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10 Best Places For BEACH CAMPING In Texas 🏖

Leave your troubles behind.

Hear the sounds of the ocean and relax.

These beachfront camping spots in Texas will give you that sense of bliss that you’ve been waiting for.

If you want to save a few bucks you’re going to want to read #5 on the list (it’s free!).

Make sure you stick around to the end where we outline the top picks for different categories!

Is your favorite place on the list?

🚨 Always take precautions when swimming in the waters of the Gulf Coast. Always pay attention to any local health and safety instructions or alerts and check local conditions before traveling.

1. South Padre Island

South Padre Island, a beloved beachfront paradise in Texas, offers a vibrant camping experience with its long stretches of sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

South Padre Island, Texas

Camping Facilities

The Island provides numerous camping options, including simpler tent sites to more developed full-service RV spots at places like the South Padre Island KOA.

Make reservations ahead of time to secure a place, especially during the busy spring and summer months. 

Facilities can include well-maintained restrooms, hot showers, and picnic areas with BBQ pits.

But facilities will vary between campgrounds.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

Enjoy a variety of activities like swimming, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. 

Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy bay fishing or deep-sea excursions. 

Additionally, explore the Laguna Madre Nature Trail for a scenic hike and birdwatching opportunities.

Nearby Attractions

Visit the nearby Sea Turtle, Inc. to learn about sea turtle rescue, or check out the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. 

South Padre Island can get busy but this also means that there’s lots of local amenities.

There are plenty of restaurants in the area and shops for anything you’d need, making everything conveniently accessible.

2. Padre Island National Seashore

Discover the serene beauty of Padre Island National Seashore, a prime spot for beachfront camping in Texas. 

padre island national seashore

On the Gulf of Mexico, this location offers an unspoiled coastline perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Camping Facilities

Padre Island features a variety of camping options including tent sites and RV parking, ensuring a comfortable stay close to nature. 

Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons.

It has reasonable fees and amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic areas.

Be aware that there are no hookups here.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

Engage in a range of activities like swimming in the Gulf, fishing for local species, hiking scenic dune trails, and birdwatching for migratory species.

The seashore is also known for its sea turtle hatchling releases, a unique attraction that draws visitors from across the globe.

Nearby Attractions

Explore nearby attractions such as Mustang Island State Park.

Local amenities include charming seafood restaurants and shops in nearby Corpus Christi, providing everything you need for a memorable stay.

3. Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park, located on Mustand Island, offers a scenic escape with over five miles of beachfront.

It’s ideal for camping enthusiasts who love the sound of waves and the feel of sand between their toes.

It provides the serenity of being in a state park while still being close to amenities in Port Aransas.

Camping Facilities

The park offers both tent and RV camping with water and electric hookups available. 

The campsites with electricity are about 400 yards from the water with sand dunes between the campsites and the ocean.

The primitive campsites are on the beach itself.

Reservations can be made online, and the state park campsite includes essential amenities such as modern restrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic areas with grills for a comfortable stay.

If you want slightly more amenities you can opt for a RV park between Port Aransas and Mustang Island State Park.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

At Mustang Island, you can enjoy swimming in the warm Gulf waters but do so at your own risk as there are no lifeguards.

You can also enjoy fishing off the coast or paddling in a kayak along the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail.

Bird watching is also popular in this area, especially during spring and fall.

The park’s relatively undeveloped beaches provide a great backdrop for long, leisurely walks or shell collecting.

Nearby Attractions

Just a short drive from the park, you can explore the charming town of Port Aransas with its local shops and seafood restaurants. 

For more nature adventures, visit the nearby Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, known for its whooping crane sightings.

4. Port Aransas

Port Aransas, a delightful beachfront town on Mustang Island, is known for its laid-back atmosphere and beautiful sandy beaches.

It’s a top choice for campers looking to unwind and soak up the Texas sun while having access to plenty of amenities.

Camping Facilities

Camping in Port Aransas ranges from tent sites nestled in dunes to full-service RV parks like the ‘On the Beach RV Park’, which offers extensive amenities. 

You’ll find facilities equipped with showers, restrooms, and picnic areas, with most spots just a short walk from the beach. 

