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Guide to Texas and Austin Beaches | Best Beaches in Texas and Austin


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A sandy, sun-kissed beach, a cool Gulf breeze, the quaint charm of the vibrant seaside, stilt houses awaiting, and a piña colada in hand; the beaches are calling your name! When you think of beaches, you’re probably thinking of the beaches in Cancun or the Caribbean. Much like Cancun and the Caribbean, you can find beaches in Austin, the Texas coast, and an oasis in West Texas! From the quiet expanses of Boca Chica to the rocky beaches near Austin, Texas, has a lot to offer! So check out our list of Texas beaches and plan your next vacation with family and friends!

Best Texas and Austin Beaches:

  • Balmorhea State Park
  • Boca Chica
  • Crystal Beach
  • Emma Long Park
  • Lake Pflugerville
  • Magnolia Beach
  • Mustang Island
  • North Beach
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Pedernales Falls
  • Rockport Beach
  • Russell Park
  • Secret Beach
  • South Padre Island
  • Surfside Beach

Image Credit: tpwd.texas.gov

9207 TX-17, Toyahvale, TX 79786

394 miles from Austin

More than 15 million gallons of water flow through Balmorhea State Park pool each day, gushing from the San Solomon Springs. The pool is up to 25 feet deep, covers 1.3 acres, and holds 3.5 million gallons of water. The water temperature stays at 72 to 76 degrees year-round. Dive into the crystal-clear water of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool. Swim, scuba dive, or relax under the trees at this historic park in arid West Texas! Because of the large pool, and ocean-like activities, it’s guaranteed you’ll feel like your by the beach! 

Unfortunately due to COVID-19, Balmorhea State Park is closed. But they are planning to reopen the park during the fall of 2020!

Image Credit: tpwd.texas.gov

Boca Chica Blvd, Brownsville, TX 78521

175 miles from Austin

Drive east on Route 4 for about 20 miles, and you’ll see pristine wetlands and sand dunes before reaching an undeveloped jewel on the Gulf of Mexico called Boca Chica Beach. Boca Chica Beach offers a wide, white sand beach open to vehicles where you can camp out, fish, surf or sunbathe! Boca Chica State Park is a Texas state park located in the Boca Chica Subdelta of the Rio Grande near Brownsville in southeastern Cameron County, Texas.

Image Credit: bolivarpeninsulatexas.com

Bolivar Peninsula, TX 77550

260 miles from Austin

You can’t beat the sunrise over the upper Texas Coast, waves lapping at the shoreline and live music. Bolivar Peninsula and Crystal Beach have become a travel destination full of fresh seafood restaurants and a beachfront coastal landscape stretching 27 miles. Bolivar Peninsula is host to a wide array of venues, events, and festivals in Crystal Beach and all host an impressive lineup of first-class musicians and bands. From a laid-back acoustic show to a full-blown band rocking the house! From Texas Red Dirt music to Nashville headliners and Southeast Texas favorites, with all the live music on Bolivar Peninsula and in Crystal Beach Texas, why go anywhere else!

1600 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730

14 miles from Austin

Arguably the only swimming hole in Austin with a true “beach” shorefront, Emma Long Park sits along Lake Austin providing cool water to swim in year round, even when the water level is relatively low. It’s open 7 days a week and includes a long stretch of lake lined with oak and juniper trees, offers boat access, plenty of room for swimming, a small sandy beach area for kids to play, lots of picnic tables and grills, bathrooms, and hiking trails. Though it can get crowded during the summer, it’s fairly easy to find your own spot to enjoy the water along the long strip of land!

Make sure to make a reservation before heading out to Emma Long Metropolitan Park!

18216 Weiss Ln, Pflugerville, TX 78660

20 miles from Austin

With many activities to engage in that are family oriented, Lake Pflugerville offers fishing, swimming, jogging, canoes, kayaks, and windsurfing. There are also seven fishing piers and a 3-mile trail for walking or jogging. If you want to participate in any athletic events, Lake Pflugerville has 3k and 5k races, triathlon competitions and non-motorized boating activities! Children who are ages 16 and younger can fish without a permit. Motorized power boats and glass bottles are prohibited.

Image Credit: facebook.com/MagnoliaBeachTexas

Texas 77979

161 miles from Austin

Magnolia Beach is about 11 miles outside of Port Lavaca. It is the only natural shell beach along the coast, so there’s not much sand. It is a public beach, which means the weekends can get pretty crowded. But, Magnolia Beach is the perfect place for a family day at the beach! Replete with a playground, covered picnic areas, and a volleyball court, Magnolia Beach has all of the makings for a dreamy day trip as kid-approved as it is relaxing for you, too!

