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12 Texas Beach Towns That Are TOO GOOD To Ignore 🏖

Texas is lucky to have a beautiful stretch of shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico.

But with about 367 miles of shoreline, how do you decide which coastal town to visit?!

Well, today we’ll be revealing 12 amazing Texas coastal towns that you shouldn’t ignore.

texas coastal towns google map graphic
Google Maps

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

1. Port Isabel

Where history meets the sea.

White lighthouse at Port Isabel Texas

Port Isabel is one of the best places on the Texan coast!

It’s famous for its old lighthouse, which you can climb up to see amazing views of the ocean and town.

This town is full of history and has museums like the Port Isabel Historical Museum, where you can learn about the past.

If you like fishing, you’re in luck because Port Isabel has some of the best spots around.

port isabel texas

There are also fun shops and tasty seafood restaurants to try.

It’s perfect for families who love learning and exploring, or anyone who enjoys the sea.

So, if you’re into history, beautiful views, or just want to catch some fish, Port Isabel is a great spot to visit.

💡Port Isabel (alongside South Padre Island) co-hosts the annual Texas International Fishing Tournament, one of the largest and oldest fishing tournaments in Texas.

2. South Padre Island

Sun, sand, and endless fun.

You really can’t go wrong by visiting South Padre Island.

It’s famous for its beautiful sandy beaches where you can sunbathe, build sandcastles, or just chill by the waves.

If you love adventures, you can try kiteboarding, fishing, or even take a dolphin watching tour.

sunset south padre island

This island has some cool sea turtle rescue centers too where you can learn about turtles and see them up close.

It’s a perfect place for families looking for a beach vacation or friends wanting to have a good time.

There are also plenty of amazing seafood restaurants and fun shops to check out in the area.

💡South Padre Island hosts one of the largest sandcastle building contests in the United States. “Sandcastle Days”

3. Corpus Christi

The sparkling city by the sea

corpus christi

Corpus Christi is a big city right on the Texas coast and it’s one you should not pass up if you’re in the area.

It’s known for its USS Lexington museum, an old aircraft carrier turned into a museum, where you can explore history in a fun way.

There’s also the Texas State Aquarium, where you can see all kinds of sea creatures and learn about marine life.

corpus christi

Corpus Christi has beautiful beaches too, like McGee Beach, where you can relax or play in the sand.

It’s great for families or just about anyone who enjoys the beach.

Besides the beaches, you can enjoy hiking or bird watching at the nearby state parks.

corpus christi texas

💡 Corpus Christi holds the title as one of the windiest cities in America, making it a great place for for wind sports like sailing and kiteboarding.

4. Port Aransas

A fisherman’s paradise with sandy shores.

port aransas texas

Port Aransas is a beach lover’s dream in Texas, especially if you like nature.

This town is all about the beach, with lots of sand for sunbathing, making sandcastles, or just having a fun day by the water.

But you can also go deep-sea fishing or take a boat tour to see dolphins.

port aransas birds

If you’re into birds, Port Aransas is a great spot for bird watching, especially during migration seasons.

It’s perfect for families, fishermen, or anyone wanting to relax by the sea.

Don’t forget to check out the local shops for cool souvenirs.

Port Aransas, Texas

💡 Visit during the annual SandFest to see amazing sand sculptures by artists from all over.

5. Rockport

Art and nature in harmony.

rockport texas beach

Rockport is a quiet coastal town that’s big on charm.

It’s known for its clean beaches, like Rockport Beach, which is perfect for swimming or picnicking without the crowds.

Rockport Beach is a Blue Wave Beach so it is litter-free, has handicap accessibility, public restroom facilities, and swimmable waters.

Art lovers will enjoy the Rockport Center for the Arts, which showcases local and regional artists.

Fishing is big here too, with plenty of spots to catch a big one.

Rockport is ideal for families or anyone looking to unwind in a peaceful setting.

And don’t miss Goose Island State Park where you can see one of the most impressive trees you’ll ever see!

big tree goose island

Related Reading: There’s Nothing Quite Like This 1000+ Year Old Tree In Texas

💡 Rockport is part of the Texas Coastal Birding Trail, so keep your eyes peeled for rare birds like the whooping crane!

6. Port O’Connor

The hidden gem of Texas coastlines.

Port O’Connor is a hidden treasure on the Texas coast.

It’s a fishing paradise, where you can catch big fish like redfish and trout.

If you love being on the water, you can go kayaking or boating in the calm waters around.

Bird watchers will have a great time here, too, because there are lots of birds to see, especially at the nearby wildlife refuges.

This place is best for families who like adventures or anyone who enjoys fishing.

There are also nice spots to have a picnic or just relax by the water.

💡Every year Port O’Connor hosts the Warrior’s Weekend event which assists combat wounded veterans.

7. Matagorda

Where rivers embrace the Gulf.

Not far from Port O’Connor you have Matagorda, a peaceful beach town with lots of nature to explore.

