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Best Family Beaches in Texas – Your Definitive List

It’s time to bust out the suntan lotion and soak up the rays, as the beaches of Texas are calling your name. Sure, the Lone Star State doesn’t get as much acclaim for its beaches as nearby neighbors Florida and California, but it has beaches just as stunning.


These family beaches are excellent for beating the sweltering Texas heat. Better yet, many are considered hidden gems with fewer crowds.

Are you ready to get exploring? I bet you are! Buckle up and let’s check out some truly awesome places to travel to with the family.

Magnolia Beach

Image: Facebook

Port Lavaca’s Magnolia Beach is 1.5 miles of sweet seashore. The small community has fewer than 220 people living there (as of 2020). Part of Matagorda Bay, Magnolia Beach has hard-packed sand and seawater with under 20 percent salinity due to the nearby Lavaca and Colorado Rivers.

Most people who visit do so in their RVs, as the sand isn’t awesome for making castles or digging holes. The sea is fine for swimming, and kids will like how the water isn’t salty (well, who am I kidding, adults will also appreciate this), but be forewarned that the beach has no lifeguards.

If your kids aren’t strong swimmers, you’ll probably want to be out there with them in the water.

The area has one shop, so it’s good if you’re passing through Port Lavaca and want to get out and stretch your legs while traveling in your RV with the family, or if you want to fall asleep in your RV listening to the sea.

Whitecap Beach


Corpus Christi has a lot of claims to fame, from the Texas State Aquarium to the USS Lexington, the South Texas Botanical Gardens, Whataburger Field, and the Art Museum of South Texas.

One attraction it doesn’t get as much acclaim for (but it should!) is its collection of beaches. I’ll talk about them all, as you can’t review the best family beaches in Texas without touching on them.

Let’s begin with Whitecap Beach on the Michael J Ellis Beach & Seawall. Its name comes from its crystal-clear white sands. This hidden gem isn’t very large as beaches go but there’s plenty of space to roam and explore.

The Padre Island Seawall is contained between it and nearby South Packery Beach. The seawall is the home of condominiums, hotels, and resorts, so it’s an excellent spot if your family is interested in an extended stay during your Texas sojourn.

Getting back to Whitecap Beach, it offers lifeguards for safer swimming. Better yet, you can take advantage of free parking to keep your family travel itinerary affordable. The beach is ADA-compliant, with much softer sand than at Magnolia Beach.

Showers and dressing rooms make it easy to get ready for a beach day with the family, then get all the sand out of your suits before you pack back into the car.

Since it’s adjacent to a resort area, you will have access to rentals for playing in the sea or on the sand. You can travel light by plane, car, or RV and still have a rousting time!

South Packery Beach  


You can also hop across to the other side of the Padre Island Seawall in Corpus Christi and check out South Packery Beach. This spot is considered the quieter of the two between it and Whitecap Beach.

Known as South Packery Jetty Beach, it’s near Mustang and South Padre Islands. It has a nice beach with soft sand but can sometimes have riptides, so always exercise caution before taking a swim.

South Packery Beach is a popular spot for fishing, with tarpon, kingfish, trout, and grouper common here. You’re also about 25 minutes from Corpus Christi’s downtown area, so you can make a whole day of your stay.

If South Packery Beach is in the same proximity to the resorts and hotels on the Padre Island Seawall as Whitecap Beach, then why doesn’t it get the same crowds?

Part of it is that it’s hard to reach this beach compared to Whitecap! You have to take Access Road 3A to get there. Once you arrive, you must park on side roads unless you have a beach parking permit. Then you can use the onsite parking.

It’s free to enter South Packery Beach either way, which is open all year and 24/7.  

Galveston Island State Park


From one of the least-known Texas state beaches to one of the best-known, families always gravitate toward Galveston Island State Park in Galveston County. The park is part bay, part beach, and all fun.