Image Credit: tpwd.texas.gov

9394 TX-361, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

242 miles from Austin

With more than five miles of coastline, Mustang Island has plenty of room for fun in the sun! Hang out on the beach, fish in the bay, add birds to your life list, and explore this unspoiled barrier island park. It’s time to head to the coast! At Mustang Island State Park, what you do is up to you! You can also stay at one of 48 water and electric campsites or 50 drive-up primitive sites for a weekend camping trip!

Reservations are strongly encouraged before heading out to Mustang Island!

Image Credit: visitcorpuschristi.org

2710 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402

219 miles from Austin

Located just across the Harbor Bridge, North Beach is home to two of Corpus Christi’s most popular attractions the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington, and an aircraft carrier turned museum. North Beach offers a tasty variety of places to eat and drink and awesome bayfront views. North Beach is a favorite spot for visiting families because of Fajitaville’s new ferris wheel to see the skyline, concrete beach walk for bicycles, baby strollers, and skates and a dolphin park playground located on the north end of the area! Sip on a cocktail and dip your feet in the Corpus Christi Bay waters.

Image Credit: nps.gov

20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

244 miles from Austin

Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, and tidal wind flats teeming with life. It is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, a haven for over 380 bird species and has a rich history, including the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554. The park also has two developed campgrounds (one on the Gulf-side of the island and the other on the Laguna-side) with varying amenities. Primitive beach camping is available on North and South Beaches, and Yarborough Pass allows 4-wheel drive access to a natural camping area on the Laguna-side of the island!

2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636

42 miles from Austin

If you are looking to escape the city and enjoy a quiet afternoon in a scenic spot with a beautiful river, look no further than Pedernales Falls! Unlike most of the places mentioned on this list, Pedernales Falls caters to those seeking more of a reflective afternoon than a social one. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a fantastic day with your family or friends, though! To get to the falls, drive a little farther past the swimming area. The hike is worth the view!

Make sure to make a reservation before heading out to Pedernales Falls!

Image Credit: rockportbeach-texas.com

210 Seabreeze Dr, Rockport, TX 78382

191 miles from Austin

Rockport Beach was the first in Texas to garner a Blue Wave Beach designation (a label given only to beaches that maintain high standards of environmental care). Rockport is also a designated bird sanctuary! There are plenty of cabanas with BBQ pits, umbrellas, clean restrooms and showers, a saltwater pool, fishing pier, fish cleaning station, boat ramp, bird viewing platform, volleyball nets, children’s swings and play areas and more! There’s a lot to do and see at the Rockport Beach! Please be aware that pets and glass containers are not allowed on the beach.

Image Credit: recreation.gov

2101 Co Rd 262, Georgetown, TX 78633

39 miles from Austin

Boating is the most popular way to enjoy the lake, and a boat ramp is provided for guests! Fishing is excellent in the area, and the lake contains black bass, white bass, hybrid stripers, white crappie and channel, and flathead catfish, but it’s most known for its abundance of smallmouth bass. Fishing docks are located on the shore within the campground. The San Gabriel River Trail is a 26-mile rugged path winding through dense juniper forest, hardwood bottomlands, and prairie grasslands. The trail extends completely around Georgetown Lake via the dam and is open to hiking and biking.

400 Grove Blvd, Austin, TX 78741

5 miles from Austin

Literally named “Secret Beach,” this spot is unknown to most Austinites because it’s off the beaten path away from the touristy part of the Colorado River. Although Secret Beach is like Lady Bird Lake in that it is illegal to swim in the water, it is still an awesome place to relax and enjoy a public beach within Austin’s city limits. It can be accessed through the Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park located at 400 Grove Blvd.

Image Credit: myspi.org

South Padre Island, TX 78597

371 miles from Austin

Fun always happens at South Padre Island! Beach lovers know it,  kiteboarders, windsurfers know it, little kids, big kids know it, sun worshippers and sand castle builders know it! Everyone knows it! South Padre Island is so fun and a perfect destination for a family vacation or a weekend getaway with friends. Catch the wind and ride the waves, birdwatch on the bayside and check out South Padre’s local restaurants, live music venues, and nightlife scene! It’s guaranteed to be fun, so make South Padre yours!

Image Credit: surfsidetx.org

101 Parkview Rd, Surfside Beach, TX 77541

200 miles from Austin

A sandy, sun-kissed beach, a cool Gulf breeze, and the quaint charm of the vibrant seaside, stilt houses await in the Village of Surfside Beach. Home to four miles of pristine shoreline, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and colorful surf shops, this unique Gulf Coast getaway has something for everyone. Located just an hour from Houston, Surfside Beach offers an easygoing escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Surfside Beach is much more than a sunbather’s paradise. The deep waters just off the coastline create ideal conditions for surfing, kayaking, and windsurfing. For all the time you could spend enjoying the beach life, there’s more going on!

Map of Texas and Austin Beaches

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