Beach Life

5 min read

Texas Beach Escapades: Top 15 Clear Water Shores & Shops

Imagine dipping your toes into the clearest Texan waters—where every grain of sand tells a story. Ready for a splash of adventure with a side of convenient shopping? Dive into our top 15 crystal-clear beach gems!

Tobi Miles
August 18, 2022

Texas is known for many things, from cowboys to BBQ and music to scorching hot days full of fun. What most people don’t realize is that the Lone Star State has 367 miles of coastline, giving it the sixth slot out of all 50 states!

Even better, that water-drenched coastal land is all Gulf, which is warm with gorgeous views, and many lakes also offer beautiful beaches, too! If you’re looking for the best clear water beaches in Texas, you’ve come to the right place.

Below, you’ll find the most incredible locations for fun in the sun, Texas style. Make sure you grab some seafood for lunch while catching waves and listening to real country music!

If you happen to forget something on your list, we’ve added the nearest beach stores with the best reviews, if available, so you know where to get that swimsuit or boogie board.

We even have a few places to rent a boat for a day on the water or sunset excursion. That’s right, we’ve got you covered! Just sit back, relax, and find that perfect beach getaway that speaks to your soul.

1. Galveston Beach

Galveston is one of Texas’s premiere beach spots. Not only is the water gorgeous with ample sand, but there’s a fantastic promenade and vacation rentals galore.

There are several individual beaches to choose from, including East Beach, Stewart, Seawall, two different Pocket Parks, and Galveston Island State Park. This is a perfect choice if you want to hit the beach but also have action-packed adventure readily available.

You’ll find an amazing water park nearby as well, called Schlitterban, which has the world’s tallest water roller coaster and three lazy rivers that have recently been redesigned.

As far as restaurants go, you’ll have dozens to choose from. Some beach-goer favorites are Shearn’s Seafood and Prime Steak, Gaido’s, Miller’s Seawall Grill, Fisherman’s Wharf, and The Spot.

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: Wings Beachwear, Beach Break, and Surf Styles

Address: 6285 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77551

Phone Number: (888) 425-4753


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to April and October to November

Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

2. Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark

Credit: Dale Honeycutt / Unsplash

Set on Lake Travis, Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark is a great place to take the family for a fun getaway. The water is beautiful, and the lake is large, with over four acres of water park along the lakeside edge.

There are epic slides, multiple pools, private and public beach access points, great food, and all-around family fun. It’s open most of the summer, though only on weekends after August 15th.

One thing to note is that the water levels fluctuate, so the sandy beach isn’t always as close to the water as it should be. Still, there’s so much to do that this won’t make or break your vacation. Be sure to check out Beachside Billy’s while you’re there!

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Beach Front Boat Rentals LLC and VIP Marina Lake Travis

Address: 16107 FM2796, Leander, TX 78641

Phone Number: (512) 258-5110


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May and October

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Corpus Christi

3. Rockport Beach

Credit: Andrew Barlow / Unsplash

Located in Aransas Bay near Corpus Christi, Rockport Beach is a local favorite! With a mile-long stretch of sand, a beautiful fishing pier, shallow water for the kids to play, hermit crabs, and plenty of parking, you’ll find tons of fun along the bay's crystal clear waters.

Even better, there’s ample shelter to shield you from the hot Texan sun with picnic tables and palapa huts that are first come, first serve.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for big waves to surf. The water is relatively calm and can be easily traversed on foot far out.

For adult fun, check out the Glowing Kayak Tour, which takes place at night! There is also a party cruise available and even a private dolphin tour for groups.

If you go, check out Poor Man’s Country Club, Arandas Mexican Grill, or Grandma B’s Sweet Treats for delicious food!

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: Beachco Beachwear Outlet, TG’s, and Treasure Island Shop

Address: 210 Seabreeze Dr, Rockport, TX 78382


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

4. San Jose Island and Beach

Credit: Mandy Henry / Unsplash

Accessible by ferry from Port Aransas, San Jose Island is a privately owned property that allows public access to the beach. You’ll find it’s great for shells, birding, beach combing, and fishing.

While this isn’t an overnight adventure, the surrounding areas offer great accommodations so you can take a fun day trip to the island.

Some of the most popular shells are shark eyes, starfish, lightning whelks, and angel wings. There are also over 300 bird species that have been spotted near shore and over the water.

Once you’ve had your fill of sunny fun, Port A, the local access point, is great for dining and shopping! Check out Fins Grill & Icehouse, Kody’s, or Virginia’s on the Bay for great seafood.

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Island Boy Charters, South Bay Marina Fishing Charters, and Port A H20

Address: 900 Tarpon St, Port Aransas, TX 78373

Phone Number: (361) 749-5448


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May and September to November

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Related Read: 55 BEST Things To Do in Galveston, TX

5. South Padre

South Padre is right on the coastal tip of Texas near the Mexican border. It’s one of the top five beaches in Texas and has tons of things to do!

We’re talking sandy beaches, clear Gulf waters, and weather that rarely drops below 60 degrees, with some of the best kite surfing around. If you’re interested in wave surfing, professionals teach classes year round!

