8 Best Beach Towns in Texas
- Padre Island
- Port Aransas
- Bolivar Peninsula
- Port Arthur
- Corpus Christi
Galveston is easily the best beach town in Texas. Located on Galveston Island in the Gulf of Mexico, this city is a popular tourist destination for its rich history, antique architecture, and pristine beaches. Because it was once a major port city in the 19th century, Galveston is home to a great amount of Victorian-era buildings – most of which have been preserved and restored. In terms of beaches, Stewart Beach is the most popular tourist site and features amenities like various food vendors and a boardwalk. Other notable beaches include East Beach and West Beach, which are respectively loved for their live music events and fishing holes. All of this and more makes Galveston the overall best beach town in Texas.
2. Padre Island
Padre Island is universally considered the second-best beach town in Texas. Located off the state’s southern Coast, Padre Island stretches over roughly 130 miles and is known as the longest of the barrier islands. The island’s most popular waterfront area is South Beach, whose miles of white sand, clear waters, and ample opportunities for various watersports attract tourists from all over the world. Here, residents and visitors alike will also find a vibrant nightlife scene, which includes a wealth of cocktail bars, clubs, and late-night partying hotspots. For those who prefer a more low-key destination, the island possesses several more peaceful attractions, such as the Padre Island National Seashore, a protected area for local wildlife. With something for everyone, Padre Island is the second-best choice for beachside living in Texas.
Rockport is a small coastal town with plenty to offer. Located in the state’s Gulf Coast region, Rockport is best known for its endless recreational opportunities, mild climate, and stunning assortment of local beaches. The main attraction in this city is Rockport Beach, a highly-desirable destination for swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and more. Downtown, residents and visitors alike can find a charming variety of shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Particularly favorite spots in this area include the Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, which is a beautifully restored Victorian-style home dating back to the 1870s. Other local draws include several art galleries, festivals, and a generally laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for a beachfront getaway.
4. Port Aransas
Located on Mustang Island is Port Aransas, another one of the best beach towns in Texas. Known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas,” this city is home to some of the state’s best and most abundant fishing opportunities. A premier destination for angling, those who come to Port Aransas will find more than enough offshore excursions within the city’s many bays and channels to satisfy every fisherman’s needs. And, for those who prefer a little competition, there are even several fishing tournaments throughout the summer. With plenty of other opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and live music, Port Aransas is considered a Texas favorite for beachside entertainment.
5. Bolivar Peninsula
Bolivar Peninsula is a Texas favorite for classic beachfront living. A narrow strip of land located on the state’s southeastern coast, this area is bordered by both Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The peninsula is known for its natural beauty and easy-going attitude, providing both locals and visitors with stunning views of immaculate beaches, wetlands, and birding areas. The most beloved attractions here include the Historic Bolivar Lighthouse, the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, and the Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry, which provides affordable travel between the peninsula and Galveston Island. With only 3,000 people residing within its streets, be sure not to miss this exclusive hidden gem.
Freeport is a popular Texas beach town with a wide variety of sandy surfs. Situated on the state’s Gulf Coast, Freeport is home to several popular tourist beaches, which include Surfside Beach, Bryan Beach, Brazoria County Beach, and Quintana Beach County Park. Together, these beaches are collectively known for providing residents and visitors with abundant waterfront activities, such as surf fishing, kayaking, swimming, and sunbathing. Additionally, they are also home to several restaurants, bars, piers, and marinas. Birdwatching is also popular among those who visit Freeport, as the local area is home to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, a prime birding destination. With so much to do and see, it’s no wonder Freeport is considered a staple among Texas beach towns.
7. Port Arthur
In addition to being one of the best beach towns in Texas, Port Arthur is also one of the cheapest. This beautiful city is home to roughly 56,000 people and is best known for its serene location along the Gulf of Mexico. Other notable features of Port Arthur include its many parks and recreational spaces, historical sites, and its extensive deepwater port, which is the largest in the Gulf. Popular local attractions in this area include the Sea Rim State Park, the Museum of the Gulf Coast, and the Gulf Coast Music and Crab Festival – all of which add to the area’s coastal charm. A piece of Port Arthur real estate averages just $90k, making this one of the most affordable beach towns to live in the US.
8. Corpus Christi
A coastal town located a few miles from the Mexican border, Corpus Christi combines major urban living with small beach-town charm. Home to nearly 318,000 residents, this major metropolitan area is the eighth-largest city in the state. With its rich history, diverse culture, and endless supply of pristine beachfront, this area is considered a highly desirable part of the Texas shoreline. Additionally, the city is considered a bustling epicenter for the arts and possesses an impressive selection of museums, art galleries, performing arts centers, and local festivals. Through its unique blend of uptown amenities and distinctly small-town atmosphere, Corpus Christi is not to be overlooked when visiting the best beach towns in Texas.