What are the Best Beaches in Texas for Families?

Sunrise views on the beach at Padre Island, Packery Channel Jetty, Michael J. Ellis Beach, Seawall.
Sunrise views on the beach at Padre Island, Packery Channel Jetty, Michael J. Ellis Beach, Seawall.

The best beaches in Texas for families are listed below:

  1. Padre Island National Seashore
  2. Mustang Island State Park
  3. San Jose Island
  4. Rockport Beach
  5. Sea Rim State Park, Port Arthur
  6. North Beach, Corpus Christi
  7. South Padre Island
  8. Lighthouse Beach, Port Lavaca

The rest of this article will tell you all you need to know about these Texan beaches, so you have all the information you need for planning your next family vacation. 

1.) Padre Island National Seashore

Sunrise views on the beach at Padre Island, Packery Channel Jetty, Michael J. Ellis Beach, Seawall.
Sunrise views on the beach at Padre Island, Packery Channel Jetty, Michael J. Ellis Beach, Seawall. Editorial credit: Gina Santoria / Shutterstock.com

Padre Island is a 113-mile barrier coast in the Gulf of Mexico that runs parallel to the Texas coast. According to the National Park Service, this national seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier coast in the world. 

Booking.com

Aside from being a habitat for over 380 native bird species, Padre Island National Seashore also serves as a safe nesting ground for the critically endangered Kemp’s Sea Turtle, and information about this incredible species – and others – is available at the Visitor’s Center. 

It features beautiful seashores and tranquil walking trails through various native grasses and wildflowers over the dunes. Because it’s a national seashore, there are no restaurants or hotels within the park’s boundaries, but it has campsites. If you don’t plan on camping, Corpus Christi is only 25 miles away. 

2.) Mustang Island State Park

Horace Caldwell Pier on Mustang Island, Texas on a cloudy day
Horace Caldwell Pier on Mustang Island, Texas on a cloudy day

This Texas state park includes five miles of coastline with fishing, kayaking, swimming, camping, bird watching, and even geocaching available. Large campsites, both electric and primitive, are available. 

The Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail is a great choice for fishermen and bird watchers, as the 20-mile stretch of coastal water is considered one of the best shallow-water fishing spots in the state. 

Aransas Pass is the closest city to Mustang Island State Park at only 19 miles away, which has amenities like hotels, shopping, restaurants, and more. If you prefer the city scene, Corpus Christi is also nearby at 35 miles away. 

3.) San Jose Island

Beautiful day at the beach on the Gulf Coast
Beautiful day at the beach on the Gulf Coast

San Jose Island is a treasure trove of shells, fishing havens, and sparkling coastal waters. Its North Jetty is considered the fishing capital of Texas with great spots to catch speckled trout, flounder, and redfish.

The beach is just a short ferry ride from Port Aransas, which contains plenty of amenities – local shops, restaurants, hotels, rental cottages, and more. 

4.) Rockport Beach

Rockport Beach Texas
Rockport Beach Texas. Editorial credit: Grossinger / Shutterstock.com

Partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Clean Beaches Coalition (CBC), Rockport Beach and its waters are tested twice a week for bacteria levels. The CBC is committed to maintaining clean and healthy beaches.

It’s one of the safest beaches for families, as any high bacteria readings are made public to immediately warn beachgoers. Because of this program, Rockport Beach is also known as Texas’s first Blue Wave Beach. 

Rockport Beach includes volleyball courts and children’s playgrounds. Its four beachfront pavilions are available for rent for weddings and other events. 

5.) Sea Rim State Park

Sandpiper running in surf at Sea Rim State Park, Texas
Sandpiper running in surf at Sea Rim State Park, Texas

Located in Sabine Pass just west of the Texas-Louisiana border, Sea Rim State Park is a unique blend of coastline and marshlands. Its entry fees are very affordable at just $3 for day use per adult, and free entry for children under 12. 

Sea Rim State Park teems with wildlife, including alligators, several crab species, river otters, and a plethora of bird species including the roseate spoonbill and several varieties of heron and egret. 

Birdwatching, camping, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking are available activities in the park. Hunting, if it’s in season, is also permitted. Electric and primitive campsites are available if you plan on staying overnight. Port Arthur and Sabine Pass are located nearby if you opt to stay in a hotel instead.

6.) North Beach, Corpus Christi

North Beach, Corpus Christi
North Beach, Corpus Christi

This 1.5- mile stretch of shoreline is located among the many attractions of Corpus Christi. With a plethora of family fun including restaurants, museums, shopping, and swimming, North Beach is the perfect option if you don’t want to drive very far between amenities and attractions. 

North Beach sits between two attractions: the first is the USS Lexington Museum, which features an enormous World War II vintage aircraft carrier that is open to the public for tour.

The second attraction is the Texas State Aquarium, which contains species from the Gulf of Mexico’s natural ecosystems. Species include sharks, dolphins, sea lions, alongside species from other regions of the state of Texas such as various reptiles and amphibians. 

7.) South Padre Island

A beautiful soft and fine sandy beach along the gulf coast of South Padre Island, Texas
A beautiful soft and fine sandy beach along the gulf coast of South Padre Island, Texas

Countless attractions draw visitors and locals alike to South Padre Island every year. As its name suggests, South Padre Island lies at the southernmost end of San Padre Island and is roughly 100 miles from Padre Island National Seashore.

South Padre Island includes amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and shopping directly on the island, so you don’t have to go far to find family fun. 

Activities to do on the island include nature centers, sandcastle building lessons, kitesurfing, horseback riding, and even amusement parks. There is even a marine biology laboratory that sponsors education outreach programs. Children and adults alike can take guided tours of the facility and view sea life up close, learn about sea turtles, and support graduate research at the UTPA. 

8.) Lighthouse Beach, Port Lavaca

Lighthouse Beach, Port Lavaca
Lighthouse Beach, Port Lavaca

With playgrounds, covered pavilion, and shallow water mostly devoid of sharp rocks, Lighthouse Beach is an ideal location for families with children. It includes a bird sanctuary, where beginner and expert birdwatchers alike can view the many bird species native to south Texas. 

For camping, Lighthouse Beach offers both RV hook-ups and tent camping sites, with amenities such as shower houses, restrooms, and even a laundry facility for campers. A 2200-foot-long boardwalk made completely of recycled materials spans the walk from the beach to the Alcoa Birding Tower. 

If you don’t plan on camping at the beach, Port Lavaca is only a 5-minute drive and offers hotels, museums, shopping centers, and restaurants. The Half Moon Reef Lighthouse, which was built in 1858, is now a museum where you can learn all about the lighthouse’s rich history. 

See Also

US Beaches

Best Beaches in Texas

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!