Houston beaches

Best Beaches Near Houston

If you’re looking for the best Houston beaches to visit on the next sunny afternoon you may have to travel a bit. Fortunately, Houston, Texas is located about 50 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico making it just a short drive to some of Texas’ best beaches.

There are several popular beach destinations within a few hours’ drive of Houston, including Galveston Island, Surfside Beach, and Corpus Christi. Keep reading to discover my list of Houston beaches within a short drive of the city.

Plus find out the top beach activities and my tips for a successful Houston beach trip.

Houston beaches

Tips for a Successful Beach Trip Near Houston

Summer is here, which means you are most likely planning a vacation to a local Houston beach. Keep reading to see my tips on all things from transportation options to beach necessities. Plus discover the top items you should pack on your trip.

Getting to a Houston beach

Are you making a day trip to the beach? If so, you’ll want to ensure you leave early to avoid traffic.

As we know, Houston traffic is awful during the morning and evening rush to work and back home, but leaving between 9 and 10 in the morning (or before 7) allows you to skip most of the traffic jams you’d be stuck in.

It’s a good idea to check the Houston Transtar traffic map before you leave the house to view any traffic delays that may be on your route as well. Thankfully, Houston is big enough that if there’s traffic on the route you were planning to go, you can always go a different way to save time.

What to bring to the beach

If you’re looking for a packing list for your beach day near Houston, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m a regular beachgoer and have had numerous successful trips to nearby beaches. It’s easy to overpack, but even easier to under-pack so keep reading to discover the most important items to bring with you.

  • Sunblock with SPF 30 or higher
  • Canopy
  • Baby powder (rub it on your legs and feet before getting into your car and the sand will wipe off easier)
  • Cooler of ice, water, hydrating snacks (like fruit), and other quick food options
  • Life jackets
  • Sand toys
  • Vinegar (for jellyfish stings)

Beach Safety Tips

The beaches near Houston can be a lot of fun, but as with any body of water, it can also be dangerous. Here are a few tips to keep your family as safe as possible when visiting Texas beaches.

Water Condition Safety Tips

Some beaches near Houston have a warning flag system in place to tell you of the waters conditions before you arrive and while you’re there. I highly suggest monitoring this before and during your visit to a beach.

Houston beach safety

Green and yellow flags are typically flown in Galveston beaches when it’s okay for everyone to enjoy the ocean water. When red, purple, or orange flags are flown please be extra cautious during your beach trip as water conditions could be more dangerous.

Jellyfish Warnings at the Beach

Watch for jellyfish, stingrays, and other beach creatures while in the water. While most jellyfish encountered in these waters are harmless, some species can deliver painful stings.

To reduce the risk of jellyfish encounters, it’s advisable to swim in designated areas patrolled by lifeguards. Lifeguards are well-trained to spot jellyfish or other potential hazards and can quickly alert beachgoers to any safety concerns by flying a purple flag.

If you spot a jellyfish in the water, give it a wide splash to push it away from you and avoid touching it, even if it appears to be dead. In the event of a jellyfish sting, it’s essential to rinse the affected area with vinegar, which can help neutralize the toxins. Avoid using freshwater, as it can worsen the sting.

Seek assistance from lifeguards or first aid stations if available, and if the reaction is severe or if you experience difficulty breathing, promptly seek medical attention.

Sun Exposure Tips When at the Beach

When enjoying a sunny day at the beach with your family, it’s essential to prioritize safety to ensure a fun and worry-free experience.

Sun protection is crucial to avoid sunburn and potential long-term skin damage. Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 before heading out to the beach, and reapply it every two hours, especially after swimming.

Don’t forget to protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses and consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to shield your face and neck from the sun’s rays too.

Stay hydrated on your Houston Beach Trip

Staying hydrated throughout your beach day is also vital in the Texas heat. Summers can be scorching, and the combination of heat and physical activity can lead to dehydration.

Bring plenty of water and encourage your family members to drink regularly, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Consider packing some hydrating snacks like fresh fruits to keep everyone nourished.

To avoid the peak heat of the day, try to plan your beach activities during the early morning or late afternoon hours when the sun’s intensity is less harsh, or use a canopy to block direct sun exposure when needed.

These precautions will help ensure a safe and enjoyable family outing at any beach.

Houston Area Beaches

Even though there are no true Houston beaches, there are several bodies of water just a few miles away from the big city. Grab your swim trunks and your canopy and let’s discover the most popular beaches near the Houston area.

