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Texas is known for many things, but its incredible beaches continue to be a well-kept secret. You may be surprised to learn that Texas has 600 miles of coastline for you to explore, and the vast majority of it isn’t monopolized by rowdy spring-breakers (although they’ve got that too, if that’s your thing). As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and the beaches are no exception. But which ones should you go to? Save yourself some time and check out our guide to the Best Beaches in Texas 2018.
One of the biggest draws of Surfside Beach is its proximity to Houston. If you’re staying in Houston, you’ll find yourself less than an hour away from one of the best beaches in Texas.
Surfside Beach is easy on the eyes, as one of the cleanest beaches in the area. You can even drive right onto the beach, forgoing the long, arduous shuffle from the parking lot you’re used to at other beach locations.
Despite its beauty and choice location, things don’t get too crowded or crazy at Surfside Beach. This sleepy beach town had a population of just 482 in 2010. And though the town is small, there are plenty of fun water activities, delicious seafood joints, and comfortable lodging options in the area.
Padre Island National Seashore
When most people hear “Padre Island”, throngs of college students and beer bongs come to mind. But don’t confuse South Padre Island with Padre Island National Seashore (PAIS). PAIS is the much quieter and tranquil counterpart to South Padre Island, and easily one of the best beaches in Texas.
Located on the northern part of Padre Island, you’ll find plenty of room for rest and relaxation on this massive coast, and without the noisy college students. In fact, North Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world.
Hosting a variety of pristine beach, dune, and tidal flat environments, there is a lot to like about this slice of paradise. Windsurfers, birdwatchers, campers, romantics…they all come here for vacations or day trips. It’s also home to a program re-establishing a nesting beach for Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. The rarest species of sea turtle in the world, visitors can support the cause and witness the release of newborn turtles.
Mustang Island State Park
Taking its name from the wild mustangs that roamed the island until the late 1800s, Mustang Island State Park is another Texas beach with plenty of room for fun in the sun. Texas Monthly called this beach “the prettiest, cleanest swaths of publicly owned land on the Gulf”. With more than five miles of coastline, this is a Texas-sized beach with a proportionate number of fun things to do.
Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail is one of the most popular attractions. The three segments of the trail follow the western shoreline of the island in Corpus Christi Bay. The 20 miles of trails pass through some of the best shallow-water fishing areas in Texas, and you’ll catch a glimpse of some of the over 400 different species of birds along the way.
Camping is huge here, making it one of the best beaches in Texas for the activity. You have nearly 100 different campsites to choose from, many of them with full restrooms and showers with hot water. Hiking and mountain bike paths are also here, as are big waves for ambitious surfers to tackle.
Rockport Beach has long been a favorite family-friendly destination. For young families looking for a quiet, clean, safe place, this is one of the best beaches in Texas.
Rockport Beach is actually Texas’ first “Blue Wave Beach”. This is a program administered by the Texas General Land Office to monitor water quality, meaning the water at this beach is exceptionally pure. Surfers won’t be drawn to the waves here, but those looking for gentle waves for themselves or their children will love them. Fishing is also a big draw at Rockport Beach, with its wealth of fishing locations and a wide variety of fish to catch.
Adventurers of all ages will want to try out a kayaking tour. The Rockport Birding and Kayak Adventures is one of the most popular activities here. You’ll come across dolphins and native birds on the tour, but visitors are equally enamored with the breathtaking sunsets.