Reservations are advisable, especially during the busy summer and spring break periods.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

The beaches of Port Aransas are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surf fishing. 

Kayaking and bird watching are also popular, thanks to the nearby Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center, which offers a chance to see diverse species in their natural habitat.

Nearby Attractions

Explore local attractions such as the Port Aransas Museum and the historic Lydia Ann Lighthouse.

The Lydia Ann Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse on the Texas Gulf Coast and the oldest standing structure in the Corpus Christi/Port Aransas area. 

For dining and shopping, the charming town center offers a variety of seafood restaurants and unique shops, ensuring there’s always something to do off the sand.

5. Magnolia Beach

Magnolia Beach, located on the calm Lavaca Bay, is a hidden gem for beachfront camping in Texas. 

Known for its long, shell-rich shores, this spot is ideal for campers looking for a quiet retreat with the simplicity of drive-up camping.

Camping Facilities

At Magnolia Beach, you can camp right on the beach for free, with no reservations required, making it perfect for spontaneous trips. 

The area offers basic amenities such as public restrooms and outdoor showers, plus covered picnic tables for comfortable seaside dining.

There are no hookups at the public beaches though so you could look at specific RV Parks in the area that may offer more amenities.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

This beach is perfect for swimming in shallow waters, fishing directly from the shore, and birdwatching along the coast. 

The flat beach also provides a great surface for beachcombing and evening strolls under the stars.

Nearby Attractions

Venture into the nearby town of Port Lavaca to explore local shops and seafood restaurants. 

If you’re into history then there’s also the Calhoun County Museum provides insights into the local history and culture.

6. Matagorda Beach

Matagorda Beach, with its expansive, wild coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, offers a secluded beachfront camping experience that’s perfect for those seeking both adventure and tranquility.

Camping Facilities

Matagorda Beach allows drive-on beach camping, offering a thrilling way to set up right by the waves. 

You’ll need to purchase a permit to camp, which you can easily do at local convenience stores. 

The camping amenities include portable restrooms at various points along the beach and picnic areas for family gatherings.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

At Matagorda, you can enjoy swimming in the Gulf’s blue waters, surf fishing, and birdwatching for coastal species. 

When swimming take caution and check the conditions beforehand because currents can get strong.

The beach’s remote nature makes it an excellent spot for stargazing away from city lights.

Nearby Attractions

Explore nearby natural attractions such as the Matagorda Bay Nature Park, which offers guided tours and kayak rentals. 

The town of Matagorda provides quaint dining options and shops where you can pick up supplies or local souvenirs.

7. Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach, near Freeport, is renowned for its relaxed vibe and beautiful, soft sandy beaches. 

This makes it an inviting spot for campers looking for both sun and sea.

Camping Facilities

You can set up your tent or park your RV right on the beach at Surfside, with easily accessible campsites providing a perfect ocean view. 

But remember that vehicular traffic is only permitted on the beach east of Hwy 332 (drive-on beach).

All vehicles on the beach require a permit (annual beach pass).

Camping is permitted on the county beach located east of the city limits at Beach Access Entrance 1.

Camping is not permitted on the beach within the Village of Surfside Beach boundaries. 

The area features basic amenities such as public restrooms and showers. 

While reservations aren’t required, it’s wise to arrive early during peak season to secure a spot.

You can also choose to stay at an RV resort too for more amenities.

Useful information:

Recreational Activities

Enjoy a variety of beach activities, including swimming, boogie boarding, and surf fishing. 

For birdwatchers, the nearby Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge offers excellent opportunities to observe migratory birds in their natural habitat.

Nearby Attractions

After a day on the beach, explore local attractions like the Freeport Historical Museum or take a short drive to Lake Jackson for dining and shopping. 

For more adventure, the Quintana Neotropical Bird Sanctuary is just a few miles away, offering another excellent spot for nature enthusiasts.

8. Galveston Island State Park

Galveston Island State Park, offers a perfect mix of beachfront bliss and outdoor adventure, making it an ideal spot for camping enthusiasts of all ages.

