Your Ultimate Guide to Texas Beaches: Coastal Getaways

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Whether it’s summer, spring, or even winter, you’re likely looking for a change of scenery, particularly one with blue in it.

With over 367 miles of sandy beaches, Texas holds lots of opportunities for a vacation time well spent.

The best part is the variety of activities available on each beach that can cater to everyone’s idea of fun.

From sunbathing and swimming to horseback riding and surfing, Texan beaches are a gold mine of excursions for your next trip. Stick around to learn more about the coastal getaways.

Does Texas Have Beaches?

Located in the southeastern side of the U.S., the Lone Star state has a lot to offer, in terms of coastal lines. You can find multiple beaches lining Texas, including:

Mustang Island

You can find Mustang Island located about 30 miles east of Corpus Christi. As the island’s name suggests, it was inhabited by wild mustangs trotting the sandy shores.

Historians believe the horses came from Spaniards, or they might’ve swum from nearby shipwrecks. Either way, these mustangs are no longer present on the island.

That said, the wild horses dwindled in population by the late 1800s as more people started living on the island.

Besides that, the island has plenty of fun-filled activities worth exploring, whether you’re alone or with your family.

Some of the water sports include kayaking, paddling, and surfing. If you’d rather stay on dry land, we suggest a camping trip.

You can also unleash your inner explorer and search for dolphins, turtles, and birds in the 18-mile stretch of sand.

Padre Island National Seashore

Located off the south of Texas, you can visit the Padre Island National Seashore. The beach holds plenty of activities worth exploring with friends and family.

If you’re looking for something of value, you can try your luck at beachcombing. You might find a collection of gorgeous seashells and sea beans.

According to the National Park Service, the best time to go beachcombing is after a storm. You can collect up to a five-gallon bucket’s worth of treasure.

Just ensure that there are no living creatures in the shells. Otherwise, you’ll have to put them back.

Beachcombing aside, swimming is also an option in the Bird Island Basin recreation area or the Gulf. Take your caution since there are no lifeguards on duty in the area.

Surfside Beach

On Follet’s Island, on the coast of Galveston Bay, lies the popular family-friendly destination, Surfside Beach. It’s one of the closest beaches to Houston.

Now, you can enjoy regular beach excursions, such as sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing.

Alternatively, if you’re a water sports enthusiast, you’ll want to catch some waves or take a kayaking trip.

For a more unique beach trip, you can go for a horseback ride along the shore. You’ll probably be famished by the time you complete all the activities.

In turn, we recommend going to the Beachfront Deck Bar and Grill for a delectable seafood platter, refreshing drinks, and some lively music.

If your kids still have some energy to burn off, you can let them play on the nearby swings or volleyball courts.

Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi boasts an expansive shoreline, filled with multiple beach options. You can find choices ranging from calm waters to surf-ready waves.

The city’s beaches have several enticing activities, from horseback riding to sand sculpting lessons.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back day trip, a picnic along the beach is an ideal option. A hearty seafood meal might be more on your mind.

In that case, you’ll want to visit Rollin’ Ride Boil Co. Not only do you get to feast on a savory shrimp boil, but you get to do so next to a bonfire.

After a long day of surfing, swimming, and eating, you can tie the end of the day with a couple of heartwarming s’mores.

Rockport Beach

Rockport offers a picturesque beach scenery of a one-mile shoreline. Unlike several beaches in Texas, Rockport holds a high standard of environmental quality.

It’s been given a Blue Wave Beach certification. The beach is regularly maintained every day. That said, you can rest at one of the many cabanas and picnic pavilions along the beach.

You’ll have to pay a day-use entrance fee, but it’s worth it since you can complete multiple activities.

Rockport Beach houses a children’s recreational area, saltwater swimming lagoon, exercise stations, outdoor pavilion, and walking trails.

There’s a free section near the Bay Education Center if you don’t plan on staying too long. Overall, Rockport Beach is an ideal option for beach-goers looking for pristine waters.

Boca Chica

At the southernmost part of the Lone Star State is Boca Chica Beach. The area is public and has a free entrance from sunrise to sunset.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the beach as a portion of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Besides that, you can participate in multiple water sports activities in Boca Chica, like kiteboarding, surfing, swimming, and snorkeling.

If you’re looking for a more relaxing trip, lay a towel and bask in the quaint scenery and gentle noise of waves crashing on the shoreline.

Before going to the beach, remember to pack a sack or plastic bag to keep your trash in. There are no facilities, so you’ll need to prepare food, water, and other essentials with you.

Port Arthur

Port Arthur is about 20 minutes north of Beaumont. As a railroad town, the region is exposed to several cultural backgrounds.

One of the ways you can immerse yourself in the cultural mix is to munch on Cajun food in Reel Cajun. The restaurant is famed for its tasty crawfish bowls.