Keep reading to see my list of the best Houston beaches within a short drive from Downtown.

Sylvan Beach Park

A beach with no seaweed sounds unheard of, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Sylvan Beach Park in La Porte, TX. This 32-acre, family-friendly beach has more than just sandy shores, water, and picnic tables.

Less than an hour’s drive away, Sylvan Beach Park is the perfect place to cast a line off the fishing pier, build a sand castle, take a boat ride, enjoy the playground and skate park, or just enjoy the gentle waves during the summer months.

Lago Mar Lagoon

The Lago Mar lagoon is located in La Marque, Texas on the northern outskirts of the city and is bordered by FM 1765 to the north and I-45 to the east.

It features a man-made lake and has several amenities including a community pool, a clubhouse, a fitness center, and a playground. 

The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a popular outdoor recreational area located in Huntsville, Texas. It features a large, crystal-clear lagoon that is perfect for swimming, kayaking, scuba diving, paddle boarding, and other water-based activities. The Blue Lagoon also has beautiful white sand beaches and plenty of space for sunbathing and relaxing.

Houston beaches

The lagoon is surrounded by beautiful scenery and is a perfect spot for nature lovers to explore. The area is home to many species of wildlife, including turtles, fish, and birds.

The Blue Lagoon is a private facility and requires a reservation to access it. It is open to the public on weekends and holidays from March through October, weather permitting. Visitors can rent kayaks, paddle boards, and other watercraft or bring their own.

Overall, the Blue Lagoon is a fantastic destination for those looking for outdoor fun and relaxation in the Huntsville, Texas area.

El Jardin Beach

Just 30 minutes outside of Houston in Seabrook, TX you’ll find El Jardin beach nestled inside a quiet neighborhood. The beach is relatively small and narrow, but it offers a picturesque view of the bay and a peaceful environment for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The water is generally calm and shallow, making it a great spot for families with young children.

El Jardin Beach also features a small playground area and a pavilion with picnic tables, making it a great spot for a family outing or a relaxing day by the bay. However, it is important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach, so swimmers should exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

One of the biggest pluses of El Jardin Beach is that it is rarely crowded despite its small size making it a perfect Houston beach getaway

Nonetheless, El Jardin is a perfect Houston beach getaway for a quick day trip from the city.  

Matagorda Bay

Matagorda Bay is a large estuary located on the Texas Gulf Coast, in the United States. It is fed by the Colorado River and several smaller creeks, and is approximately 50 miles long and 10 miles wide at its widest point. 

houston beaches

The bay is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, particularly for speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. Matagorda Bay is also popular for recreational activities such as boating, birdwatching, and beachcombing. 

The surrounding area features several parks, nature reserves, and historical sites, including the Matagorda Bay Nature Park, the Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area, and the Matagorda County Museum.

Galveston Island Beaches

Galveston Island in Texas is home to several beautiful beaches that offer a variety of activities and amenities along the Seawall Urban Park. The Seawall stretches for 10 miles along the coast and is lined with gift shops, restaurants, and hotels. It’s a great place to take a stroll, bike ride, or just sit and enjoy the view of the Gulf of Mexico as you visit beaches near Houston, TX.

Here are some of the best beaches in Galveston:

Stewart Beach

This beach is one of the most popular in Galveston and for good reason. With its clean sand, crystal-clear water, and family-friendly amenities, Stewart Beach is perfect for a day of fun in the sun. There are also plenty of amenities like showers, restrooms, concession stands, and beach chairs with umbrella rentals.

The beach has lifeguards on duty during peak season and is a designated Blue Wave Beach, indicating its commitment to clean water and environmental responsibility.

In addition to swimming and sunbathing, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities at Stewart Beach, including fishing, birdwatching, and playing beach games. The beach is also home to several annual events, such as the AIA Sandcastle Competition and the Galveston Island Beach Revue.

Stewart Beach is open year-round, but hours and services may vary depending on the season. There is a fee for each vehicle that enters, but it is reasonable as it guarantees a convenient location. The price ranges from $12 to $15.

East Beach

This beautiful beach is one of the largest and most popular in Galveston, with plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the sun. During summer weekends, the place is renowned for its lively party scene and exciting live music events.

Houston beach

There are amenities such as showers, restrooms, concessions, beach rentals, fishing, and kayaking too.

Galveston Island State Park

With both beach and bay sides, Galveston Island State Park has activities for every water lover. You can swim, paddle, fish, picnic, bird watch, camp, bike, and hike through nature trails.

