Given that most of Texas’s big cities are fully landlocked, people don’t always think of it as a beach state. In actuality, thanks to the Gulf of Mexico, there are many gorgeous options. And Houston is uniquely well positioned to access many! This is our guide to the best beaches in Houston.
Best Beaches In Houston
You will need to drive out a while to get to them. But if you do, you will find everything from lovely secluded ones all the way to more boisterous party atmospheres. Are you the more sporting type looking for fun in the sun and the water? Or are you more attracted to historic architecture?
You’ve definitely come to the right place for all the information you’ll need to enjoy the best beaches in Houston TX.
Surfside Beach In Houston
1304 Monument Drive, TX 77541
From the name, you might think Surfside Beach is one of the more party destination beaches in Houston. It’s actually one of the more laidback ones! If you’re looking for lots of amenities, this won’t be the place for you.
But if exploring a huge undeveloped shoreline sounds like your cup of tea, we can’t recommend it high enough. It’s the perfect spot to relax, play in the sand, swim, hunt for seashells, fish, and more.
It also has some of the area’s deepest waters. It doesn’t generally have huge waves, though, making it a great place for new people to learn how to surf.
While the beach doesn’t have many extras, there’s a charming small town nearby that we really enjoyed exploring. You could also make a night of it and camp on the beach overnight for a small fee.
There’s a nearby store where you can get supplies called Buc-ee’s and a number of local restaurants. Some of the best include The Seahorse Bar & Grill and The Beach Front. The beach is also near the beautiful Surfside Jetty County Park, which you should definitely fit into your trip!
Sylvan Beach Park Houston
636 N Bayshore Dr, La Porte, TX 77571
Of all the beaches in Houston, Sylvan is the closest to reach, just over twenty six miles from the city. Thirty two acres long, Sylvan Beach is distinctive for its gleaming white sand. Many of the other beaches in Houston are covered in seaweed, so when we visited, this beach really stood out.
Unlike the first beach on our list, Sylvan Beach Park also has a lot of amenities. It’s particularly great for families with young kids. There’s a playground and a pavilion with air conditioning if you want to briefly escape the heat. There’s also a lovely picnic area with tables.
The park additionally has a pier perfect for people interested in fishing. Boating is also available with a convenient ramp to launch from.
The water is also relatively calm compared to some of the other beaches in the area. This makes it more welcoming for families with small children. Sylvan also offers free parking which can help families on a budget.
If you’re down in the spring, you can also check out the Annual Sylvan Beach Festival! Enjoy fantastic seafood, drinks, and partying at this extremely fun event!
Stewart Beach Houston
201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550
Speaking of family-friendly, one of the best beaches in Houston TX if you have kids is Stewart Beach. It’s so oriented towards families that alcohol isn’t allowed. And besides all of the typical fun in the sand and water, the beach has many entertainment amenities as well.
This includes a pavilion, various concession stands with ice cream and other treats, a playground, volleyball courts, gift shop, and more.
For people’s convenience, there are also umbrella and chair rentals, restrooms, and showers. They even rent out beach wheelchairs for the disabled and elderly.
It’s also not far from popular attractions such as Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Waterpark. We had a blast at this water park which features rides ranging from the gentle for the smaller kids to raging waterslides for the teens and adults. Both also feature their own hotels.
And if you want to stay right by Stewart Beach, we recommend the gorgeous Grand Galvez hotel and spa for a truly luxury experience.
Galveston Island State Park
14901 Farm to Market 3005, Galveston, TX 77554
If you want to experience some nature and wildlife along with your sand and sun, Galveston Island is one of the best beaches in Houston for it. Of course, swimming and surfing are two of the biggest draws here. But so are other things such as nature walks, bird watching, hiking, biking, and more.
This is because Galveston Island State Park has so many different terrains as well as forms of wildlife. The park itself stretches over two thousand acres and features multiple beaches, wetlands, and estuaries.
It also has lots of different animals, including marsh rabbits and raccoons all year round. Meanwhile, many migrating birds make Galveston Island their temporary hope in Spring and Autumn.
