The Best in Texas Beaches
With school buses soon coming out of retirement for the season, taking a family vacation may not be top of mind. However, a beach family getaway is not out of the question, yet! The Gulf of Mexico may create beaches for ve U.S. states, but we all know the best ones are found along the Texas coast. With islands and bays galore down south, here are some of our favorites.
Stewart Beach, Galveston
Galveston boasts more than 32 miles of Gulf-side beaches, but not all sand was created equal. There are seven beach parks along the Gulf coast of Galveston, but only one is recommended as the family-friendly one of the bunch. Located on the northeastern side of Galveston Island, Stewart Beach has much to offer in terms of amenities. The restrooms and showers are well taken care of, and Stewart is one of the few beaches with lifeguards on duty. There is also a souvenir shop and snack bar. Beach wheelchairs make beach fun accessible for sun worshippers and swimmers of all ages. You can also rent chairs and umbrellas if you’d rather not feel the burn. Rest assured the day will remain family-friendly, as no alcohol is allowed on this beach. Admission ranges from $10 to $12.
If you don’t plan on camping on another beach nearby or opted not to rent a beach house, there are many hotels along Galveston’s Gulf coast. But only one can boast status as being the most historic—at more than 100 years old! The Hotel Galvez and Spa is located approximately one and a half miles south of Stewart Beach. It offers not only a premium night’s sleep, but also an onsite health spa and a fully equipped tness center. The swimming pool and hot tub make for a well-rounded resort-style experience. While there may be no need to venture out while staying at the Galvez (aside from visiting Stewart Beach), the hotel provides bicycles to guests allowing you to explore the seawall of Galveston Island and its many restaurants, shops and, of course, beaches. Galveston.com, HotelGalvez.com
Mustang Island, Port Aransas
Families looking for a beach vacation sans myriad of tourists, perhaps found at other Gulf Coast shores, should plan to visit Mustang Island. To nd this almost- hidden gem, make your way south of Corpus Christi across the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway to the island. With an 18-mile stretch of public shoreline, Mustang Island is for surfers, sand castle architects, sunbathers and nature lovers. It’s not unusual for beach goers to kayak along the coast in the morning, relax under an umbrella in the afternoon sun and wade in the warm evening waters of the Gulf admiring some of the 600 species of native sh—all in one day. And at the end of your very full day, the question is: Where will you stay?
You could choose between campsites and RV parks, but if you are looking to crash in a beach town, look to Port Aransas or “Port A,” as locals call it. Choose from hotels, cottages or beach houses—Port A offers all three. As the only city on Mustang Island, it’s packed with tons of character in a small-town setting where you can sleep, shop and dine on island time. When in the Gulf, do as Gulf diners do—look for the best seafood in town. Ranked as the No. 1 Port Aransas restaurant by Trip Advi- sor, Irie’s Island Food promises to serve dishes that put a twist on local island favorites and those from around the world. MustangIslandTexas.org, PortAransas.org, IriesIslandFood.com
Matagorda Bay and Beach, Matagorda
If you are looking for the perfect balance of high-activity and laid-back vacationing, a visit to Matagorda Bay and Beach is in order. Located at the mouth of the Colorado River on the upper Texas coast, the town of Matagorda sees its share of tourists. However, with 22 miles of beach reachable by vehicle and an additional 33 miles only accessible by boat, there’s plenty of sand to go around. You can build sandcastles, search for sand dollars and dip your feet in the sparkling waters of the bay.
If you’d rather dip a shing line in the bay waters, there are 55 miles of coastline to explore. The bay itself is 6.6 feet deep and covers approximately 422 square miles. Known for being one of the best shing locations in the region, Matagorda Bay has garnered this status based on its nutrient-rich estuary that is home to more than 21 different types of sh. Whether you prefer wade shing, drift shing, surf shing or offshore shing from small boats, the bay—and an additional plethora of rivers, creeks and bayous—is a sherman’s paradise.
If you can pull yourself away from the shore, we suggest heading to Poco Playa Bar and Village Restaurant. This 17,000-square-foot restaurant, bar and artisan village features a casual indoor and outdoor dining and drinking eatery, tackle shop, boutique and museum. MatagordaBayTexas.com, PocoPlaya.com