, and sandy beaches.
The Museum of the Gulf Coast located in Port Arthur has amazing exhibits on the area’s maritime history, natural history, and even pop culture.
Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site is also located nearby.
Matagorda is a small beach town located near the mouth of the Colorado River on the upper Gulf Coast of Texas.
Matagorda is the third oldest town in Texas and has many historical buildings and markers in its downtown area.
In Matagorda, you will find over 23 miles of beach area that is easily accessible for camping, swimming, and relaxing.
Matagorda Bay Nature Park is also excellent for birding and wildlife.
If you have a kayak or a personal watercraft, then you can also access another 35 miles of the beachfront area south of the Colorado River.
Also Read: Best Kayaking and Canoeing in Texas
Port Lavaca & Port O’Connor
The city of Port Lavaca, located about 130 mi southeast of Houston, is one of the most underrated Texan coastal towns on this list.
Port Lavaca and the nearby town of Port O’Connor make excellent beach getaways in Texas.
A top attraction is the Half Moon Reef Lighthouse built in 1858.
Cultural attractions in the coastal city Port Lavaca include the Main Street Theater and the Calhoun County Museum.
Golf lovers will enjoy playing a round at the Hatch Bend Country Club.
Port Lavaca is also home to two fabulous beaches: Magnolia Beach and Lighthouse Beach.
While Magnolia Beach is excellent for fishing, launching boats, and playing volleyball, Lighthouse Beach is excellent for birding.
It even has a birding tower and a family-friendly trail.
Port O’Connor is excellent for swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddling, and other water activities.
The Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area with its over 39 miles of clean sandy beaches is located here.
We hope you liked our guide to the best beach towns on the Texas coast.
What is your favorite amongst Texas beach towns?
Did we miss any popular coastal town in Texas? Let us know in the comments.