Best Texas Beach (2018)


Texas is known for many things – cowboys, barbecue, and Old West heritage, and wide open spaces – which may be why its 600-mile sparkling coastline along the Gulf of Mexico is so often overlooked. The saying "Everything's bigger in Texas" is true of the beaches too; the Lone Star State is home to the world's longest undeveloped barrier island, as well as some of the best coastal birdwatching in the country.

  • Rockport Beach

    Rockport Beach

    The Lone Star State's first designated Blue Wave Beach, Rockport Beach prides itself on its clean, crescent-shaped stretch of sand. Popular with families thanks to its calm and shallow water, Rockport Beach offers convenient amenities like numerous shaded picnic areas, grills, volleyball courts, playgrounds and a walking path.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / jerryhopman

  • South Padre Island Beach

    South Padre Island Beach
    South Padre Island

    This family-friendly destination near the border of Mexico draws water sport enthusiasts eager for kiteboarding, kitesurfing, jetskiing and windsurfing. And if visitors aren't partying the night away or spending the day outdoors on the beach, they're hitting parks like the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, popular with birders and nature lovers.
    Photo courtesy of South Padre Island

  • Surfside Beach

    Surfside Beach
    Surfside Beach

    Located just 60 miles outside of Houston, Surfside Beach is a quiet 4-mile stretch of coast perfect for fishing, surfing, horseback riding, swimming and sunbathing in relative solitude. The water gets deep quite quickly, allowing fishing enthusiasts to catch species often found much further offshore.
    Photo courtesy of Brazosport Convention & Visitors Council

  • Crystal Beach

    Crystal Beach
    Bolivar Peninsula

    While the main beaches of Galveston Island can get crowded during the hot Texas summer, catch the ferry to Bolivar Peninsula for a bit of beachy seclusion on 7-mile-long Crystal Beach.
    Photo courtesy of Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr

  • Matagorda Bay Nature Park

    Matagorda Bay Nature Park

    The 2-mile beach within Matagorda Bay Nature Park not only offers inviting blue waters, horseback riding through the surf and beach camping, it's also right in the heart of one of the nation's top birdwatching destinations
    Photo courtesy of Lower Colorado River Authority

  • Port Aransas Beach

    Port Aransas Beach
    Port Aransas

    This 18th century pirate hideout is now one of the most popular beach destinations on the Texas coast. The only town on Mustang Island fronts 6 miles of sandy beach, popular for swimming, snorkeling, birdwatching and its annual sand castle competition.
    Photo courtesy of Michael Salazar / Flickr

  • Isla Blanca Park

    Isla Blanca Park
    South Padre Island

    Occupying the southernmost tip of South Padre Island, Isla Blanca Park is home to over a mile of pristine white sand shoreline packed with amenities, including two beachfront pavilions, food concessions and beach rentals, RV sites, a walking trail, showers, shaded picnic areas and jetties for fishing.
    Photo courtesy of Vince Smith / Flickr

  • South Beach

    South Beach
    Padre Island National Seashore

    South Beach runs for 60 miles along the undeveloped shores of Padre Island National Seashore. Driving and primitive RV and tent camping are allowed on the beach, making it a popular getaway for those looking to escape the busy beaches of South Padre Island.
    Photo courtesy of NPS Photo

  • East Beach

    East Beach

    Situated on the far eastern tip of Galveston Island, East Beach offers a beach party vibe, thanks in part to a summer calendar packed full of festivals, live concerts and events. Alcohol is permitted on the beach, and amenities include a pavilion, boardwalk, showers, concessions and umbrella rentals.
    Photo courtesy of Brian Greul / Flickr

  • Malaquite Beach

    Malaquite Beach
    Corpus Christi

    Padre Island boasts that it has the longest stretch of undeveloped island anywhere in the world. The seashore is 70 miles long, nearly all of which is bordered by a thin strip of firmly packed white sand. Grasslands and marshes back a thin border of dunes that parallel the beach. Malaquite Beach is a short stretch of beach near a pavilion with a visitor center, observation deck, gift shop and restrooms. This section of the seashore also provides a family-friendly swimming area free of pets, fishing and public driving.
    Photo courtesy of Terry Ross / Flickr

The top 10 winners in the category Best Texas Beach are as follows:

  1. Rockport Beach
  2. South Padre Island Beach
  3. Surfside Beach
  4. Crystal Beach - Bolivar Peninsula
  5. Matagorda Bay Nature Park
  6. Port Aransas Beach
  7. Isla Blanca Park - South Padre Island
  8. South Beach - Padre Island National Seashore
  9. East Beach - Galveston
  10. Malaquite Beach - Corpus Christi

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Congratulations to these 10 winning beaches!

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