texas coast

A Guide to Visiting Coastal Texas

Spring is in the air, and with it comes thoughts of the warm ocean breezes and sunny blue skies that make the beach an inviting destination. The coast of Texas has it all! Whether you’re in the mood for some much needed relaxation, deep sea fishing, or visiting some of Texas’ historic locations, you can find what you’re looking for somewhere along these 367 miles of seashore.


Coastal Camping

From Port Arthur to South Padre, there’s no shortage of great campsites for both tents and RVs on the beaches, near the bays, or in historic towns further inland.

Rockport, located between Copano and Aransas Bays, has long been a haven for fishing enthusiasts, and offers several great RV campgrounds close to the water with fishing amenities. Visit Bahia Vista RV Park for a 300-foot fishing pier with a cleaning station, and nearby chartered fishing tours, either in the bays or on the Gulf. South Padre Island, a popular beach destination, also offers a ton of great RV campgrounds, including Isla Blanca RV Park, located right on the tip of the island, just a short walk to the beach. 

Some of the best campgrounds on the Gulf beaches are Texas state parks. For instance, Mustang Island State Park in Port Aransas offers beachfront camping, so close to the sea you can hear the waves from your RV or tent. Galveston Island State Parks offers some of the same types of campgrounds, but nearer to a large population center for your convenience.


Attractions Along the Coast

The beach is always fun to visit, but the coast of Texas offers much more that often goes unnoticed. Starting in Galveston, be sure to check out Moody Gardens—you shouldn’t have trouble finding it, as it’s comprised of three futuristic-looking pyramids right on Galveston Bay. Moody Gardens is perfect for group outings and families. Inside of these three pyramids is one of the largest aquariums in the region. Wander through a rainforest replica and view tons of exotic species, or watch a film on the largest 3D screen in Texas.

Just to the north on the outskirts of Houston, you can visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center, while further down the coast in Corpus Christi, you can walk aboard the USS Lexington, a historic World War II-era aircraft carrier that has since been converted into a museum.


Scenic Drives

Sure, you could stick to the interstates and major highways, but if you want to see a different side of the coast, try venturing down and exploring some of the back roads.

One great trip to try: start in Galveston and head for the Galveston-Bolivar Ferry, which will take you across the bay and let you gaze out at the gulf and the town as it gets further and further away. Once you get to Bolivar, take State Highway 87 up the peninsula, where you’ll see some breathtaking beachfront views uninterrupted by cityscapes or urbanization. State Highway 35, beginning in Rockport, offers some great scenery of the bay areas and takes you through the heart of one of Texas’ finest bird watching areas.

Check your maps and if you see a stretch of road along the beach or near a bay and fairly distant from a major town, chances are you won’t be disappointed by what you see.


Other Tips 

  • Spring Break is right around the corner. If you want to experience a college spring break party atmosphere, head for South Padre. If you want to avoid this, try a place like Surfside Beach, about an hour and a half south of Houston.
  • Don’t get distracted by your back road driving, at least not so distracted you forget to fill up on gas. It can be a long way to the next gas station in some areas.
  • As always, don’t ruin your beach vacation by forgetting sunscreen. Nothing puts  a damper on the fun like a nasty sunburn.
  • Most importantly, have a good time. In a place like the Texas coast, it’s hard not to.


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