Other fun options include various tours by various kinds of boat, including paddle boats, jet boats, and airboats. Park entry is free for anyone younger than twelves years old, and $5 for everyone else.
The park also offers camping grounds as well as cabins, if you want to stay over, providing an affordable vacation. Otherwise, if you want to stay in more luxurious surroundings, Moody Gardens Hotel Spa is nearby.
East Beach In Houston
1923 Boddeker Drive, Galveston, TX 77550
Technically, East Beach, the next on our list of beaches in Houston, is on Galveston Island. It stands out so much, though, that we felt it deserved its own spot to be focused on.
East Beach alone is Texas’ largest beach as well as the most active on Galveston Island. If you’re craving the opposite of a quiet beach experience, we highly suggest a visit. Not only is it full of people and life during the summer but also entertainment options.
There’s a boardwalk, pavilion, and a stage with live music playing in front of its gorgeous white sands. It’s a perfect family getaway! And not only that but you’re allowed to bring pets along too!
East Beach is also home to the incredible annual American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition. It attracts thousands of people a year and we found it an absolute blast. The creations are truly jawdropping.
We can also highly recommend Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant nearby, if you’re craving a satisfying meal for lunch or dinner.
Matagorda Bay Nature Park
6430 FM2031, Matagorda, TX 77457
If you’re craving another nature-filled beach experience after Galveston, look no further than Matagorda Bay! Covering over thirteen thousand acres, you’ll find gleaming white sand here and waves for days. The beach portion is also fairly secluded, so it’s a much calmer experience than East Beach.
It’s a beautiful place to enjoy a day in the sand, as well as bird watch in the cove and explore the marshes. In addition, the park boasts plenty of things to do. This includes mini golf, rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding and more. We had such a great time here.
They also have a nature center, providing information for the whole family in a fun way, as well as a gift shop packed with snacks and souvenirs.
Camping is available on-site, both tent and RV. And if you don’t have your own camper, the park actually offers ones to rent! You can also rent all sorts of beach equipment. You can even host a party at in their air-conditioned rental space with ocean views!
Sea Rim State Park
19335 State Hwy 8, Sabine Pass, TX 7655
Next up, we have yet another suggestion for beaches in Houston featuring the best nature: Sea Rim State Park. With four thousands acres and over five miles of beach, Sea Rim provides great opportunities for swimming, kayaking, beachcombing, etc.
It’s also a great place for birdwatching, camping, fishing, and even hunting, if you’re so inclined. We had a great time exploring the beautiful marshes via the ten-mile-long Nature Trail Boardwalk. And if you don’t want to walk the marsh, you can even decide to ride a horse through it!
The beach here is calmer than some of the others. You won’t find big waves, so it’s not a place for surfing, but it’s perfect for swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.
Sea Rim also has campgrounds and even a cabin to rent. You can also camp on the beach itself, and be lulled to sleep by the water, should you so choose. If you’d rather not stay outside overnight, the Hampton Inn & Suites in nearby Winnie, Texas provide comfortable indoor accommodations.
Quintana Beach Country Park
330 5th St, Quintana, TX 77541
Continuing our run of beaches in Houston TX that are located in nature parks, we have Quintana Beach. A natural beach, Quintana often has driftwood and seashells amongst its otherwise clean sand. This makes it a great place for collecting seashells.
There’s also all of the amenities that the other nature parks on our list have. In addition there is lots of opportunities for bird watching in addition to other animals that live there. There’s also hiking, fishing, camping, surfing, and other similar beach activities.
Quintana Park also features some lovely paved trails to explore nature on, a lit-up pier, pavilion, volleyball court, and playground. They also have campsites for your RV, as well as cabins to rent.
Meanwhile, there are also some fascinating educational attractions. This includes the historic Fort Bates, what remains of the Freeport Harbor Defense, and two historic houses. When we visited, we spent nearly a whole day just exploring these fascinating bits of history!
And for food, we recommend Captain Mark’s Seafood. There, you can either buy delicious seafood at their market to cook on your own or eat one of their scrumptious prepared meals at their restaurant!
