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7 Best Beaches in Texas (and Awesome Nearby Campsites)

7 Best Beaches in Texas (and Awesome Nearby Campsites)

The Lonestar state has a long coast full of sandy beaches. Most are located right on the Gulf of Mexico.  The inland bays may have tamer surf and sand, but one thing is true of both: they offer great getaway destinations with camping nearby. 

In fact, beaches in Texas are among the most economical beaches in the USA.

If you’re anything like us, you think camping on the beach is way better than an overpriced hotel. That’s why we’re sharing the best nearby campsites, too.

Here’s our picks for the 7 best beaches in Texas:

Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world, with 65 miles of Gulf Shore beach.  As it is protected, most of the island is primitive without development, and it lays on the migratory path of many birds. 

In fact, more than 380 species have been documented here, so it is a great spot for bird watching, and recent efforts to re-establish sea turtle nesting almost guarantee that you will see Kemp’s ridley sea turtle during mating or hatching season.

Here are the best activities around Padre Island.

Location:  Located on a barrier island just west of Corpus Christi, Padre Island National Seashore starts at the end of Mustang Island and runs for 70 miles south to South Padre Island.  

GPS coordinates:  27°29’27.9″N 97°17’11.5″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  Padre Balli Park lies just north of the national seashore and is right on the beach.  With full hookups and very spacious sites, campers will feel spoiled as they can walk directly from their campsite to the shore.

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

South Padre Island

For fun in the sun and a festive atmosphere, beach goers swarm South Padre Island, especially during Spring Break.  Families take over the sand the rest of the year, as warm temperatures abound year round. 

Most come for water activities like jet skiing, kiteboarding and fishing, but horseback riding on the beach is popular, as well.  There are numerous high-rise condominiums and hotels on the island, and campgrounds can be found both here and on the mainland.

Here are the best activities in South Padre.

Location:  Sitting just offshore from Port Isabel, South Padre Island can be accessed via the Queen Isabella Causeway. 

GPS coordinates:  26°06’41.6″N 97°10’05.4″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Situated just off the causeway on the bay, the South Padre Island KOA is a perfect location for participating in water sports or exploring town.  Full hookups abound, as do the amenities, like a pool, fitness center, and onsite restaurant, and the campsites are huge, handling rigs of any size.

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

Mustang Island

Mustang Island is also a Spring Break location for college students, but is not as developed as its southernmost neighbor, South Padre Island.  Much of Mustang is inhabited by Mustang Island State Park, and the island as a whole is not very developed. 

There are a few homes and resorts, but most visitors languish on the sunny beaches and cast a rod or play in the surf here, then hit their campsite at the state park or venture back to Corpus Christi for lodging and nightlife.

Location:  Mustang Island lies just north of Padre Island and south of San Jose Island. 

GPS coordinates:  27°42’43.2″N 97°09’46.2″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Mustang Island State Park has 48 campsites with electric and water hookups and 50 primitive sites on the beach.  Hot showers and clean restrooms, along with shade shelters and outdoor grills complete the amenities at this beachside campground. 

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

Rockport Beach

Rockport has the distinction of being the first beach in Texas to be certified a “Blue Wave Beach.” This means it meets the standards of the National Clean Beaches Coalition. 

The criteria that set Rockport Beach apart are its accessibility by handicapped visitors, its litter-free beach, public restrooms, and its swimmable waters.  The beach is small, though.

It has a pier at each end. The sand is dreamy, sloping predictably into the calm waters of the harbor, protected from Gulf currents by the barrier land that is San Jose Island.  

Location:  Rockport Beach is located on the mainland just across Aransas Pass. 

GPS coordinates:  28°01’49.5″N 97°02’21.7″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Just five blocks from the waterfront, Taylor Oaks RV Park lies in the city of Rockport.  It offers 60 campsites in the midst of coastal live oak trees. The park provides full hookups, clean showers, and a laundry on site.  Even downtown is within walking distance.

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  8/10

Boca Chica Beach

Truly in the middle of nowhere, Boca Chica Beach is a stretch of quiet sand three miles north of the mouth of the mighty Rio Grande River, marking the US/Mexico border.  If you are looking for solitude and beachfront all to yourself, this is definitely the place. 

SpaceX has a launch control and tracking center just down the road a couple of miles, but there are no services in the region.  The tip of South Padre Island is just north of here, so Boca Chica is a nice juxtaposition to the rowdy beach party atmosphere – a tranquil escape.

Location:  Boca Chita Beach lies 23 miles east of Brownsville and 3 miles north of the Mexico border. 

GPS coordinates:  25°59’47.3″N 97°09’00.4″W

Great Nearby Campsite:  Isla Blanca Park offers over 600 RV campsites with beach access on the southern end of South Padre Island.  With amenities like cabanas, a waterpark, and restaurants on-site, it feels more like a resort than a county park!  Full hookup and partial hookup sites are available.

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  8.5/10

Seawall Urban Park

What more can any sun-loving beachcomber want than a 10 mile stretch of sand with an amusement park on it and numerous restaurants and hotels scattered on its edges?  Seawall Urban Park offers day-trippers the perfect place to play, eat and bag a tan, as the center of the beach scene in Galveston. 

Think of it as a Texas version of Santa Cruz, with a little southern drawl thrown in!

Here are the best activities in Galveston, Texas.

Location:  Located along the seawall in the town of Galveston, Seawall Urban Park is close to everything! 

GPS Location:  29°18’06.4″N 94°46’26.2″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Sandpiper RV Resort is a two-year-old campground with 43 level sites on concrete pads.  Each site has full amenities and a picnic table. The resort has an infinity pool, clean showers, and a laundry facility.

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  9.2/10

North Beach / Corpus Christi Beach

A mile-and-a-half of pristine sand lines the waterfront on Corpus Christi Bay, where North Beach provides a great view of Mustang Island and the Gulf of Mexico. 

With a concrete boardwalk, the beach is accessible to baby strollers, bicyclists, and skaters. Its central location means a quick walk to the immensely popular Texas State Aquarium and the SS Lexington floating in the bay.

Location: North Beach lies right on Corpus Christi Bay.  GPS coordinates:  27°49’28.7″N 97°23’04.8″W

Great Nearby Campsite: Puerto Del Sol RV Park offers a water view on two sides of the campground.  Utilize a clean shower house, laundry, rec room, and convenience store, and if you’re interested in catching dinner, you can fish from the park!

Texas Beach Vibes Score:  9/10

Plan Your Texas Beach Camping Trip!

Maybe it’s time to feel the sand between your toes and hear the surf crashing out your front door.  After all there are so many great beaches in Texas that offer everything from party lights to quiet nights. 

Use this list to give you a head start in planning your own escape to the coast.

We use RV Trip Wizard to route our cross country trips.

It allows us to avoid steep passes, tolls, and tunnels – making travel day way less stressful! Try RV Trip Wizard Free for 7 Days.

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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