10 Best Beaches in Houston

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Beaches in Houston- Despite being primarily known for its landlocked cities, Texas may not be the first state that comes to mind when considering beaches. However, numerous stunning coastal options exist thanks to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Houston stands out as an ideal gateway to these beautiful beaches.

This guide will unveil Houston’s best beaches, ensuring you have an unforgettable beach experience in this unexpected coastal gem.

Best Beaches In Houston

Although the beaches in Houston may require a drive to reach, they offer a range of experiences to suit everyone’s preferences. You’ll find it all here whether you seek peaceful seclusion or lively party vibes. If you’re the active type, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports and soaking up the sun.

On the other hand, if you’re drawn to historic architecture, there are also intriguing sights to explore. Rest assured, you’ve arrived at the perfect resource to discover all the essential information for enjoying the finest beaches in Houston, Texas.

Surfside Beach In Houston

Despite its name, Surfside Beach in Houston is a more relaxed and laid-back destination. If you’re searching for a beach with extensive amenities, you may have better choices.

However, if you’re seeking a vast undeveloped shoreline to explore, we highly recommend it. Surfside Beach offers the perfect setting to unwind, build sandcastles, swim, collect seashells, and even go fishing.

One of the notable features of this beach is its deep waters, although the waves are typically small, making it a fantastic place for beginners to learn how to surf. While the beach may have few additional facilities, a delightful nearby small town is worth exploring. For those seeking a unique experience, camping on the beach overnight is also possible for a small fee.

If you need supplies, there is a convenience store called Buc-ee’s nearby, and you’ll find various local restaurants to satisfy your appetite. The Seahorse Bar & Grill and The Beach Front are highly recommended options.

Additionally, take advantage of the opportunity to visit the stunning Surfside Jetty County Park near the beach. It’s an attraction that should be on your itinerary.

Sylvan Beach Park Houston

Among the various beaches in Houston, Sylvan Beach stands out as the most easily accessible, just a little over twenty-six miles from the city.

Spanning thirty-two acres, Sylvan Beach is known for its pristine white sand, setting it apart from many other beaches in the area that are often covered in seaweed.

Unlike the previous beach on our list, Sylvan Beach Park offers many amenities, making it an excellent choice for families, especially those with young children. The park features a playground and an air-conditioned pavilion, providing a brief respite from the heat. Additionally, there is a lovely picnic area with ample tables for families to enjoy a meal together.

The park boasts a pier for those interested in fishing, perfect for casting a line into the water. Boating enthusiasts will also appreciate the convenient ramp available for launching boats.

Moreover, the water at Sylvan Beach is relatively calm compared to other beaches in the region, making it particularly welcoming for families with small children. As a bonus, Sylvan Beach offers free parking, which can significantly help families on a budget.

If you visit in the spring, check out the Annual Sylvan Beach Festival! This delightful event features fantastic seafood, refreshing drinks, and lively celebrations, offering a truly fun-filled experience.

Stewart Beach Houston

Stewart Beach takes the spotlight when it comes to family-friendly beaches in Houston. This beach is specifically designed with families in mind, so much so that alcohol is not permitted. In addition to the usual fun activities in the sand and water, Stewart Beach offers a wide range of entertainment amenities.

These include a pavilion, various concession stands serving delectable treats like ice cream, a playground, volleyball courts, a gift shop, and more. For convenience, visitors can also rent umbrellas and chairs, and there are well-maintained restrooms and showers available. The beach even provides beach wheelchairs for the comfort of disabled and elderly individuals.

Stewart Beach is also conveniently located near popular attractions such as Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Waterpark. We had a fantastic time at Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which offers an array of rides suitable for both younger kids and thrill-seeking teenagers and adults.

Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn Waterpark have their hotels, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable stay.

If you want to stay by Stewart Beach, we highly recommend the exquisite Grand Galvez Hotel and Spa. This luxurious accommodation offers a truly indulgent experience, allowing you to unwind and relax in style.

Galveston Island State Park

For those seeking a beach experience that combines nature and wildlife, Galveston Island stands out as one of the finest beaches in Houston. While swimming and surfing are popular activities, there’s much more to explore, such as nature walks, bird watching, hiking, and biking.

Galveston Island State Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, spanning over two thousand acres and encompassing diverse terrains, including beaches, wetlands, and estuaries. The park teems with wildlife, including resident marsh rabbits and raccoons, while migratory birds find temporary solace on Galveston Island during spring and autumn.

To further enhance your adventure, consider taking various boat tours, such as paddle boats, jet boats, or airboats, for a unique perspective of the area. Park entry is free for children under twelve and only $5 for everyone else, making it an affordable excursion.

