10 Best Beach Towns in Texas: Coastal Towns & Cities

Texas is not famous for its beaches but it certainly is a haven for all beachgoers with the best coastal towns and cities waiting to be your next adventure.

With delicious plates of seafood, sandy coastline, salty ocean breeze, the sound of waves, and southern hospitality, Texas coastal towns and cities are just the perfect vacation spots to relax and enjoy.

From Galveston Island to the Padre Island National Seashore we’ve got you covered with the following list of the 10 best beach towns in Texas for you to consider on your next trip. We even added hotels and some additional things to do in the beach towns listed below.

Below you will also find a map of all the best beach locations listed in this article so you can see where each area sits on the map.

Map of Beach Towns & Cities

10. Freeport

Freeport in Texas

Freeport, a small town that is an hour’s drive from Houston, is most famous for its Surfside Beach. Surfside beach as the name suggests, is a perfect surfing spot in Texas. Aside from the watersport activities that you can do on the beach, the inviting miles of golden sand with picnic tables by the beach is a hard-to-refuse invitation for a vacation.

Aside from the excellent beaches, this town has two marinas and the Brazos River offering amazing fishing spots.

You can even take a walk or pedal on your bike along the Blue Water Highway for pelicans and seagulls sightseeing.

The coastal area also has a national marine sanctuary that is a premier diving destination with local historical museums, wetlands trails, and bird observatories

Best Freeport Hotels

  • Days Inn by Wyndham Freeport – a family-friendly inn that offers comfy beds and well-maintained rooms. This inn also has free breakfast on the go, free parking, and free wifi. Book here.
  • Freeport Extended Stay Studios – offers clean guestrooms with kitchens perfect for extended stays. Book here.

9. Kemah

Kemah boardwalk in Texas

Kemah is a Texan beach town known for its iconic Boardwalk. Aside from swimming and watersports that you can indulge in this town, there is a variety of fun entertainment that you can enjoy on the boardwalk like roller coaster rides, shopping, and even arcade games.

Kemah also has the Clear Lake Park with a children’s play area, picnic tables, fishing spots, and local flora and fauna. If you’d like to go on a hike there is Armand Bayou Nature Center that you can visit.

There are museums around town perfect to include in your side trip. Museums in the town include Old Railroad Station Museum, Bay Area Museum, and Lone Star Flight Museum.

Best Kemah Hotels

  • Kemah Boardwalk Inn – a three-star hotel with an amazing ocean view, this inn is near the famous Kemah Boardwalk. Kemah Boardwalk Inn has an outdoor pool, with free wifi, and free parking. Book here.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Houston Kemah – also a three-star hotel that is great for families with free wifi and free parking. Book here.

Things to do in Kemah, Texas

  • Nasa Space Center Tickets – only 11.3 km from Kemah, you can indulge in the wonders of a space voyage and learn exciting things about the number one attraction for international visitors in Texas. Book tickets here.

8. Port Aransas

Port Aransas, TX

Port Aransas is another one of the famous Texas beach towns. You can enjoy swimming and water activities on this beach town’s miles of sandy beaches with restaurants ready to satisfy your seafood cravings.

Port Aransas is also considered by people as the fishing capital of Texas that during summer there are fishing competitions held almost every weekend. And as you expect from what’s called the fishing capital of Texas, if you love to fish you will never be disappointed as this beach town got everything you need to spend a day out in the sea.

From kayaking to windsurfing and parasailing, this town like other beach towns in Texas offers all the exciting sea adventures that you need to experience.

If you love art, never miss visiting the several pop-art exhibits and galleries around town. And if you would want to get a glimpse of the past of Port Aransas, you can drop by Port Aransas Museum and Chape on the Dunes, the oldest church on the Island.

Best Port Aransas Hotels

  • Island Hotel Port Aransas – a family-friendly 2-star hotel with an outdoor pool near Port Aransas Beach with free on-the-go breakfast, free parking, and free wifi. Book here.
  • Captain’s Quarters Inn – pet-friendly 2-star hotel and also has an outdoor pool. This hotel also offers free on-the-go breakfast, free wifi, and free parking. Book here.

Things to do in Port Aransas, Texas

  • Party Cruise in Port Aransas – You can enjoy an afternoon or evening cruise with the majestic view of Port Aransas while indulging in a relaxing drink. The boat is manned by a professional captain. Book tour here.
  • Glowing Kayak Tour Port Aransas – This magical experience on kayaks with glowing led lights is a must experience adventure. You can even choose the color of the lights out of the available seven different colors. Book tour here.

