Texas beach vacation tips
Most people do not think about having a beach vacation in Texas which is a shame. Lone Star State is known for many things, like its great food and large festivals, but many oversee that its long coastline along the Gulf of Mexico offers wonderful places to explore. From unspoiled national seashores to well-developed beach parks, Texas has a lot to offer for all types of beachgoers!
Texas Quick Info Guide
Capital city: Austin
Visa: Texas is a region of the United States, so the normal ‘US entry requirements’ apply for travelers. Depending on your citizenship, Visa/Visa Waiver is needed for non-US residents. VWP program countries’ citizens can apply for ESTA that allows to stay 90 days as a tourist in the States. Those who are not eligible for ESTA should get a normal visa. Due to the current situation, plan ahead and check the country’s official government site since extra restriction/entry requirements may be in place.
Safety: The Texas coastline area is safe for everyone to visit. Of course, every area in the country always has the potential for something to randomly happen, but overall, the Gulf Coast of Texas is very safe. As with any beach visit, make sure to lock your car doors and store your personal goods away from plain view.
Why is Texas perfect for a beach vacation?
Let’s be honest, Texas may not have powder sandy beaches like the Bahamas or such impressive views as Hawaii, but its coastline is sunny and beautiful, offering perfect spots for a fun-filled beach getaway.
Texas beaches provide visitors with an authentic vibe: no matter you wish to go for a stroll in a lovely beach town, walk along the coast with your dog, go fishing, kayaking, horseback riding or just sunbathe on your lounge chair, Lone Star State won’t disappoint.
With warm air and water temperatures during summer and refreshing weather in the winter months, Texas beaches are worthy of a drive in each season!
Texas best beaches
The best beaches in Texas invite you for a beach vacation and soak up the sun while enjoying the warm Gulf waters and natural attractions. The state’s coastline has a perfect spot for everyone, so if you are looking for the best beaches in Texas to enjoy, here are the top six ones!
Surfside Beach is a four miles long hidden beach about 60 miles south of Houston that is kept in pristine condition. It is one of those Texas beaches that has continual waves and is a favorite spot for surfers.
The beach area is very large, as is everything in Texas. If your children get tired of the Gulf waters, there is a 3,000 square foot splash pad near the seating area that they can enjoy. Fishing is also very popular here as is bird watching. Surfside Beach allows bonfires too, which is a great ending to an adventure-filled beach day.
Rockport Beach is a beautiful beach area on one of the barrier islands north of Corpus Christie. It is one of the four Blue Wave Beaches located in Texas so it is guaranteed to be free of litter, has special needs access, restrooms and showers, and is managed for environmental protection.
Rockport is a wide beach with a lot of room for sunbathing, picnicking, and beach sports. You can enjoy wind sailing, jet skiing, and fishing are all permitted at the beach. There is a large playground area and trails for you to enjoy that make it one of the best family-friendly beaches in Texas!
Located on the Bolivar Peninsula just east of Galveston, this beautiful beach community has much to offer visitors. The large beach makes it perfect to have fun all day at the beach, and one of the main attractions in the area is the variety of birds that you can see here.
Crystal Beach offers many activities to enjoy, and after a long day at the beach, you can go into the nearby town and enjoy dining, entertainment, and shopping.
Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore, a part of Padre Island is a secluded beach area in Texas with dunes, crystal white sands and calm, warm waters. This park has over 70 miles of protected coastline and is home to one of the few hypersaline lagoons in the world. It is also sea turtle nesting ground, and over 380 species of birds call this area home.
You can enjoy a quiet day at this undeveloped barrier island and explore the main park area for a lot of fun and adventure. Every beach vacation on Texas Coast should include a stop at Padre Island National Seashore that is accessible through Corpus Christi and the North Padre Island village.
Galveston Beach is the Galveston area’s most popular beach and all we can say about this beach is: Wow. Everything that you could imagine about enjoying a Texas beach vacation can be found here. Clean beach area, lots of beach activities, and warm water that is perfect for swimming.
You can walk the birding trails, play beach sports, or just sit and sunbathe at this beach. When you are done, you can go into Galveston and enjoy a beach town that is truly “Done in Texas-style.”
South Padre Island
Located at the very bottom of Texas, South Padre Island is a hot spot for tourists in the state. Offering 33 miles pristine sand, this is one of the most popular white sand beaches in Texas. While this is not a hidden beach, it is still one that you will enjoy.
In addition to the beautiful beach area, a variety of activities are available here including birding and butterfly trails, fishing, and beach sports like parasailing and swimming. When you are done enjoying the water you can visit the Dolphin Research Center. Be prepared, however, if you go during Spring Break time, South Padre Island gets busy.
Beach activities in Texas
With rich wildlife, shell-covered shores and warm waters, a beach getaway in Texas provides plenty of fun activities for the whole family. No matter you are a relaxed birdwatcher or an adrenaline junkie who loves riding the waves, there are numerous ways to spice up your beach time in Texas!
The world’s fastest growing water sport is getting more and more popular in Lone Star State too. The Texas Gulf Coast offering ideal conditions both for amateurs and pros.
If you are new to this sport, Surfside Beach is your place to go where the bottom is sandy and the wave quality is perfect for beginners. Pros should head to Corpus Christi Bay, Mustang Island and Port Aransas that became premier riding spots in the recent years thanks to the consistent offshore winds that ensure easy beach launch and fast speed.
The Texas Gulf is a dream destination for those who love deep-sea fishing. From entry-level day trips to multi-day adventures, fishing charters are available at all levels. There are numerous launchpads to start your deep-sea game from Galveston in the north to South Padre Island, and southern you go, the closer the blue sea and the finest fish are.