If you wish to extend your stay, the park offers camping grounds and cabins, providing a budget-friendly option for an overnight getaway. Alternatively, the nearby Moody Gardens Hotel Spa offers a splendid retreat with its upscale surroundings if you prefer more luxurious accommodations.

East Beach In Houston

Let’s now turn our attention to East Beach, which deserves its own spotlight on our list of Houston’s beaches, even though it is technically located on Galveston Island.

East Beach is Texas’ largest beach and the most vibrant destination on Galveston Island. We highly recommend a visit if you’re seeking an energetic beach experience. The beach comes alive during the summer with a bustling atmosphere and various entertainment options.

The beach boasts a lively boardwalk, a pavilion, and a stage where live music performances grace the backdrop of its stunning white sands. It’s the perfect getaway for families, and what’s more, you can bring your furry friends along, too, as pets are welcome.

East Beach is also famous for hosting the annual American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition, a mesmerizing event that draws thousands of spectators. Witnessing jaw-dropping sandcastle creations is an absolute delight.

We enthusiastically recommend nearby Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant for a satisfying meal. Whether you’re looking for a delightful lunch or a delectable dinner, this eatery will surely satisfy your cravings.

Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Matagorda Bay is the perfect destination if you’re yearning for another beach experience immersed in nature. This beach encompasses over thirteen thousand acres and offers pristine white sands and endless waves. Compared to East Beach, Matagorda Bay’s beach area is relatively secluded, providing a more tranquil experience.

It’s a beautiful spot to spend a day lounging on the sand, observing the diverse birdlife in the cove, and exploring the marshes. Moreover, the park offers a multitude of activities to enjoy. There’s something for everyone, from mini golf and rafting to kayaking and paddleboarding. Our time spent here was truly memorable.

The park also features a nature centre that offers informative and engaging experiences for the whole family and a gift shop filled with snacks and souvenirs.

For those seeking an overnight stay, camping options are available, including both tent and RV camping. The park even offers rental options if you need to get your own camper. You can also rent various beach equipment to enhance your beach experience. Additionally, the park provides a unique opportunity to host a party in their air-conditioned rental space with breathtaking ocean views.

Sea Rim State Park

Our recommendation for Houston’s beaches is the remarkable Sea Rim State Park, a haven for nature enthusiasts. Encompassing an expansive four thousand acres and boasting over five miles of pristine beach, Sea Rim offers many activities such as swimming, kayaking, beachcombing, and more.

This coastal gem is ideal for water activities and a paradise for birdwatchers, campers, anglers, and even hunters, should you have an interest. Exploring the stunning marshes via the ten-mile-long Nature Trail Boardwalk was a highlight of our visit. For a unique experience, you can even explore the wetlands on horseback!

The beach at Sea Rim offers a calm atmosphere compared to other beaches. While it may not have large waves for surfing, it’s perfect for leisurely swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.

Sea Rim also offers various camping options, including campgrounds and a cabin available for rent. For a truly immersive experience, you can choose to camp directly on the beach, falling asleep to the soothing sound of the waves. If you prefer indoor accommodations, the Hampton Inn & Suites in nearby Winnie, Texas, provides comfortable lodging options.

Quintana Beach Country Park

Continuing our exploration of nature parks along the Houston coastline, we come across the charming Quintana Beach. This unspoiled beach is known for its natural beauty, with driftwood and seashells scattered among its pristine sands, providing ample opportunities for shell-collecting enthusiasts.

Like the other nature parks on our list, Quintana Beach offers a range of amenities and activities. Birdwatching is particularly rewarding here, as you can observe various avian species in their natural habitat. Additionally, visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, camping, surfing, and other beach-related activities.

Quintana Park boasts well-maintained paved trails, a lit-up pier, a pavilion, a volleyball court, and a playground, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy. RV campsites and rental cabins are available for those who wish to extend their stay.

Beyond the natural attractions, Quintana Park also offers intriguing historical sites to explore. Visitors can explore the past at Fort Bates, remnants of the Freeport Harbor Defense, and two historic houses. We were captivated by these historical treasures and spent a significant part of our day immersed in their stories.

For a delectable dining experience, we highly recommend Captain Mark’s Seafood. Whether you prefer to purchase fresh seafood from their market and cook it yourself or indulge in one of their delicious prepared meals at the restaurant, you’re in for a culinary treat!

Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island is one of Houston’s finest beaches and boasts the world’s longest stretch of untouched barrier island spanning an impressive sixty-six miles. This stunning shoreline showcases diverse landscapes, including coastlines, wind-tidal flats, prairies, and dunes, creating a unique environment to explore.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Padre Island offers abundant opportunities for birdwatching, with over 380 bird species calling this place home. It also serves as a nesting ground for sea turtles. During our visit, we had the privilege of witnessing the awe-inspiring sight of baby sea turtles hatching and embarking on their journey into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was a remarkable experience, connecting us to the miracle of life.