Padre Island National Seashore
20301 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Not only is Padre Island one of the best beaches in Houston, it also has the world’s longest expanse of undeveloped barrier! This gorgeous seashore is sixty six miles long. It’s home to coastline, wind tidal flats, prairies, and dunes, making it an awesome place to explore.
Animal lovers will also find lots of birdwatching, with over 380 species of bird living here! In addition, it’s a sea turtle nesting ground. When we visited, we watched with wonder as baby sea turtles hatched and made their way to the Gulf of Mexico waters. It’s an amazing way to experience the miracle of life.
Amenities by the beach include restrooms and showers, and the park also offers camping and off-roading opportunities. Don’t miss the Grasslands Nature Trail while you’re here! And the ranger talks are also a lot of fun and educational too if you want to learn more about the natural life there.
There is a charge of $10 per day per car, but this is very affordable compared to other family vacations. And especially because it covers everyone in your car!
Port Aransas Beach
403 W. Cotter Ave, Port Aransas, Texas 78373
Of the best beaches in Houston, TX, Port Aransas is definitely one of the most laidback ones. In fact, there are hardly any amenities at the beach itself, besides the beautiful views and, of course, the sand and swimming.
The main attraction here is the charming adjacent town which has a lovely gentle atmosphere perfect for a lazy weekend away. Bring a book or iPad filled with things to watch, and just relax.
You can stay at any one of many condos to rent, or hotel resorts, such as Plantation Suites and Conference Center, soaking up the environment.
The town is full of lots of quaint shops and plenty of restaurants. When we stayed there, our favorite was the Restaurant San Juan, which serves a mean breakfast taco!
And if you happen to visit in April, you can check out the Texas Sandfest. This annual festival is the United States’s biggest sand castle competition. In addition to all of the amazingly intricate structures, there’s food, live music, vendors, a beer garden, and more!
Bolivar Peninsula/Crystal Beach
2275 Hwy 87, Suite 10, Crystal Beach, TX 77650
One of the most unusual beaches in Houston is Crystal Beach, which encompasses seven miles of Bolivar Peninsula. One of the key features of Crystal Beach is that you’re actually allowed to drive your car onto it and park!
Another relaxing beach on our list that’s full of nature, it’s also a popular birdwatching spot. In addition, you can swim, fish, go boogie boarding, collect seashells, or just relax on the sand with a good book.
Crystal Beach is only a two hour drive away from Houston but might as well be on a different planet, it feels so removed. If you’re looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, there’s no better spot.
You can also camp here right on the beach as well as set up your barbecue grill for a lovely cookout. You can also glimpse lovely sights of Point Bolivar Lighthouse, located to the south. Pro-tip: it’s a wonderful selfie backdrop.
If you want to stay in the area but would rather not camp, the nearby Boardwalk Resort is a lovely option as comfortable as it is beautiful.
210 Seabreeze Drive, Rockport, TX 78382
Rockport Beach stands out as being the only beach in Texas to have received Blue Wave certification. Blue Wave Beaches are clean, demonstrate responsible management, and protect both people and the environment.
This generally means being devoid of rubbish, waters that are safe to swim in, public restrooms, and full handicap accessibility. Therefore, you couldn’t ask for a cleaner beach, nor one as accessible to people who aren’t able-bodied.
In order to keep its certification, Rockport doesn’t allow pets, driving on the beach, open flames, or fireworks. It does have lovely amenities such as a picnic area, a playground for the kids, and a pier for fishing. It’s also a bird sanctuary, another reason that pets aren’t allowed.
Rockport Beach is an excellent beach for families because its waves are gentle and it doesn’t have a strong undertow. This means it’s much safer for small children. It’s also an extremely romantic beach, attracting couples with its quiet ambiance and idyllic atmosphere.
Not far from the beach you’ll also find the historic Fulton Mansion. It’s one of the earliest examples of the Second Empire architectural style. Animal lovers will also love spending time at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge.
Conclusion On The Best Beaches In Houston
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to the best beaches in Houston. In these stressful times, escaping for a relaxing weekend of fun in the sand and water sounds better than ever. So unplug, unwind, and enjoy your time off! There are so many beaches in Houston to explore.