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9 Best Vacation Destinations on the Texas Coast

Texas has thousands of miles of coastline, and that means there are many spots worth visiting, from sandy beaches to eclectic coastal towns. Taking a vacation on the Texas coast is a great idea year-round. Teeming with wildlife, full of beaches, and stocked with fun and entertaining cities, the Texas coast is the perfect vacation destination.

No matter if you want to stay in a 5-star hotel, a beachfront property, or a tent on the sand, there is a vacation destination on the Texas coast perfect for you. You will definitely find relaxation and a newfound appreciation for the Gulf of Mexico at these top vacation destinations on the Texas coast.

Padre Island South Padre Island
Credit: South Padre Island by © Amy Nicolai | Dreamstime.com

Padre Island

Padre Island, both the south and north portions of the shore, is one of the most popular beach destinations in the state of Texas. Now, do keep in mind that South Padre Island is known as a popular spring break party destination for college co-eds. However, there are stretches of this 113-mile-long barrier island, which has 33 miles of beautiful beaches, that are perfect for a quiet oasis. As a matter of fact, Padre Island is actually the world’s longest barrier island. There are a number of lodging options on the island, from beach houses to hotels. A number of different people flock to this Texas coast getaway, from birdwatchers to surfers to partygoers.

Galveston Island Galveston Island, Texas
Credit: Galveston Island, Texas by © Mark Cunningham | Dreamstime.com

Galveston Island

Fifty miles south of Houston lies Galveston Island. Now, Galveston is one of the most popular beaches on the Texas coast. However, with both an eclectic city and spots of beach that are sure to please, this Texas coast destination is still worth a stay. While in Galveston, make sure to hit up popular tourist destinations like Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Galveston. Take a stroll down Galveston’s Seawall, which is 10.4 miles and is known as one of the longest continuous sidewalks in the world.

Port Aransas Port Aransas Beach
Credit: Port Aransas Beach by © Bobby J Norris | Dreamstime.com

Port Aransas

Port Aransas is a laid-back destination on the Texas coast that is the perfect destination for beach dwellers wanting to avoid the crowds found in Corpus Christi and South Padre. Located on Mustang Island, Port Aransas may not have a 5-star hotel on the island, but there are plenty of beach house rentals that will give the seclusion that should be expected from a vacation on “Port A.” Expect yellow sand beaches on this Texas island. With three golf courses, options for deep sea fishing excursions, and loads of places to bird-watch, Port Aransas is truly a special getaway on the Texas coast.

Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, Texas
Credit: Corpus Christi, Texas by © Sean Pavone | Dreamstime.com

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is the largest city on the Texas coast. This coastal destination is a great option for vacationers wanting both a city feel along with a beach escape. When it comes to lodging in Corpus, this city is not lacking, with over 80 hotels along with vacation rentals and campgrounds. Vacationers should come hungry to Corpus Christi. This city is packed with great restaurants, more than 500 actually. Definitely check out Corpus Christi’s beaches, but also don’t miss out on city attractions like the Texas State Aquarium and the Selena Museum, which showcases the life and death of Texas singer Selena.

Surfside Beach, Surfside Surfside TX
Credit: Surfside TX by Roy Luck via Flickr

Surfside Beach, Surfside

Surfers and shell enthusiasts flock to Surfside Beach to catch the perfect wave or find the most beautiful seashell. The Texas coast may not be known for its massive surf, but Texas surfers will find an array of fun surf spots in the state, especially at Surfside. Access to Surfside Beach is only allowed with a beach pass, which can be purchased at a number of businesses close to the beach. There are 27 miles of beach, so you’re sure to find a peaceful spot. With over 600 different types of shells that wash up on the shore at Surfside, make sure to grab a token to remember this coastal Texas paradise.

Boca Chica, Brownsville Boca Chica
Credit: Boca Chica by Vince Smith via Flickr

Boca Chica, Brownsville

Brownsville may not be known as a popular beach getaway, but Boca Chica State Park in Brownsville will make you change your mind about this coastal Texas town. This state park is perfect for seasoned campers since the park actually has no established infrastructure. If all you are looking for is a quiet beach to set up your tent, and you don’t mind living without basic amenities, then Boca Chica is the spot for you. Bring your fishing gear along because Boca Chica is also a great spot to catch dinner to roast on the fire.

Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula
Credit: Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula by © Elizabeth Waltermire-Jones | Dreamstime.com

Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula

For those who want to escape the crowds in Galveston, take the ferry to Crystal Beach. Crystal Beach has a number of great beachfront rental properties for lengthy stays or family vacations. Expect soft golden sand on this beach that isn’t totally littered with tourists or day dwellers. Birdwatchers will especially enjoy the bird-watching nearby on Bolivar Flats. Driving on the beach is allowed and makes for a great time to spend a sunny afternoon.

Rockport Beach, Rockport Rockport
Credit: Rockport by StuSeeger via Flickr

Rockport Beach, Rockport

The town of Rockport offers an eclectic downtown complete with shops and art galleries along with a relaxing beach park perfect for a coastal getaway. The beach itself is more down-to-earth since it doesn’t have as many crowds as other beach destinations on this list. The water here is quite calm, so it makes for an easy-going swim that is perfect for the kids. Since this is a beach park, the beach is regularly maintained and cleaned, so visitors should expect a spotless oasis.

Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Matagorda Matagorda Bay
Credit: Matagorda Bay by Damon Rushing/shutterstock.com

Matagorda Bay Nature Park, Matagorda

Matagorda Bay Nature Park is located in Matagorda about a 1.5-hour drive from Houston and offers a unique perspective of Texas’ coast. This nature park is 1,600 acres and is the spot where the Colorado and the Gulf of Mexico meet. Expect to see green grassy dunes and bronze-sanded beaches. Camping, with both tent sites and RV spots, is the way to experience Matagorda Bay Nature Park. This area is also known as one of the best birding spots not only in the state but the nation.

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