Not only is Galveston Island State Park a fun day trip, but it can also be an educational opportunity too. They host wildlife and art programs for little learners eager to learn more about the plants and animals near Galveston Beach. It is a beautiful and relaxing spot to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea on Galveston Island.

Poretto Beach

Porretto Beach is a public beach located on the eastern end of Galveston Island in Texas, United States. Located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Galveston Seawall, this destination is famous for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear blue waters.

Porretto Beach offers a variety of amenities, including showers, restrooms, beach volleyball courts, and a picnic area. The beach is also popular among anglers, with several fishing areas available.

During the summer months, Porretto Beach hosts a number of events and concerts, including live music and fireworks displays. It is a popular destination for families, couples, and anyone looking to enjoy a day at the beach.

Crystal Beach

Take the ferry across the ocean to Bolivar Peninsula and enjoy the sand between your toes at Crystal Beach.

Crystal Beach, a popular destination known for its crystal-clear waters, soft sandy beaches, and stunning sunsets, is easily accessible via a quick ferry ride. It is a popular beach destination located on the Bolivar Peninsula, which is just northeast of Galveston Island in Texas. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities such as swimming, sunbathing, beach combing, fishing, crabbing, and bird watching.

beaches near Houston, Texas

Crystal Beach is also home to many vacation rentals, beach houses, and campgrounds, making it a great spot for a family getaway or a weekend retreat with friends. 

Before planning a trip to Crystal Beach, it is essential to be aware that the area can be affected by hurricanes and tropical storms. Therefore, it is advisable to check the weather and travel advisories to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Additionally, visitors should follow beach safety guidelines, such as swimming only in designated areas, watching out for strong currents, and being mindful of any beach warnings or closures.

Overall, Galveston has a beach for every taste, so it’s worth exploring a few to find the one that best suits your needs.

Beaches Further From Houston

Rockport Beach

Rockport Beach is a popular tourist destination located in Rockport, Texas due to its calm waters and popular activities. It is a public beach that spans 187 acres and offers a variety of activities and water sports for visitors to enjoy. The beach has been awarded the Blue Wave Certification by the Clean Beaches Coalition, which recognizes it as one of the cleanest and safest beaches in the country. 

Houston beach for kids

Some of the activities that visitors can enjoy at Rockport Beach include swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, cycling, and bird watching. Nature lovers will be thrilled to hear that it’s home to a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, pelicans, and other seabirds. But the fun doesn’t stop there. There are also picnic areas and playgrounds available for families to enjoy, as well as barbecue pits, volleyball courts, public restrooms, and shower facilities.

Overall, Rockport Beach is a great place to visit for those looking to enjoy a relaxing day by the water and take part in a variety of outdoor activities.

South Padre Island

South Padre Island is a barrier island located in the Gulf of Mexico, off the southern coast of Texas. It is known for its miles of coastline, beautiful beaches, warm weather, and a wide range of outdoor activities.

beaches near Houston

Some of the popular activities on South Padre Island include swimming, sunbathing, surfing, kayaking, boating, fishing, and birdwatching. The island is also home to several wildlife sanctuaries and nature reserves, such as the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, where visitors can observe a variety of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife species.

In addition to outdoor activities, South Padre Island also offers a variety of entertainment options, including live music, nightlife, and shopping. The island is known for its annual events, such as the South Padre Island Kite Fest, the Texas International Fishing Tournament, and the Sandcastle Days festival. 

Texas beaches near Houston

Overall, South Padre Island is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as a range of outdoor activities and entertainment options.

Sea Rim State Park

Sea Rim State Park is a state park located on the Texas Gulf Coast, near the city of Port Arthur. It covers an area of about 5,000 acres and offers a variety of outdoor recreational activities, including camping, fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching.

One of the main attractions of Sea Rim State Park is its 5-mile-long beach, which is known for its beautiful white sand and clear waters. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy a variety of water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing.

The park also offers several hiking and biking trails that wind through the park’s marshes, forests, and beaches. Birdwatching is a popular activity in the park, as it is home to over 200 bird species, including pelicans, egrets, and herons.

Camping is available in the park, with both RV and tent sites available. There are also several picnic areas and playgrounds for families to enjoy. Fishing is a popular activity, with the park’s marshes and bayous providing opportunities to catch a variety of fish, including redfish, flounder, and trout.