Besides swimming, surfing, and making sandcastles, you and your family can try activities like geocaching, paddling, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, or watching birds. Camping sites are RV-friendly, with many offering beachside views and electricity, nearby bathrooms and showers, water hookups, and a fire ring.

If you’d rather not rough it after driving all day (and I can’t blame you at all for that), Galveston Island State Park has two lodges for rent. One is the Ranch House for up to six, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Ranch House boasts twin beds in two bedrooms, a master bedroom with a queen-sized bed, an outdoor deck, heat and AC, furnishings in the living room, a washer/dryer, a full bathroom, a dishwasher, a fridge and micro, and a fireplace.

Stewart House is the other lodge on the state park grounds, with three bedrooms for up to eight people. This home boasts a screened porch for drinking in the beauty of a Texas morning or sunset without all the bugs.

The lodges go fast, so don’t hesitate to book if you’re interested in staying! Otherwise, you and your family can be shut out.

Matagorda Beach


Matagorda County frequently attracts families on travels because of Matagorda Beach. The town boasts almost 60 miles of sandy beaches, with Matagorda Beach among the most well-liked.

Come on in via one of two entrances, with FM2031 taking you straight to the beach’s main entrance if you take it south for seven miles. You’re not charged to camp on the beach (score!), but you are limited to a 72-hour stay.

If you plan to drive your RV onto the beach, be aware that you must have a Matagorda County Beach Vehicle Permit. The sand is also soft, so don’t try it unless you have a four-wheel drive vehicle.

The ocean here is picture-perfect and simply gorgeous. You and your family will feel ultra tempted to take a dip. By all means, go on in, but be aware that riptides are prevalent here, especially around the piers and jetties.

If you see a riptide warning, don’t risk it!

Overall, Matagorda Beach is worth the visit because it’s not crowded and has such a peaceful atmosphere. Just be careful when going into the water.

El Jardin Beach

Image: BeachCatcher

Harris County’s El Jardin Beach is great for families who are looking for a chill beach experience. The beach has picnic tables and grassy areas for sitting down to a homemade packed lunch (The West End Restaurant & Sandbar Grill is nearby if you want something from a restaurant).

The bayou and lake are beloved for fishing and swimming. The beach is four and a half acres, so while it’s plenty big for most families, if it gets crowded, you might find space a little sparse.

Another point to note is that many families and visitors bring their dogs to the beach, so if your kids are afraid of canines, maybe find a different spot.

If you live in the area, you don’t have to pay to get onto the beach. However, the fee for non-residents is $5 per child and $10 per adult.

Lighthouse Beach


A Port Lavaca staple, Lighthouse Beach is one of the most admired attractions here. Since it has such a reputation, the beach can get busy. It brings in RV owners (since the beach has hookups), anglers (for its fishing pier), swimmers, and families looking for something to do on a fun summer day.

Take a stroll on the beach’s walkway and see what kind of wildlife you can spot. If you have a keen eye, you can see some interesting creatures (of course, that also depends on the time of year you visit).

The tidal marshes and open water are inviting enough for taking a dip or strolling along the shoreline.

Boca Chica State Park


As one of Texas’s most famous beaches, Boca Chica in Brownsville should go on your shortlist for family vacationing. The beach in Boca Chica State Park is more than 1,000 acres between Boca Chica and Del Mar. It’s a beloved spot for surfing, fishing, camping, birding, and swimming in its seas.

Here are some cool facts about this beach. The waters of the Rio Grande empty in, and you can see views into Mexico from some parts of the park, including the Space X facility. It often attracts scientists and academicians for that reason.

Boca Chica Beach’s sands are sometimes littered in shells, which will make collecting them with the kiddos fun, but you will definitely need a pair of beach shoes!

Porretto Beach


Welcome to Porretto Beach, which has been branded the best on Galveston Island. Whether you agree with that remains to be seen, but the only way to find out is to go with the family!

I will say that as far as traditional beach experiences go, this one has everything you’re looking for. You can park right on the sand to shorten your walk to the shoreline, then rent beach chairs or umbrellas so you don’t have to lug around too much stuff.