You can swim, snorkel, jet ski, kayak, or just enjoy the sand. Even better, you can rent a Jeep and go off-road for miles!

If you’re looking for endless crab legs with a side of scallops and shrimp, check out Louie’s Backyard, or try Padre Island Brewing, one of the oldest breweries in Texas, for quality beer.

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: Jaws Beachworld, Beach Outlet, On The Beach, and Beach Wave

Address: 4609 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597


Best Time of Year to Visit: September to February

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

6. Matagorda Beach

Credit: Ermelinda Martín / Unsplash

Matagorda Beach is located at the mouth of the Colorado River, where it spills into the Gulf. This means you get miles of Gulf front sand with ample riverfront fun, all in one place!

We’re talking 58 entire miles of sand along the water.  It’s a great place to go shelling, find crabs, learn to offroad, and have an all-around fun time.

There are a few great things about Matagorda that make it stand out above other beaches. For one, it is very rarely crowded. Since there is so much room, you can easily find a relatively secluded stretch of sand to enjoy your day.

For two, camping is allowed on the beach, free of charge. Keep in mind that some of the beachfront property is private. You’ll get a great breakdown by visiting the website listed below.

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Red Tide Boat Rentals, Blackhook Offshore Fishing Charters, and Matagorda Charter Boats

Address: 6420 FM2031, Matagorda, TX 77457


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May and September to November

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

7. Mustang Island Beach

Credit: Natilyn Hicks / Unsplash

Mustang Island Beach State Park is one of the hidden gems near Corpus Christi. It’s just an 18-mile-long beautiful stretch of sand right along the Gulf, but it’s only $5 for admission and rarely crowded.

You’ll want to bring your own food and drinks, a beach umbrella, and a few chairs. Be aware that there are not any bathroom facilities. Still, so long as you’re prepared, you’ll have a blast.

Barbecues are allowed, but keep an eye on all the friendly birds that may find your lunch or dinner interesting. They’re fun to watch but shouldn’t eat your lunch!

Also, make sure you clean up any trash that may have accumulated during your stay so that it can remain clean and beautiful for those who come after you!

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: BeachMart, Destination Beach & Surf, and Islander Souvenirs

Address: Access Rd No. 3, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Phone Number: (361) 749-5246


Best Time of Year to Visit: September to November

Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Related Read: 15 Best Texas Waterfalls

8. Jamaica Beach

Credit: Thomas Park / Unsplash

Part of the Galveston State Park area, Jamaica Beach has its own unique flair. The sand is a lovely brown perfect for sandcastles, and the water is saltier than other beaches nearby.

The surrounding area is clean and friendly, with very few crowds due to the proximity to more touristy beaches on either side.

You can swim, fish, or boat within the nearby channel, and there are several rentals available to make this into a full-blown vacation, including a few lovely RV parks.

While there are no lifeguards, many locals say the water is calm enough for even the youngest kids to enjoy. You’ll also find a great family park nearby with a playground, picnic benches, and several activities planned throughout the year.

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Tidewater Boat Rentals, Finney Boat and Watersport Rentals, and Angler Charters

Address: 16721 Jolly Roger Rd, Jamaica Beach, TX 77554


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May and October to November

Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

9. Stewart Beach

Credit: Emilie Farris / Unsplash

One of the most popular options in Texas, Stewart beach, is tourist central. While that means it’s pretty crowded, it’s also very well taken care of and offers the best places to eat, shop, sleep, and play.

If you’re looking for fast-paced fishing charters, epic waves, umbrella rentals, lifeguards, beach Jenga, and more, this is the best choice.

If you find yourself down there and want a break from the beach, be sure to head to Moody Gardens, a 242-acre amusement park with an aquarium, paddle boat, and zip line.

For great eats nearby, try Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant, Russo’s New York Pizzeria, Sloppy Azz Philly, Miller’s Seawall Grill, or the Mosquito Cafe!

If you’re trying to decide where to stay, we highly recommend checking availability on VRBO for great rentals or hitting up a local resort.

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: Saltwater Gift Shop, Wings Beachwear, Surfstyles, and Murdochs

Address: 201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550

Phone Number: (409) 797-5189


Best Time of Year to Visit: September to January

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

10. North Beach

North Beach is Corpus Christi’s premier beach spot, with tons of attractions, places to eat, family fun, and premium sand. The water is warm and clear, but it’s a trendy spot, so be sure to get there early and claim your site for the day.

You’ll find fun activities, like the Corpus Christi Ghost Walking Tour, City Scavenger Hunt, or an hour-long bi-plane ride!

You’ll also have access to Texas State Aquarium, USS Lexington Museum, Whataburger Field, and restaurants like Blackbeard’s on the Beach, Pier 99, Yo Philly Cheesesteaks, and Landry’s Seafood House.

As for accommodations, you can go camping, hook up an RV, or snag a rental, all for reasonable prices. The campgrounds are among the most highly rated in the area, so if the weather is right and you have all the gear, check it out!