Bryan Beach

Bryan Beach is a beautiful public beach located in Freeport, Texas. It is a perfect destination for beachgoers, anglers, bird watchers, and nature lovers. The beach is named after the town of Bryan in Brazoria County, which was located nearby but has since disappeared due to storms and erosion. Bryan Beach is wheelchair accessible, with paved walkways and boardwalks.

Bryan Beach features a wide expanse of soft sand, gentle surf, and clear blue water. It is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and playing beach games. The beach is also known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with catches including redfish, trout, flounder, and more.

In addition to its natural beauty, Bryan Beach is home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and a variety of bird species. Visitors can often spot pelicans, sandpipers, gulls, and other seabirds along the shoreline.

Port Aransas

Port Aransas is a small coastal town located on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico. It is known for its beautiful beaches, fishing opportunities, and laid-back atmosphere.

Houston beaches

The town has a population of around 3,500 people, but it attracts many visitors throughout the year, especially during the summer months. Port Aransas offers a variety of activities, such as beach combing, fishing, birdwatching, kayaking, and surfing.

In addition to its natural attractions, Port Aransas also has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with several galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists. The town also hosts several festivals and special events, including the Texas Sand Fest, the Whooping Crane Festival, and the Deep Sea Roundup fishing tournament.

Whether you want to travel a few hours or drive right up the road for your next beach day, there are plenty of Houston area beaches for you to choose from. Which one will you visit next? Do you have another Houston beach that I should add to my list? Leave your favorite vacation spots in the comment section below.

Activities and Attractions: What to Do at Houston’s Beaches

There are so many fun activities and attractions to keep you and your family busy when visiting the nearby Houston beaches. Keep reading to discover my favorite things to do when planning your next day trip to the beach.

Water Sports and Activities

Texas beaches offer a wide range of exciting water sports and activities to cater to every beach enthusiast. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, jet skiing and parasailing are popular choices, allowing you to soar above the Gulf of Mexico and take in breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline.

Kayaking and paddleboarding are fantastic options for a more serene experience, letting you explore the tranquil waters and get up close to the coastal wildlife.

Snorkeling is a must-do activity to discover the vibrant marine life beneath the surface, as Galveston’s waters are home to various colorful fish and even the occasional sea turtle.

Families can enjoy building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply basking in the sun while enjoying the gentle waves.

Whether you seek thrills or tranquility, Galveston’s beaches offer an array of water sports and activities to create cherished memories for everyone.

Fishing and Beachcombing: Exploring Houston’s Beaches on Foot

Fishing and beachcombing are two cherished pastimes that perfectly complement the coastal charm of our Houston beaches. Anglers of all ages and skill levels will find joy in the diverse fishing opportunities this island offers.

From casting lines off the piers or jetties to chartering boats for deep-sea excursions, there are endless possibilities to reel in a variety of fish species, including redfish, trout, flounder, and more.

fishing near Houston

Additionally, beachcombing is a relaxing and rewarding activity that allows visitors to uncover hidden treasures along the sandy shores. Whether searching for seashells, colorful sea glass, or fascinating marine artifacts washed ashore, beachcombing provides a delightful way to connect with the beauty of nature while strolling along the water’s edge.

Both fishing and beachcombing in Galveston present unique experiences, fostering a sense of wonder and appreciation for the coastal wonders that make this destination truly special.

Land-Based Activities Near Houston Beaches

Galveston’s beaches not only offer fun in the water but also provide fantastic opportunities for picnicking and hiking, immersing visitors in the areas natural beauty.

Picnicking along the sandy shores or in nearby parks allows families and friends to savor a delightful meal amidst the soothing sounds of the waves and the refreshing ocean breeze. With numerous beachfront picnic areas equipped with tables and grills, it’s easy to enjoy a leisurely day of feasting and relaxation.

For those seeking to explore diverse landscapes, hiking trails present a wonderful adventure. The Galveston Island State Park offers picturesque trails through marshlands and coastal forests, showcasing an array of bird species and wildlife. The 32-mile Seawall Urban Park also serves as an ideal pathway for walkers and joggers, providing stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and an opportunity to witness the vibrant local scene.

Whether indulging in a beachfront picnic or embarking on a hiking journey, Galveston’s beaches provide the perfect backdrop for memorable outdoor experiences.

beaches near Houston

So which Houston area beach will you be visiting this summer? Did I forget a local favorite off my list that I need to add? Leave a comment and tell me all about the best Houston beach that I should add.

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