8 of The Best Beaches in Texas You’re Probably Missing

Sunset over the sandy beach on Galveston Island, Texas, USA.

When you think of Texas, BBQ, Tex-Mex cuisine, cowboys, and perhaps even amusement parks may come to mind. Beaches likely do not. While they may not rival the blue waters of the Caribbean or Maldives, that's not to say there's nothing to brag about. The southeastern side of Texas is on the Gulf Coast, where the water can be clear and the sand soft.

Where will you find the best water fun in the Lone Star State, where big cities get much of the buzz? These are at the top of our list of the best beaches in Texas.

1. Port Aransas 

Port Aransas, Texas Sunrise
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Ryan Conine.

This small beach town seems straight out of a movie. Not only do you get the beach, all the water sports you can handle, and great fishing (it is called the “Fishing Capital of Texas” for a reason), but shopping and good food are there as well. There are a few restaurants on the island where you can bring your haul from the sea and cook it while you kick back and marvel at the waterside views.

There's also a lot of wildlife, such as rare birds, and if you're lucky you might glimpse a sea turtle. Consider timing your visit during the annual Whooping Crane Festival in February, as the Whooping Cranes migrate from Canada to spend winter in the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. “Port A,” as the locals say, is also known for its Texas SandFest in April, the largest beach sand sculpture competition in America. This is an ideal spot for a family getaway.

2. Galveston Island 

Low tide on Galveston beach.
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Timothy L Barnes.

Galveston Island is one of the best beaches in Texas with 32 miles of beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Along with the popular beaches, you get all the Victorian architecture and attractions like Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark. The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier is a must with its rides, midway games, restaurants, and shops.

Galveston Island State Park is all gussied up after a $10 million renovation to the beach, which includes new campsites, a new beach hiking trail, and a boardwalk. For history buffs, Galveston is the birthplace of Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S.

3. South Padre Island 

Beautiful Beach View at South Padre Island with Wooden Pier in Distance
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Devon S.

You'll find your sweet spot on South Padre Island if you love the shore and music. Live music is plentiful, whether beachside concerts or bayside performances. You won't have to look hard to find a place to dance, dance, dance. When hunger calls, you have choices from simple to upscale restaurants. Play water sports or ride a horse on the beach. If you're in a quiet mood, take a yoga class or get a massage to complete your vacation.

4. Matagorda Beach 

Matagorda Bay, texas beach sunset
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Damon Rushing.

Want an off-the-beaten-path water destination? Look no further than Matagorda Beach, a nice surprise between Galveston and Corpus Christi. This fishing village has two great things going for it. The main beach stretches for miles and has picnic areas and Jetty Park, which has the benefit of being where the Colorado River and the Gulf of Mexico join. Enjoy the serenity and seclusion. To experience this piece of paradise, you'll need a boat or kayak.

5. Mustang Island State Park 

Mustang Island at Corpus Christi
Image Credit: Shutterstock/John Paul Guel.

If Port Aransas is too busy for your liking, just south of Port A is Mustang Island State Park. It has over 4,000 acres of beachfront. You can drive on the beach, and there are specific beach sites you can camp on. That's in addition to swimming, surfing, fishing, kayaking, and having a sandcastle-making competition with your friends and family. Bird watching is at a premium during spring and fall migrations.

6. McGee Beach 

high tide and beach flooding portents sea level rise, McGee Beach, Corpus Christi,
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Frank G Cornish.

With McGee Beach, you get a twofer. You get one of the best beaches in Texas, and you're still close to the city. You can fish off the jetties, work on your tan, play volleyball, jet ski, and be minutes away from restaurants and live entertainment. Because you typically won't find seaweed, McGee is also ideal for swimming.

7. Whitecap Beach 

A beautiful soft and fine sandy beach along the gulf coast of South Padre Island, Texas
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Cheri Alguire.

Yes, you can see white sand in Texas. This beach, located in South Padre Island, is aptly named Whitecap Beach because of its fine, powdery white sand. Whitecap is beloved for its surfing, kiteboarding, horseback riding, and fishing.

8. Crystal Beach 

Aerial view of Crystal Beach, in Galveston County, Texas, United States
Image Credit: Shutterstock/Dr-Harsha Vardhan Reddy.

Enjoy seven miles of beach in the Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston County. There are plenty of great houses to rent for your getaway. It's a favorite of mine. My sisters, their husbands, a niece, her dogs, two nephews, one with his family, had a great weekend in a house that was a short walk to the shore.

Fishing is a thing there. My nephew suited up and had all the gear known for fishing. The little one splashed on the beach. This was in November. You can get those warm beach days even in November in Texas. We gathered for a 50th birthday celebration at the beach and had just as much fun as we would have had we been in the Caribbean.