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Nauticool Adventures - Boat, Jet Ski & Kayak Rentals and Good Time Ski Rentals

Address: N Beach Access Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78418


Best Time of Year to Visit: June to August

Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Related Read: 20 Best State Parks In Texas

11. Magnolia Beach

Credit: Katy Anne / Unsplash

If you’re looking for free camping on a sandy beach with gorgeous waterside views, Magnolia Beach offers that and more.

It’s a bit inland from the Gulf on Matagorda Bay but provides the best of both worlds, with several lakes, bayside camping, and a quick drive down to the coastal Gulf waters.

Unlike most RV parks, this one truly puts you at the water’s edge! There are 15 pavilions, accessible bathroom facilities, and even a basketball court.

This is a great place to collect beach glass that has been worn down or shells that have made their way up the bay.

Each year on Memorial Day weekend, you’ll find it packed with friendly people ready to have a good time, so if you’re in the mood to party, you know when and where to go! For quieter weekends, try to go during the off-season.

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Private Time Island Boat Charters and Indianola Fishing Marina

Address: 485 N Ocean Dr, Port Lavaca, TX 77979


Best Time of Year to Visit: February to May

Yelp Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

12. Surfside Beach

Credit: Triston Dunn / Unsplash

Surfside is a lot like Galveston but on a smaller scale. It’s a great place to fish, swim, and see amazing wildlife! Your options for accommodations and restaurants are limited, but that isn’t a bad thing.

You’ll find the best of the best in the area, and that’s why this little beach town is on the map. Depending on when it last rained, you might be able to drive down the beach. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself strolling along soft sand!

Keep in mind that high tide often means minimal beach surface. This can make for an excellent day of fun in the water but aim for low-tide times if you want to play in the sand.

You’ll also find dune bridges that are a lot of fun to traverse! Be sure to check out Seahorse Bar and Grill for waterside dining and Jetty Park for a break from the sand and waves.

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: Surfside Loco

Address: 1304 Monument Dr, Surfside Beach, TX 77541


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to April and November

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

13. Malaquite Beach

Another great beach near Corpus Christi, Malaquite Beach, is known for phenomenal camping and an excellent visitor center that is fun for the kids. It’s clean and well maintained, with easy access to showers and bathroom facilities.

It’s not very crowded on an average day, so you’ll have plenty of room to make the perfect beach spot with your towels, umbrellas, and chairs.

Just keep in mind that you won’t find any shops or facilities within walking distance of the beach, other than bathrooms. Entry is $5, and camping is an additional $10, so you can enjoy a weekend away on a budget!

If you love flying kites, you’ll find this beach has just the right amount of wind. There is also fishing and many offshore excursions available nearby.

Head into Corpus Christi for great food and try Scuttlebutt’s, Padre Pizzeria, Padre Island Burger Company, and Doc’s Seafood and Shakes.

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Nauticool Adventures - Boat, Jet Ski & Kayak Rentals and Good Time Ski Rentals

Address: 20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418


Best Time of Year to Visit: May to October

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

14. Crystal Beach

Credit: Charles Howard / Unsplash

Crystal Beach is another great option near Galveston. It runs for seven miles along the Bolivar Peninsula and is a nice and quiet place with gorgeous views, plenty of sea life such as dolphins and shells, beautiful sand, and warm water.

You won’t find many places to eat and shop nearby unless you head into town, but you will find the perfect beach for a day away from the hustle and bustle of big city Texas.

Thankfully, it’s close enough to Crystal Beach City that you won’t have trouble finding anything you need or stopping by for dinner on your way out. Check out Ocean Grille and Donnay’s Donuts while you’re there.

Nearby, you’ll also find the Rancho Caribe Golf Course and the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. If you want to do more than dip your toes in the sand, bring a boogie board, kayak, surfboard, or kite.

There is ample room to have tons of fun along the miles of coastland, and bird watchers will be delighted at the abundance of feathered wildlife that calls Crystal Beach home!

Well-reviewed beach stores nearby: The Big Store

Address: TX87, Bolivar Peninsula, TX 77550


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May and October to January

TripAdvisor Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

15. Port Aransas & Beach

We’ve mentioned Port Aransas a few times with specific locations, but it’s worth mentioning as a whole. This is a great place to hit the beach for a week-long vacation.

With so much to do and so many beaches to visit, you won’t run out of exciting vacation fun! Port Aransas Beach is one of the top beaches in the area, and like the surrounding beaches along the Gulf, it allows camping and driving along the sand.

If you’re looking for a great party beach packed with lots of people, this is the best choice. Sure, it’s crowded, but that’s half the fun when heading out to have a great time with a few friends. Even better, you’ll find lifeguards on duty with miles of sand and decent waves.

You’ll have your pick of restaurants and excursions, and if you’re not much of a camper, there are dozens of vacation rentals nearby!

Check out The Beach Lodge, Black Marlin Nad and Grill, Bernie’s Beach House, or FINS Grill and Icehouse for fantastic food when you need a break from the sun!

Well-reviewed boat rental facilities: Coastal Charters, Salt Devil Cruises, Island Mooring Yacht Club, and Captain Kirk’s Tiki Cruises

Address: Port Aransas Beach Rd, Port Aransas, TX 78373

Phone Number: (361) 290-0414


Best Time of Year to Visit: March to May and October to November

Google Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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