Rent some jet skis, get fresh food and drink delivered right to you by the beach staff, and then enjoy the seemingly endless shoreline and crystal blue ocean.

Porretto Beach is privately owned by the Porretto family, so sometimes weddings and other events go on. That can limit how much you can use the beach.

San Jose Island


Escape to San Jose Island in Port Aransas. This Texas gem features more than 300 native bird species, 21 miles of picturesque coastline, and 600 native fish species (so yes, expect lots of anglers).

If you’re coming from Dallas or Fort Worth, the island is six hours by car, and it’s under four hours from Houston, Austin, Brownsville, or San Antonio.

Besides fishing, San Jose Island is an excellent spot for birding, especially on the observation decks and boardwalks. Even if you aren’t into birds, those spots are nice to visit and take in the sea and surf.

The beaches are natural and sometimes littered with sand dollars, shark eyes, lightning whelks, and other shells and sea treasures.

After a fun day of playing, swimming, and sunning, you can retreat to a nearby vacation rental at a beach house, cottage, or RV resort. Hotels, motels, and camping spaces are also in the vicinity.

Besides that, Port A has plenty of dining options for all sorts of tastes and budgets and lots of shopping for picking up souvenirs.

Padre Island National Seashore


Padre Island National Seashore is another spot to make a beeline for during your Texas vacation adventure. The coastline that surrounds the Gulf of Mexico is rife with history, once housing Spanish explorers and Native Americans.

Do you own an RV? Check out the Malaquite Campground. The Bird Island Basin Campground is also good for RVs or if staying in a tent on the grass. You’ll have a gorgeous view of the beach when you wake up!

You and the family will stay busy all day here between the shell collecting, birding, windsurfing, fishing, swimming, paddling, and boating you can do. Your kids can also partake in a ranger program to learn more about Texas’s unique ecosystem.

Speaking of, if you visit in the summer, you just might be lucky enough to witness the sea turtle hatchlings being released into the ocean!

Mustang Island State Park


Get away to Mustang Island State Park, one of the most esteemed beaches in Texas. The miles-long beach via the Gulf of Mexico has soft sand for building sandcastles and sculptures, clear water for swimming, and plenty of birds flying around for watchers (the fall and spring are best for this).

When you and the family dry off, try geocaching, paddling on the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail, or kayaking. The picnic areas are great for a yummy lunch together.

If you don’t want to go home after a thrilling day, you don’t have to! Mustang Island State Park has 50 basic drive-up sites and 48 campsites with electricity and water along with portable toilets, showers, and restrooms.

Isla Blanca Park

Image: YouTube

The Cameron County gem Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island (way down south on the island) is a cozier beach than some of the others I’ve just recommended. Its beach is more than a mile long, with great views of the Gulf of Mexico.

What do you and the family want to do? However you answer, you’ll have amenities at your fingertips. The marina has rentable equipment for parasailing, jet skiing, diving, snorkeling, and more.

You can schedule an offshore or bay fishing trip, rent a cabana or boat, and use the boat ramp. Island Blanca Park has more than 600 RV sites if you’d like to stay for a while and tent sites for overnight camping.

Pick up a meal with onsite food concessions, then retire to a shady picnic bench and enjoy the fresh sea breeze with your meal. Shower and restroom facilities are available.

I’m not done. The area has restaurants around it for expanding your dining options, not to mention its own water park!

Rockport Beach

Image: Rockport Beach

Rockport’s own Rockport Beach, nicknamed “Texas’ First Blue Wave Beach,” refers to a specific type of beach. Blue Wave Beaches, according to Rockport, are “clean, managed responsibly and focuses on the protection of human health and the environment.”

Elaborating further, a Blue Wave Beach has gorgeous waters ready for swimming, public restrooms, handicap accessibility, and—most importantly—no litter.

Rockport Beach is one of three Blue Wave Beaches on the Gulf Coast, so spending a day here is a treat. Besides the enviably gorgeous waters, you’ll find a sizable fishing pier (800 feet, baby!) that supports activities like jet skiing, sailboarding, and sail boating.