The beach area provides essential amenities such as restrooms and showers, while the park offers camping facilities and opportunities for off-roading adventures. Be sure to take advantage of the captivating Grasslands Nature Trail. The ranger talks are educational and enjoyable if you’re eager to learn more about the island’s natural wonders.

With a daily car entry fee of $10, Padre Island offers an affordable family vacation option, especially considering the cost covers everyone inside the vehicle. It’s a budget-friendly opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Bolivar Peninsula/Crystal Beach

Crystal Beach, located on the scenic Bolivar Peninsula, stands out as one of the most unique beaches in Houston. Stretching over seven miles, Crystal Beach offers a distinctive feature: the ability to drive your car directly onto the sand and park!

As a serene beach surrounded by nature, Crystal Beach is a haven for birdwatching enthusiasts. You can also enjoy activities such as swimming, fishing, boogie boarding, seashell collecting, or simply unwinding on the sandy shores with a captivating book.

Despite being just a two-hour drive from Houston, Crystal Beach feels like a world away from the city’s hustle and bustle. It provides the perfect escape for those seeking tranquillity and a break from urban life.

Camping directly on the beach is an option, allowing you to experience the beauty of nature up close while setting up a delightful barbecue grill for a memorable cookout. Additionally, you can catch glimpses of the picturesque Point Bolivar Lighthouse to the south, serving as a beautiful backdrop for selfies.

For those preferring to avoid camping, the nearby Boardwalk Resort offers a charming and comfortable accommodation option. With its combination of elegance and natural beauty, it provides a delightful place to stay while enjoying the serene surroundings of Crystal Beach.

FAQs on Beaches in Houston

1. How far is Galveston from Houston?

  • Galveston is approximately 50 miles southeast of Houston, about a one-hour drive depending on traffic.

2. What are some popular activities at Galveston Beach?

  • Popular activities at Galveston Beach include swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, fishing, kayaking, surfing, and visiting attractions like the Pleasure Pier, Moody Gardens, and Schlitterbahn Waterpark.

37. Are there any dog-friendly beaches near Houston?

  • Many beaches near Houston are dog-friendly, particularly Surfside Beach and certain areas of Galveston Beach. It’s always best to check specific beach regulations and leash laws.

4. What amenities are available at Galveston Beach?

  • Galveston Beach offers various amenities including restrooms, showers, picnic areas, rental shops for beach gear, and lifeguard services. Some areas also have restaurants, bars, and shops nearby.

5. Are there any admission fees for Houston-area beaches?

  • Most beaches are free to access, but some may have parking fees or require a beach permit for vehicle access. For example, Galveston Beach has parking meters in certain areas, and Crystal Beach may require a beach parking sticker.

6. When is the best time to visit beaches near Houston?

  • The best time to visit beaches near Houston is typically from late spring to early fall when the weather is warm and conducive to beach activities. Summer is the peak season, but fall and spring can offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds.

7. What should I bring for a day at the beach near Houston?

  • Essentials for a day at the beach include sunscreen, beach towels, umbrellas or sunshades, plenty of water, snacks, a cooler, beach chairs, swimsuits, and any beach toys or sporting equipment you enjoy.

8. Are there any safety tips for visiting beaches near Houston?

  • Safety tips include swimming near lifeguards, keeping an eye on weather and water conditions, staying hydrated, applying sunscreen regularly, watching out for jellyfish and other marine life, and not swimming too far from shore.

9. Are there any beach accommodations near Houston?

  • Yes, there are various accommodation options including hotels, beach rentals, and campgrounds. In Galveston, you can find a range of accommodations from luxury resorts to budget-friendly motels and vacation rentals.

10. Can I camp on the beaches near Houston?

  • Yes, some beaches near Houston allow camping. For instance, Surfside Beach permits camping on the beach with certain regulations. Always check local ordinances and regulations before setting up camp.

11. What are some popular beach events or festivals near Houston?

  • Galveston hosts several popular beach events and festivals such as the Galveston Island Beach Revue, AIA Sandcastle Competition, and Mardi Gras Galveston. These events often feature live music, food, and family-friendly activities.

Conclusion

We trust that our guide to the finest beaches in Houston has been a source of enjoyment for you. During these challenging times, a rejuvenating weekend getaway with sandy beaches and refreshing waters holds even greater appeal. Take this opportunity to disconnect, relax, and relish your well-deserved break.

Houston offers a plethora of beaches waiting to be explored. Embrace the opportunity and savor the wonders they have to offer.

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