The Lone Star state might not have a reputation for swaying palms and white sand beaches, but don’t underestimate it in the summertime. It boasts more than 370 miles of coastline sprinkled with dozens of beach towns serving up plenty of sparkling southern hospitality. From secluded sandy stretches to old Victorian-inspired pleasure piers, Texas is brimming with postcard-perfect beach towns (and cities). Looking to kick back and soak up the sun? We’ve cherry-picked seven of the best Texas beach towns.
The best beach towns in Texas
Houston’s favourite seaside town took a beating from Hurricane Ike in 2008 but it’s all more or less back to normal. Take a stroll along its colourful boardwalk (the world’s longest) or head to Galveston Island State Park for a scenic dip in its 200-acre protected grounds. In the evening, head over to the pleasure pier in the evening for po’boys and carnival rides.
This seaside bolthole overlooks Aransas Bay in southeastern Beach. It’s the only Blue Wave Beach in Texas, so you can guarantee pristine sunbathing and swimming conditions. It’s a hotspot for fishing, as well as adrenaline-pumping water activities such as jet-skiing and bodyboarding.
Once you’ve had your fill of lazing around the beach, head downtown to explore some of the towns historical highlights or further afield to local landmarks like the Fulton Mansion.
Once known as the ‘Spring Break Party Island’, South Padre has thankfully shirked its college break reputation and is now a popular spot for families too. Expect sparkling blue waters, long sandy stretches and superb seafood restaurants. Padre Boulevard is packed full of boutiques and stores for those looking for a little retail therapy, while over in North Padre Island you can get up close to one of the most endangered sea turtle species in the world. It’s a popular spot for deep-sea fishing and dolphin-watching too.
Best known for its big swells, Surfside Beach is particularly popular with surfers. Located in Freeport, the beach town offers miles of golden sands lined with colourful cafes and restaurants serving up the fresh catch of the day. Over at Jetty Park, a half-mile flat surface walkway, you can enjoy some of the best saltwater fishing in the region, with the chance to tie fish like redfish, sheepshead, shark and spotted sea trout. Little ones will love the splash pad boasting ten different water features too.
This tiny beach town is pure family-friendly frolics. It’s best known for its boardwalk where, according to Kemah’s official website, ‘the fun never stops!’ Spread across 35 acres, the Kemah boardwalk has a 36-ft carousel, Ferris wheel, carnival rides and dozens of souvenir shops. There’s also the Boardwalk Beast, which whisks passengers off on a high-speed boat ride four miles across Galveston Bay. Best of all are the restaurants, which include some of the best-recognized names in Texas such as Landry’s Seafood House and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
6. Port Arthur
This bustling beach town is located in the upper corner of Texas. Combining coastal charm with cajun flair, this town offers long sandy stretches, brilliant birding and fishing and a string of reputed restaurants. Don’t miss the 18.5-mile man-made body of lands stretching across Lake Sabine from the mouth of the Neches River to Sabine Causeway – it’s wildlife-rich territory.
Janet Jackson famously grew up here too.
This lovely, laidback seaside city boasts miles of pristine beaches ranging from superstar swells to bathwater-calm coves. The capital of the Gulf Stream Coast, each neighbourhood is packed with personality too. Unleash your wild side with windsurfing, parasailing and kayaking or soak up the sun on one of the city’s nine unique beaches. Top the day off with a Tex-Mex feast and the finest seafood in town.