The top places are the continental shelf off Port Aransas where will find Blackfin Tuna and sailfish, while the shelf off Corpus Christi offers snappers, tuna, amberjacks and billfish but you can catch King Mackerel, grouper, red snapper and Mahi Mahi too. Fishing is possible year-round, but the best time is from early spring until fall.
If you are a beachgoer who loves beachcombing, you’ll be love Texas! Walking along the coast and looking for treasures along the wrack line is a great exercise and fun activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family on your beach trip.
Technically on any beach of the state’s coastline and barrier islands you will likely to find a variation of shells including single spiral shape shells and clams that have two shells hinged together. Other interesting finds are sand dollars, sea beans, sea glass, but it is possible to encounter shark teeth too.
In Texas, you are free to collect shells as personal souvenirs. Do not collect them for commercial purposes and make sure that that shell is empty, so you won’t be damaging the environment.
Best time for a Texas beach vacation
Now that you know where to vacation in Texas on the beach, the next thing to figure out is when. The great news is that you almost always have great Texas beach weather. In the summer, if you love the heat, you will enjoy the beaches. It can get muggy, especially in August, so make sure that you bring enough water to stay hydrated. If you want to avoid the hottest months, consider coming in spring or fall.
A Texas winter beach vacation can also be amazing. Texas has a warm climate throughout most of the year, and the Gulf waters are always warmer than the ocean. If you like sunbathing while the water is a bit chillier, come to Texas to enjoy the winter sun. The ocean cools slowly during fall, but South Padre Island’s water is still warm during the winter months too.
You can check the current water temperatures by visiting seatemperature.org.
It is important to remember that the coast of Texas is subject to hurricanes. The season is from June 1st through November 30th each year. Watch the weather to make sure that no storms are in the area before you go to the beach.
Average sea temperature:
June – September
November – March
Texas beach vacation costs
The great news is that it is easy to find a Texas beach vacation deal to meet any budget. You can pack a picnic and enjoy the day near the ocean for a cheap beach vacation in Texas, or if you want to stay for several nights, there are many reasonable hotels, beach rentals and AirBnBs available through the Texas Gulf Coast.
You can also enjoy a luxury beach vacation at one of the many beach resorts located on the Gulf Coast. A little bit of planning is all it takes to find the right type of lodging for your getaway.
Here you can find a rough guide on the daily budget per person that includes accommodation and meals but not flight and transportation costs:
Places to stay in Texas
There are many different options for places to stay in Texas when you are on vacation. You can find everything from idyllic beach camping sites through cheap mom-and-pop hotels to luxury resorts. What many people overlook, however, the superb beachfront vacation rentals in Texas.
You can find an amazing home right on the beach for a few days to a few weeks at a time. It gives you all the comforts of home while providing you with a prime place to stay for beach fun. These rentals are well-priced and are probably mid-range between cheap hotels and luxury resorts.
Average accommodation prices per night in Texas:
Simple hotel (1-2 star): 40-70 USD
Avarage hotel (3-4 star): 90-130 USD
5 star resort / luxury vacation rental: 200-400 USD
To book your accommodation, use well-known websites that offer 24/7 customer support so you can get help if needed! (We have good experience with Booking.com or expedia.com)
Beach etiquette in Texas
Texas beach vacation destinations are all different and you should take a moment to familiarize yourself with the beach rules for your chosen area. Some places prohibit pets, but there many dog-friendly beaches in Texas where you can bring your furry friends. There are often designated areas that allow campfires in the evening, but most places don’t allow glass containers anywhere for safety reasons.
Appropriate swimwear is required at all other beaches in the state, but the National Seashore may have areas for nude sunbathers.
If you are going to go out to eat after a day at the beach, most Texas restaurants will require that you have “bottoms” (shorts, pants, skirt, sarong) and shirts on when you enter the restaurant.
Texan specialties to eat and drink
No Texas beach getaway can be complete without trying some local flavors. To experience the best Texan cuisine, here are the best dishes to taste!
Chili: Like all other things Texan, the taste of their chili is “big.” Flavorful and a bit spicy, the chili is worth tasting when in Texas.
Texas BBQ: Considered Texas State Dish, the Texas BBQ is a must-eat. BBQ in Texas is slow-smoked and savory, consisting of beef brisket and various pork products. It has a distinct flavor that can is a blend of mesquite and chipotle.
Chicken Fried Steak: Need I say more? It is breaded steak with gravy on top, how can it get any better than that? This Texan classic is best served with green beans and mashed potatoes.
Tortilla Soup: This delicious soup originated in Texas, it was first mentioned in the 1930s by a Dallas cooking course and has quickly become a favorite around the world. It is quick and easy-to-prepare and certainly will please the whole family!
Pecan Pie: Texas is one of the largest pecan-growing states in the US and they have mastered the pecan pie. It is filling and quite quick to prepare, a perfect dessert for Fall, Thanksgiving or whenever you in the mood for something sweet.
Useful Texas sayings
Texans do everything their own way, including talk. Here are a few common sayings that you will certainly hear while on a beach vacation in Texas!
Coke – this refers to any type of soda or pop that you are drinking. Does not matter the brand, especially since most Texans drink Dr. Pepper, it is all referred to as “Coke.”
Jeet Yet – sounds just like it is spelled, this saying is actually: ‘Did you eat yet’ said with a Texan drawl.
Frog chocker – refers to a heavy rainfall
Ain’t my first rodeo – they understand what you are saying or what they are currently doing, refers to experience or knowledge.
All git-out – means the most of something, a lot of something, or something that was done to the maximum
Fixin to – when you hear this saying from Texans, it means they are planning to do something in the near future
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When it comes to a beach vacation, Vic is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious where she wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!