As for beach activities, you can visit Sea Rim State Park, which holds three beaches. You can drive around the west and east beaches, but the central one is for walking only.

There, rent a kayak and go on one of the paddling trails offered. Alternatively, fishing and birdwatching are also popular activities in Port Arthur.

Fortunately, you can visit the post office to ask for fishing and birdwatching tools. If there’s no one in the office, there’s a self-pay kiosk available.

Is Texas By The Ocean?

Texas borders the Gulf of Mexico, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean from the east. That said, it’s near ocean territory.

Are Texas Beaches Worth Visiting?

Beaches in Texas aren’t only for lounging and walks. The state offers multiple water sports activities, from fishing, surfing, boating, kayaking, and birding.

In turn, the beaches can appeal to a wide audience, whether you’re looking to soak up the sun or practice your surfing technique.

Why Are Texas Beaches Brown?

At first glance at the beaches, you’ll likely notice a brownish hue riddling the water. That primarily comes from rivers and other waterways feeding into the Gulf of Mexico.

They spew sediment, organic matter, and soil as they flow into the gulf, leaving brown traces. In turn, it’s not a pollution issue.

Are Texas Beaches Clear?

While beaches in Texas are usually brown due to the in-flow from surrounding waterways, some remain clear. One of the clearest beaches in Texas is on South Padre Island.

It’s located at Boca Chica State Park. You can enjoy kitesurfing, kayaking, jet skiing, and snorkeling in the clear blue waters.

Another option lies near Corpus Christi. It’s called Rockport Beach and is about a mile long. Despite offering pristine waters, the beach is calm and not surf-friendly.

Does Dallas, Texas Have A Beach?

Even though Dallas lacks a link to the gulf, you can still enjoy a beach experience in the largely metropolitan city.

For instance, you can visit Windsurf Bay Park in Lake Ray Hubbard. It has a couple of sandy beach spots, perfect for lounging around and calming walks.

Nonetheless, visitors aren’t allowed to swim in the lake. Alternatively, you can go to Lynn Creek Park, which is about 30 minutes from Dallas.

You can plan a picnic, swim trip, or BBQ in the lake region. The family-friendly area is located in Joe Pool Lake.

Are Texas Beaches Warm?

While temperatures differ every year, Texas beaches are usually warm from April to October. The coastal area is around 70 degrees F during that time.

Aside from that, you can find Texas beaches warm enough for a winter getaway. One of them includes South Padre Island. Temperatures in winter vary between 66 and 76 degrees F.

You can also go to Boca Chica State Park, where average temperatures reach between 70s and 80s.

Are Texas Beaches Warm In December?

Some Texas beaches can offer warm weather during December. You can visit the Corpus Christi area and go to Port Aransas Beach.

The best part about the place is that it’s much calmer in winter compared to its busy seasons, spring and summer.

You can go on adventurous pirate cruises, parasailing, and surfing. Other wintertime beaches in Texas include IB Magee Beach, located off the north of Mustang Island.

The place is particularly famed for its all-day fishing activities.

Texas Beach Watch

The Texas Beach Watch is a public program. It provides you with information about the beach’s water quality.

The organization targets areas like Aransas, Matagorda, Cameron, and Galveston.

It primarily monitors Enterococcus bacteria levels. If they go above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard, the program issues warnings to the public to avoid swimming in affected areas.

The organization typically collects water samples during peak summer and spring seasons every week. Meanwhile, in winter and fall, it collects samples every two weeks.

Besides that, the Texas Beach Watch is funded by the Texas General Land Office (GLO) and the EPA.

Can You Swim In The Ocean In Texas?

Technically, you wouldn’t be swimming in the Atlantic Ocean when visiting Texas beaches. Instead, you’ll be in the Gulf of Mexico.

That said, swimming on some Texas beaches can pose health risks.

An organization called Environment Texas tested the waters and found that over 61 beaches in the state were infested with fecal bacteria.

Some of the most unsafe beaches for swimming and found to harvest more bacteria during each test day were in Cole and Ropes Park.

Most of the bacteria-riddled beaches were found in Nueces County. These issues likely come from a lack of proper sewer system management.

Accordingly, in 2012, the EPA sued Corpus Christi due to negligence in its sewer system. By 2020, the case was settled and $725 million went to repairing the water system. 

Is Texas On The Coast?

Texas is on the coast bordering the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also known as one of the Gulf States, joining Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

Final Thoughts

Texas beaches provide you with a variety of activities to choose from. You can admire the scenery and stick your feet in the sand, or engage in more action with a water sports activity.

Either way, you’ll likely find a beach that’ll appeal to your vacation needs, whether you’re traveling for a simple friend’s day getaway or a family summer trip.

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