It has beautiful beaches where you can collect shells, fish, or watch the waves.

The Matagorda Bay Nature Park is a great place for kayaking and bird watching, with lots of trails to explore.

This town is known for its quiet, laid-back vibe, making it perfect for families or anyone wanting to escape the busy city life.

You can also try your hand at fishing here, with some of the best spots along the Texas coast.

Local shops and cafes give you a taste of the area’s friendly atmosphere.

💡Matagorda is home to the annual Matagorda Bay Bird Fest so it really is a perfect place for bird watching.

8. Surfside Beach

Laid-back beaches and surfside pleasures.

Surfside Beach is a fun beach town where you can really soak up the sun.

It’s known for its beautiful sandy beaches that aren’t too crowded, making it perfect for building sandcastles or playing beach games.

If you’re into surfing or want to try it, this is a great place.

There are also spots for fishing off the piers or in the surf.

Surfside is ideal for families looking for a beach day or friends wanting to have some fun in the sun.

You’ll find some tasty seafood restaurants to try after a day at the beach.

💡 Surfside has a unique pedestrian beach where you can walk along the shore without worrying about cars like on some other Texas beaches.

It makes for a super safe and enjoyable beach experience.

9. Kemah

Boardwalk thrills and bay-side chills.

kemah boardwalk

Kemah is a super fun place on the Texas coast that’s famous for the Kemah Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk has rides, games, and places to eat, making it perfect for a family day out.

You can also go on boat tours to see the bay and maybe even spot some dolphins.

If you like walking by the water, the Kemah waterfront is lovely for that.

kemah texas

This town is great for families or anyone who loves a mix of thrill and chill by the sea.

It’s definitely known for its seafood too so make sure you try out some of the restaurants in the area.

💡 Don’t miss out on the ‘Boardwalk Beast’, a 25-minute thrill ride on Galveston Bay while cruising at speeds up to 40 mph. 

10. Galveston

Historic charm on the Gulf Coast.


Galveston is a beach city with a lot of history and fun things to do.

You can visit the historic Pleasure Pier, which has rides and games right over the water.

galveston pier

The Moody Gardens are another cool spot, with a rainforest inside a giant glass pyramid.

If you like history, check out the tall ship Elissa and the many historic homes.

Galveston is perfect for families, history buffs, or anyone looking to have a good time at the beach.

Make sure to try the shrimp here; it’s a local favorite.

💡 Did you know Galveston has one of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States outside of New Orleans? It’s a huge party every year.

11. Crystal Beach

Miles of sand with adventure in hand.

crystal beach texas sunset
Billy Metcalf Photography / Flickr

Crystal Beach is on Bolivar Peninsula and it’s a really cool place if you love the beach.

If you like driving on the beach then you’ll like it here as you can drive on the 27 miles of the shoreline on the Bolivar Peninsula.

People come to fish, have picnics, and enjoy the big, open beaches.

crystal beach texas
Adrian Beaulieu / Flickr

If you like looking at birds or want to try catching crabs, this is a great spot for you too.

It’s especially good for families who want to relax and have space to play, or friends looking for a beach adventure.

💡 If you’re into beachcombing, a cool thing about Crystal Beach is that it’s a great place to find sea shells, so keep your eyes peeled when you’re walking along the shore.

12. Port Arthur

Cultural crossroads on the Gulf.

port arthur texas

Port Arthur is a bit different because it’s not just about the beach; it has a lot of history and culture, too.

You can visit the Museum of the Gulf Coast, where you learn about famous people from the area and see cool exhibits.

port arthur texas

If you’re into bird watching, the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site is a great place to see birds and learn some history at the same time.

This town is really good for people who like learning about the past and enjoying nature.

There are also spots to fish and enjoy the water like most places on the Gulf Coast.

Port Arthur is great for families or anyone interested in Texas history and Gulf Coast culture.

💡 Port Arthur is home to one of the largest oil refineries in the United States and it’s a big part of the town’s history and economy.

Top Picks

Best for Fishing:

Most places on this list are great for fishing but you could argue that Port O’Connor, Port Aransas, and Port Isabel offer some of the best fishing opportunities.

Best Beaches:

South Padre Island and Surfside Beach are top picks for their beautiful, family-friendly beaches, with South Padre also known for its large sandcastle-building contest.

Rockport Beach is particularly good too.

Best for Families:

Galveston and Corpus Christi are perfect for family trips, offering a blend of educational attractions, beautiful beaches, and family-oriented activities.

Kemah is also a top pick for its thriving boardwalk.

Best for Wildlife:

Matagorda and Port Aransas provide rich wildlife viewing opportunities, from bird watching at Matagorda to dolphin tours in Port Aransas.

Rockport is also a top pick with Goose Island State Park nearby.

Best for Peace and Quiet:

Rockport and Surfside Beach offer tranquil retreats with their laid-back vibe and scenic beauty, making them ideal for a quiet getaway.

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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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