Camping Facilities

The park provides a range of camping options, from tent sites to RV hookups for those looking for a bit more comfort. 

Reservations can be made online through the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, and amenities such as clean restrooms, hot showers, and picnic areas are available.

Useful Information:

Recreational Activities

Here, you can enjoy swimming and sunbathing on the sandy beaches or try your hand at fishing and kayaking. 

The park’s extensive network of hiking and biking trails offers great opportunities to explore local wildlife and scenic views.

Nearby Attractions

Beyond the park, you can explore historic Galveston for its charming shops and excellent seafood restaurants.

galveston pier

You can also enjoy places like the Moody Gardens and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. 

galveston aerial photo

These attractions provide fun and learning experiences just a short drive from the park.

9. Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach on Bolivar Peninsula offers a laid-back beachfront camping experience with miles of open beach.

It’s perfect for those who enjoy a less crowded atmosphere.

Camping Facilities

Here, you can drive and park your RV or pitch a tent right on the beach. 

You can camp anywhere on the 27 miles of of beaches on the Bolivar Peninsula but remember to have your annual Bolivar Beach Parking Pass.

No reservations are needed, which makes it ideal for spontaneous trips. 

Basic amenities such as portable restrooms are scattered along the beach, and many areas come equipped with picnic tables.

For more amenities check out specific RV parks and resorts like Camp Margaritaville.

Useful Information

Recreational Activities

Crystal Beach is a great spot for fishing, swimming, and beachcombing. 

You can also take your vehicle for a drive along the shore, a unique feature that is a favorite among visitors.

Nearby Attractions

Visit the nearby Fort Travis Seashore Park for a taste of history by the coast.

10. Sea Rim State Park

At Sea Rim State Park, located on the upper Texas coastline, you’ll find 5 miles of pristine beachfront ideal for camping and escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. 

This hidden gem combines marshes and beaches, offering a unique natural setting.

Camping Facilities

Sea Rim State Park offers direct beach camping where you can set up your tent right on the sand, or park your RV with stunning ocean views. 

Advanced reservations are possible via the Texas Parks website, with affordable fees. 

You’ll have access to amenities including restrooms, hookups, rinse off showers, and picnic areas to enhance your stay.

Note that the primitive campsites on the beach are non-reservable.

Useful Information

Recreational Activities

Dive into activities such as kayaking through marsh canals, birdwatching for rare coastal species, and fishing along the Gulf shore. 

Don’t miss the guided nature walks available during the summer months, where you can learn about the local wildlife and ecosystems.

Nearby Attractions

Just a short drive away, visit the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, a perfect spot for wildlife enthusiasts. 

In nearby Port Arthur, enjoy a variety of dining options and local shops for any last-minute camping needs or souvenirs.

Top Picks 🏅

Best for Wildlife

Sea Rim State Park: Explore the marshes by kayak and enjoy birdwatching for rare coastal species in their natural marsh habitat.

Mustang Island State Park: The park is a hotspot for birdwatching, especially for migratory species, making it a prime location for nature lovers.

Best for Families

South Padre Island: Offers a variety of family-friendly activities like windsurfing and kiteboarding, along with educational experiences at Sea Turtle, Inc.

Galveston Island State Park: The park provides a safe environment with calm beaches and a range of recreational activities suitable for children of all ages.

Best for Fishing

Port Aransas: Known for its excellent surf fishing and nearby opportunities for deep-sea fishing excursions.

Matagorda Beach: Offers thrilling surf fishing right from the beach and the remote setting enhances the fishing experience with less crowded spots.

Most Affordable

Magnolia Beach: Free camping right on the beach with basic amenities makes this one of the most budget-friendly options.

Best for Peace and Quiet

Crystal Beach: Known for its laid-back atmosphere and less crowded beach, it’s ideal for those seeking tranquility.

Matagorda Beach: Its expansive, wild coastline offers a secluded experience, perfect for finding a quiet spot away from the crowds.


South Padre Island: Praised for its crystal-clear waters and pristine sand, making it an ideal clean beach destination.

Crystal Beach: Recognized for its open and less crowded beaches that are well-maintained, providing a clean and enjoyable beach experience.

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Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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