The three-acre grounds that surround the beach are often the home of markets, holidays, events, and festivals, so check the calendar before your visit. You just might be in for something extra-special to cap off your family’s amazing day.

Plus, Rockport Beach is a hop, skip, and a jump from Downtown Rockport, a bustling area with dining, shopping, and local wares.

Surfside Beach


The small Brazoria County city of Surfside Beach on Follet’s Island also has a beach for families looking for a fun experience in Texas. The coastal beach is part of a city with a population of under 500, making Surfside Beach another hidden gem.

The waves here are especially awesome for surfing, so if you or the kids are into that, you will have a ball here. Otherwise, be careful when splashing around in the sea, as the ocean swells can get kind of large.

East Beach

Image: Visit Galveston

One of several Galveston beaches people love to visit, East Beach on Galveston Island will help you and your fam live on island time.

East Beach is the site of the American Institute of Architects’ annual Sandcastle Competition. If you’re lucky enough to stop by when it’s happening, you can see more than 50 teams work their hardest under the sweating Texas sun to build the best sand structure and win the Golden Bucket Award.

If you miss the AIA Sandcastle Competition, there are plenty more events throughout the year that happen on East Beach.

Besides, you’ll be plenty busy with a large boardwalk to stroll across, a pavilion for taking refuge from the sun, a serene bird sanctuary, an entertainment stage, and the beach itself. You can get everything you need for a day of beach fun here, including beach supplies, food and beverages, and umbrellas and chairs to rent.

Bathrooms with showers, are available to use, and the beach has lifeguards on duty for a safe swimming experience for children of all ages.

Stewart Beach

Image: Visit Galveston

Galveston Island is also the home of Stewart Beach, a highly-rated beach between the Seawall and Broadway that offers much of the same serenity, entertainment, and enjoyment you’d expect at South Beach.

Unlike South Beach, where alcohol is allowed, Stewart Beach prohibits it, keeping the vibe more kid-friendly. You can find concession stands dotted across the beach to stock up on drinks, snacks, and meals.

Beach supplies, including chairs and umbrellas for rent, are available, as are bathrooms and showers while the beach is open. These amenities close within 30 minutes of the end of the beach day.

Best of all, Stewart Beach is patrolled by lifeguards so you can take a breath while your kids enjoy the gorgeous sand and surf.

North Beach


Over in Corpus Christi, North Beach near Harbor Bridge should go onto your consideration list as you weigh your options for where to take your family next. Ranked as one of America’s best urban beaches, North Beach is a mile long, making it just the right size for a day of family fun.

The beach nicknamed Corpus Christi Beach is beloved for its jetty fishing, concrete boardwalk for cycling or strolling, and perfect sand and surf. The beach is always expanding, with plans to add a playground for the kiddos.

While you’re here, check out the Pier 99 Restaurant, especially if you bring your pets on all your vacations. This restaurant has a Canine Menu just for four-legged friends!

If making a whole vacation of your Corpus Christi stay, the area also features the Japonica Boat Tour, USS Lexington Museum, Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History, and Texas State Aquarium.

McGee Beach


Extend your Corpus Christi stay at McGee Beach, which is located near North Beach in the downtown area. McGee Beach, which sits along the area’s seawall, is somehow even more popular, likely because it has perfect sand (seriously, it’s manicured) and no seaweed.

The Corpus Christi Bay flows into the beach, so the waters are regularly tame. That said, you will see plenty of people enjoying water sports here. If you and your family want to partake, head to Fun Time Rentals to pick up surrey bikes, pedal boats, or jet skis for rent.

You can also stock up on beach equipment through B.F. Rentals, from cabanas to chairs and umbrellas.

The beach’s primetime spot on Shoreline Boulevard puts you close to the Corpus Christi Marina and plenty of lodging and dining options. Oh, and did I mention the parking is free here? As if you needed another reason to go!