7. Port Arthur

Port Arthur, TX beach destination

Port Arthur is a texas beach destination you don’t want to miss with its unforgettable natural beaches, salty sea breeze, fresh seafood, and a variety of outdoor adventures like sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. This city is also rich in Texas history and culture.

The city is home to several attractions that include the USS Texas, the Sabine Pass Lighthouse, and the McFaddin-Ward House. The USS Texas is a museum ship and was the first battleship of the United States Navy that was propelled by oil-fired turbines.

Immerse yourself in the wonders of nature by visiting Sea Rim State Park where there is plenty of wildlife of all types to see on the surrounding marshlands and beaches.

Best Port Arthur Hotels

  • Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Port Arthur – a 2-star hotel that offers free onsite parking, free wifi, and free breakfast on the go. Book here.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott Port Arthur – pets are allowed with extra charge, this 3-star hotel also offers free parking and free wifi. Book here.

6. Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach in Texas

Crystal Beach is one of the best beach towns on the Texas coast located in the Bolivar Peninsula boasts a 27- mile stretch of beaches between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The small beach town vibe of Crystal beach offers plenty of swimming, fishing, and birding opportunities.

If you want a beach vacation away from the city’s noise, Crystal Beach is a must experience for you as it is separated from the main island.

There are no restaurants and grocery stores in Crystal Beach so make sure to bring your needed supplies. Though, there are shops for souvenirs and tropical clothing.

Best Crystal Beach Hotels

  • Boardwalk – there are 32 condos that you can choose from to stay in on this accommodation in Crystal Beach. Book here.

5. North Padre Island

North Padre Island in Texas

North Padre Island is home to lovely beaches where you can enjoy fun-filled fishing, picnics, and seashell picking.

The most interesting thing that you should experience on this island is to watch baby Kemps Ridley sea turtles being released into the ocean. As part of Padre Island National Seashore, the state park system protects the turtle nests on the shores of North Padre Island.

As one of the best Texas beach towns, you can also go surfing, windsurfing, and do shipwreck-spotting on this island. Expect to witness local events and festivals are held on this sandy beach located north.

Best North Padre Island Hotels

  • Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham Corpus Christi/N.Padre Island – this hotel is just walking distance away from the beach with a free breakfast buffet, free parking, and free wifi. Book here.
  • Best Western Padre Island – This hotel has an outdoor pool and is best for families. Book here.

Things to do in North Padre Island, Texas

  • Glowing Kayak Tour Corpus Christi – North Padre Island – there will be a tour guide in with you on your visit to several unique landmarks on the Texas coast inside a glowing kayak. You can choose what led light color you want to use on your kayak tour. Book tour here.

4. Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi - best beach city in Texas

Corpus Christi is one of the best beach cities in the Texas Gulf Coast that can be visited all year round. Unlike the small beach towns, this city’s population is over 300,000 and the miles of sandy beaches can become crowded easily so be sure to find a spot quickly when you visit for a beach vacation.

This lovely beach city has its share of important conservation areas and there is even a Texas State Aquarium that you can visit in the area.

This coastal city offers a lot of activities including visits to the Texas Surf Museum, SS Science Museum, Art Center, and USS Lexington Museum.

There are also a variety of restaurants in Corpus Christi where you can enjoy delectable foods for a memorable vacation.

Best Corpus Christi Hotels

  • Omni Corpus Christi Hotel – this 4-star hotel offers the best accommodation you can get with two restaurants near Corpus Christi Marina. Book here.
  • Comfort Suites Near Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi – this hotel with an outdoor pool offers free weekday buffet breakfast, free wifi, and free parking. Book here.

Things to do in Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Corpus Christi Walking Ghost Tour – never miss the chance to be on a historical walk around the city’s famous locations where you can listen to ghost stories, folklore, legends, and history attached to each site. Book tour here.
  • The Crazy Corpus Christi Scavenger Hunt – the creative challenge and immersive cultural experience of discovering hidden gems and completing missions will surely make your trip one of the most memorable adventures. Book tour here.

3. Rockport

Rockport beach town in Texas

Rockport is a Texas beach getaway that has the first one-mile blue wave beach in Texas which means that it offers the cleanest beach that you can find among the beach towns. There are public restrooms, picnic areas, barbeque grills for your beach meals, and several swimming areas but no pets are not allowed on Rockport beach.

Aside from enjoying the pristine beaches, you can also do sightseeing of shorebirds in all shapes and sizes in Aransas Wildlife Refuge. You can also do jet skiing and fishing in the area. There are also excellent restaurants around this lovely beach town to satisfy your hunger pangs.

