Alyssa has been writing about exciting travel topics for Trips to Discover since 2013. After living the big city life in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Alyssa sold the bulk of her possessions and became a digital nomad, living full-time in her camper and working from wherever she could find an outlet and an internet connection for her laptop.
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If you’re looking for a beach camping experience in the U.S., consider options beyond just the East Coast and West Coast. On America’s southern border, it’s fun to camp along the Gulf of Mexico to enjoy some sand, sun, and a laid-back atmosphere.
From state and national park campgrounds to private RV resorts with lots of amenities, here are some of the best places to camp along the Texas Gulf Coast.
As part of the National Park Service system, Padre Island National Seashore is a unique and beautiful area that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre. It spans 66 miles of coast, dunes, tidal flats, and other landscapes while protecting nesting grounds for hundreds of bird species. Camping is allowed at this park in five areas: Malaquite Campground, Bird Island Basin Campground, primitive camping at both North Beach and South Beach, and Yarborough Pass Primitive Camping. All of these camping areas are available year-around on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no RV hookups at any of them, but you can use the RV dump station and water fill station onsite.
Another good place to camp by the shore is at the Padre Balli Park on the north end of Padre Island. This is a county park spanning 374.5 acres and that is open year-round. It has 54 paved campsites with water and electric hookups. There are no sewer hookups, but there’s a dump station nearby. Tent camping is also allowed here in addition to RV camping. There is a bathhouse and a fresh rinse shower to use when you come back from the beach. Pets are allowed at the campground. Other amenities at the park are a restaurant, lighted fishing pier, picnic tables, and BBQ pits.
As the name suggests, On the Beach RV Park gives you easy access to the beach and is on Mustang Island. All of the sites here have full hookups and come with free Wi-Fi and cable TV. It’s a family-friendly place to stay with public bathhouses, a fish cleaning area, and nice landscaping. The RV park has been a family-run business since 1974 and is in a great location for enjoying delicious seafood and exploring the nearby Charlie’s Pasture Nature Preserve for hiking and biking. The campground hosts movie nights, arts and crafts sessions, dinners, and other events in the winter. Fishing, birdwatching, and boating are popular activities in the area.
The Dellanera RV Park offers a nice place to stay when you want to explore Galveston and be right by the beach. This camping destination sits next to the beach with 65 full RV hookup sites. The sites have picnic tables and barbecue pits, while other perks are the pavilion with showers, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, and gift shop. Prices vary depending on whether you choose an oceanfront site, lagoon side site, back-in site, or pull-through site.
There are some lovely state parks in this part of Texas that offer camping, such as Mustang Island State Park. You’ll find over five miles of coastline here to enjoy the 48 water/electric campsites and 50 drive-up primitive campsites. The water/electric sites are about 1/3 mile from the beach. The facilities include portable toilets along the beach and full restrooms with showers by the campground. It’s fun to check out the paddling trail with your kayak here and also head to the beach for swimming, fishing, picnicking, and birdwatching during the spring and fall migrations. The state park has a store for supplies and souvenirs and also hosts ranger programs.
At the Jamaica Beach RV Resort, you’ll be right across the street from the beach with views of Galveston Bay and the Gulf. This RV park has 181 pull-through sites with full hookups for RVs. You can also rent a beach cottage here to enjoy a little luxury and a very comfortable stay. This camping destination is just a five-minute walk to the beach. Overall, the campground gets lots of great customer reviews and offers many amenities to make your vacation along the coast a memorable one.
Located in Rockport and near Corpus Christi, the Wilderness Oaks RV Resort has full hookup 30/50-amp RV sites, a swimming pool, clubhouse, and planned social activities. It’s a prime place to be for outdoor enthusiasts looking to spend their time boating, fishing, and going to the beach. Guests who stay here can use the Wi-Fi, cable TV, and picnic tables at the campground. In the summer, there are family activities like ice cream socials and campfires with s’mores. In the winter, you can participate in a potluck, karaoke, craft classes, and holiday dinners.
While exploring the Gulf Coast, consider staying at the Gulf Waters Beach Front RV Resort right next to Mustang Island Beach. There are 158 RV sites here with an average size of 40 feet by 80 feet. The sites have 30/50-amp power, sewer, water, Wi-Fi, and cable TV. At the resort, there is also onsite laundry, a heated swimming pool, jacuzzi spa, and activity center. There is 600 feet of beachfront area along the Gulf and a boardwalk that goes over the dunes to the beach.
Enjoy a remote section of Gulf of Mexico beach when you stay at the Pioneer RV Beach Resort. This RV park has full hookup sites, Wi-Fi, cable TV, three bathhouses, laundry, and a fish cleaning station. For fun, there’s a swimming pool, hot tub, game room, and boardwalk to the beach. Guests will also have access to a dog run for their canine companions, a convenience store, and birding pond to watch the local wildlife. In addition to RV sites, there are cabins for rent too.
There’s a highly rated KOA campground in Galveston called the Galveston Island KOA Holiday that’s unique because it has its own lazy river. It’s a half-hour drive from Downtown Galveston and a nice home base for a beach vacation. Other amenities at the campground are the outdoor pool, basketball court, pickleball court, private fishing pond, horseshoes, and camping store. The pool is open year-around, and there is also a dog park onsite. There are big-rig-friendly sites here that are 20 feet wide by 60 feet long. In addition to RV sites, there are also tent sites and cabins you can rent.
Book your stay at the Coastal Breeze RV Resort to escape cold weather in the winter or have a family-friendly vacation at any time. This camping spot has a large swimming pool, dog park, volleyball court, boardwalk, and kayak launch area. There’s Wi-Fi for campers in the back-in and pull-through RV sites too. The campground has plans to add a lot more amenities too, such as a stocked fish pond, kid zone, adult pool, putting green, and yard games.
You’ll be near the beach and away from traffic noise when you stay at the Lazy Pelican RV Park. Campers here have 30/50-amp hookups, spacious 25-foot by 45-foot sites, free Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and picnic tables. The campground is on the beach side of Highway 87 and is a convenient location for fishing, cruising around in a golf cart, taking the kids to the water slide, and playing mini-golf. Outside of the RV park, fun things to do in Crystal Beach include shopping for souvenirs and beachwear, eating delicious seafood, and browsing the art galleries with works from local artists.
Sea Rim State Park is a unique coastal park with 5.2 miles of Gulf shoreline and marshlands spanning 4,000 acres. Camping is available here at the 15 campsites with utility hookups, in a rental cabin, and primitive camping on the beach. From here, it’s easy to paddle one of the trails in a kayak or canoe, go fishing, enjoy a horseback ride, and simply take a scenic walk along the Gambusia Nature Trail. You’ll need to be mindful of alligators that live in the park. The busiest time to visit is between April and July, and the beach conditions vary seasonally.