When most people hear the word “beach,” the last place they think of is Texas. However, with its prime location on the Gulf of Mexico, Texas sports some beaches that are definitely worth checking out in the upcoming summer months, or even in the off-season. Spring break is the perfect time to visit these warm, beautiful, and affordable beach destinations with tons of vacation rentals right on the water.
Visit These 6 Beautiful Texas Beaches For Spring Break
1. Stewart Beach
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Sun yourself and your loved ones on this Gulf Coast barrier island. Stewart Beach gets pretty packed with tourists during the warm spring and summer months, so if you get a bit crowded, stroll through the Sea Wall urban park, or attend concerts and festivals on East Beach (which does allow alcohol, unlike other Galveston beaches).
In the summer, the American Institute of Architects hosts a sandcastle competition on East Beach. Explore the myriad thrills of the Pleasure Pier at the end of Seawall Boulevard or get your adrenaline rush at Schlitterbahn Water Park. The Strand Historic District is home to charming shops and restaurants, and the numerous art displays and museums should be more than enough once you’ve gotten sun-drunk.
Lastly, Moody Gardens is a conservation-oriented resort and features three themed pyramids outside of their hotel and gold course, each one dedicated to a different them (rainforest, aquarium, and discovery). Palm Beach is a white sand beach the resort boasts as well and is worth a visit.
2. Corpus ChristiImage credit: Nan Palmero/Flickr CC-BY 2.0
Corpus Christi is a city on Corpus Christi Bay that features numerous water-based activities like jetty fishing on McGee Beach. The USS Lexington, known as “The Blue Ghost,” has taken up residence on the Corpus Christi shoreline as well. The city’s museums are worth a stop once you’ve tanned yourself and need a break from the sun’s rays. Funtrackers Family Fun Center is good for kids too.
Port Aransas, the only town located on the barrier island Mustang Island, is just across Corpus Christi Bay and within easy access, as is the Padre Island National Seashore. The Padre Island Sea Wall itself is located right near Corpus Christi’s Whitecap Beach, which is an excellent picnicking spot.
3. Mustang Island
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Port Aransas, just across the bay from Corpus Christi, is the only town on Mustang Island. Located in Neuces County, Mustang Island is 17 miles long and one of a string or barrier islands that make up the Gulf coast of Texas. The lower five of these miles make up Mustang Island State Park. Padre (a.k.a. North Padre) Island is just below it, followed by South Padre Island and Boca Chica, which will also be on this list.
The town includes IB Magee Beach, Horace Caldwell Pier, and San Jose Island, which is just a quick ferry ride off the coast of Mustang Island. San Jose Island is privately owned, but has available shoreline that is excellent for shelling. Mustang Island is well-known for its bird-watching opportunities and Kemp’s Ridley turtle egg hatchings between April and July. At the right time of day, dolphin spotting off of the coast is not uncommon. Kite boarders and surfers alike will enjoy J. P. Luby Surf Park (a.k.a. North Packery Beach), while those traversing South Packery Beach will be walking on what serves as the border between Mustang Island and Padre Island.
Back on the island, water sports enthusiasts will love kayaking Mustang Island Paddling Trails, while history and adventure enthusiasts will love hunting for buried treasure. Notorious 19th-cerntury buccaneer Jean Lafitte was known to haunt the shores of Mustang Island frequently, and was rumored to have buried his treasure in a chest marked with a Spanish silver dagger.
4. Padre Island
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As the longest barrier island in the world without development on it, Padre Island is host to many beach-going activities for those interested in fun in the sun. Padre Balli Park is available for use, and you can test your angling skills at the Bob Hall Pier. Of course, the gem of the island is the Padre Island National Seashore, which extends 70 miles along the coast of the island and offers some truly excellent camping and hiking on the Grasslands Nature Trail. Additionally, Bird Island Basin is great for windsurfing, and Malaquite Beach is a popular turtle hatchling release location in the summer months. Swing by J.B.’s German Bakery & Cafe to see the best of the ‘wurst and chow down on a pretzel.
5. South Padre Island
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South Padre Island is one of most popular destinations on this list and a wild spring break destination for nightlife enthusiasts. Every year, South Padre Island floods with young people on break from school and concerts abound in service to these yearly customers. Bars, clubs, and nightlife opportunities abound. Many people choose to stay at the Isla Grande Resort. Of course, during the day, water sports, white sand beaches, and wildlife spotting are favorite activities for visitors, and the spring break crowd often extends into the Semana Santa crowd. “Semana Santa” is the Spanish phrase for Holy Week, and many celebrants with Mexican heritage come to South Padre Island to relax during what is sometimes called “second spring break.” The Schlitterbahn at South Padre Island boasts awe-inspiring waterslides, a heated pool, and swim-up bar that can also provide infinite distraction for the thrill seekers in your group. Catch the Sand Castle Days competition in the fall or look upward to see the brilliant fireworks in the summer.
6. Boca Chica
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Boca Chica is a small, eight-mile long beach near Brownsville, Texas situated on the Rio Grande delta and makes up part of the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Dunes line the beach and there is a lighthouse nearby, but other than that this beach is fairly remote and an alternate option if the populated beaches of barrier islands prove too much. An excellent escape from civilization, licensed fishing, swimming, surfing, and other activities are allowed, but camping is prohibited.
This article was written by Lindy Tolbert.