For cultural attractions, Rockport has the Rockport Center for Arts and Texas Maritime Museum. And if you’d like your trip to have an additional touch of history, you can go to the Fulton Mansion.

Best Rockport Hotels

  • Lighthouse Inn At Aransas Bay – this waterfront hotel in Rockport has an outdoor pool and a restaurant. It offers a great family stay with a free buffet breakfast and free parking. Book here.
  • Harbour Inn– This pet-friendly motel is connected to a shopping inn and is near Rockport Beach Park. Book here.

Things to do in Rockport, Texas

  • Glowing Kayak Tour Rockport – you can also enjoy a glowing kayak tour in Rockport just as what other beach towns offer. Book tour here.

2. South Padre Island

South Padre Island in Texas

South Padre Island is considered the sandcastle capital of the world offering excellent tropical beach destinations and also spring break haven for college students. Located at the southern tip of Texas, this Island is your perfect vacation spot with a lot of activities for families to enjoy.

For swimming and water activities, among the best beaches where you can bask in the sunny skies and salty sea breeze are Barracuda Cove Beach, Beach Access, and Dolphin Cove Beach. There are boating facilities, picnic sites, and fishing spots in Isla Blanca Part.

Other must-do activities on this South Texas island include sport fishing, horseback riding, kite surfing, deep-sea fishing, parasailing, and of course sandcastle building.

Uncover the diverse wildlife of the South Padre Island beach by joining in birdwatching and dolphin-watching activities.

Visiting South Padre Island, you don’t have to worry about your vacation food as there are many restaurants around the island. Several restaurants even offer delicious Mexican cuisines like tacos, ceviche, and nachos.

If you prefer a more relaxed vacation, you can visit the Island from September to February before college students flock to the island. If you want a more upbeat atmosphere and are a fan of large music festivals then March is the perfect month to join in the large flock of visitors.

Best South Padre Island Hotels

  • Courtyard by Marriott South Padre Island – This 3-star hotel has an outdoor pool, with free wifi, free parking, and offers great stays for families. Book here.
  • La Copa Inn Beach Hotel – Also a 3-star hotel with an outdoor pool and has La Copa Cabana Grill Restaurant offering American cuisines. Book here.

Things to do in South Padre Island, Texas

  • Parasailing Adventure South Padre Island – this activity is a fun-filled adventure that will give you a fantastic view of the island from above adding flair to your Texas style beach vacation. Book here.
  • Eco and Dolphin Watch Tour of South Padre Island – do not miss watching the fun-loving dolphins around the island. Book here.

1. Galveston

Galveston - best beach town in Texas

Galveston Texas beach town has 32 miles of Gulf coast shores for you to explore in your vacation. This town is among the best Texas beaches for families with seven wonderful beaches to choose from. As one of the most popular beach destinations, visitors flock to Galveston to experience the lovely coastal town atmosphere mixed with the splendor of the big island city.

There are a lot of activities you can do. If you are up for carnival rides, fried food, and majestic sunset views then you have to visit Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. If you’d like to go down memory lane and learn something new about the past, you have Railroad Museum, the Texas Seaport Museum, and The Lone Star Flight to include in your trip.

There is Galveston Island State Park an excellent perfect place to enjoy nature with its hiking trails, swimming spots, and campground. You can also spend a day at Moody Gardens with their world-class aquarium, 3D Tour, and living rainforest.

If you’d like to immerse yourself in the town’s culture, you can go around town on your bike to explore the charming boardwalk and Victorian houses. Galveston has even been considered as one of the best coastal towns in Texas to retire.

Other activities that you can do in Galveston are kayaking, sports fishing, wave surfing, beach camping, dolphin sightseeing, and horseback riding.

Best Galveston Hotels

  • Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa, and Convention Center – this is a fabulous 4-star hotel offering a full-service spa, connected to a convention center and as the name entails, near Moody Garden. Book here.
  • The Tremont House – This 3.5-star hotel has 3.5-star 2 bars/lounges and is near Port of Galveston Cruise Terminal. Book here.

Things to do in Galveston, Texas

  • Historic Galveston Ghost Tour – step up your beach vacation in Texas by exploring the spooky and mysterious mansions while learning about the history of the local haunted houses. Book tour here.
  • Dolphin Sightseeing Tour in Galveston with a Guide – Galveston is near the Gulf of Mexico that is teeming with dolphins and viewing these playful creatures is a great way to spend your vacation. Book tour here.

Your best Texas beach vacation awaits you and having a list of all the best clean beaches in Texas to swim, relax, and explore will guide you to make your trip most memorable.

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!