Texas may not be the first place that comes to your mind when you think of beach towns. It is better known for its wide-open spaces, cattle ranches, and small towns. However, many towns lining the southern coast qualify enough to be the best beach towns in Texas. It is because the coastal area offers a different kind of experience.
Whether you’re looking for a fun vacation spot or a place you could call home, these beaches are where you can experience delicious seafood, pleasant temperatures all through the year, boating, kayaking, birdwatching, etc. It is another reason that makes it the best beach town in Texas.
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In comparison to the areas in other U.S cities, Texas is a much more affordable region while still being a lovely locale. Also, Houston is just a stone’s throw away for all your big city and airport needs. So, listed below are the top beach towns on the Texas coast.
1. South Padre Island
Located off the southern tip of Texas, this is indeed one of the best beach towns in Texas for retirees and families. Not only has this place earned the reputation of being a Spring Break location, but this place is also popular with outdoor and wildlife enthusiasts. Check out these budget-friendly travel binoculars if you don’t have any.
With thirty-four miles of beautiful white sand beaches and clear emerald waters, some of the best things to experience in this area are horseback riding, dolphin watching, sandcastle building, and sport fishing. It is also an excellent place for windsurfing, kiteboarding, snorkeling, and diving.
Coastal living in Texas is very popular among families and retirees. So, if you’re looking to settle down in Texas, you will find some of the friendliest people ever in the area. As per the 2019 census, 2,818 was the population count. The place is also great if you want to have a beach wedding.
Now talking about the climate, summers on South Padre Island are lengthy, scorching, and uncomfortable; meanwhile, winters are brief, chilly, and drier. The weather is breezy and partially overcast all year.
Also, South Padre Island students can easily get admitted to the Point Isabel Independent School District. Besides, Garriga Elementary School, Port Isabel Junior High School, and Port Isabel High School are other designated schools for the local children.
Nearby Sightseeing: One of the landmarks in South Padre Island is Cristo de Los Pescadores, or Christ of the Fishermen, a memorial to fishers who never returned. Besides, you can admire more than 300 different species of birds at South Padre Island Birding, Nature Center & Alligator Sanctuary. You can also spot dolphins at the Dolphin Research and sea life nature center.
Cost of living index in South Padre Island (based on a US average of 100): 94.2 (Overall), 98.6 (Grocery), 87.6 (Health), 115 (Housing), 86 (Utilities), and 85.3 (Transportation).
2. Port Aransas
This refreshingly underdeveloped area lies at the end of Mustang Island and is undoubtedly one of the best beach towns in Texas to live in. It is a small town with several miles of sandy beaches, lovely restaurants, and an amusing art scene. This place is commonly referred to as the fishing capital of Texas.
With only 14.07 square miles of area and a 3500 population, Port Aransas is one of the small coastal towns in Texas. Life here is laidback and moves at a slower pace here. However, boating and kayaking are pretty popular here. Besides, this place is about an hour away from Corpus Christi and has several fantastic restaurants to eat at.
As per the 2020 census, the population of Port Aransas was 2,904. The environment of Port Aransas is humid subtropical, with degrees close to those in adjacent Gulf Coast locales like Deep South Texas and Southern Florida.
Besides, the famous Port Aransas Independent School District runs public education in Port Aransas. Also, the area is served by H.G. Olsen Elementary School, Brundrett Middle School, and Port Aransas High School.
Nearby Sightseeing: You can relax at the Gulf of Mexico beaches, spot dolphins at the Dolphin, watch nature, be amazed by the lovely Port Aransas Museum, and explore the Leonabelle Turnbull birding center.
Cost of living index in Port Aransas (based on a US average of 100): 104.2 (Overall), 99.7 (Grocery), 101.1 (Health), 130.2 (Housing), 98.3 (Utilities), and 80 (Transportation).
If you are too used to the big city life but would like some charming coastal ambiance, this is the place to experience the best of both worlds. Located 50 miles from Houston, this beach city in Texas has big-city amenities and small-town charm.
Galveston is a locale rich in art and architecture. There are chic boutiques and ghost legends associated with the town too. Also, note that Galveston is considered the safest beach town in Texas.
This town covers 209.3 square miles and has a population of 50,241 (2019 census). The weather ranges typically from 49°F to 90°F throughout the year, with temperatures seldom falling below 37°F or rising over 93°F.
Two post-secondary colleges in Galveston provide standard advanced degrees. They are Galveston College, a junior college founded in 1967, and Texas A&M University at Galveston, a subsidiary campus of Texas A&M University with an oceanfront location.
Nearby Sightseeing: You can experience an adrenaline rush at The Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark. The Railroad Museum, Texas Seaport Museum, and the Lonestar Flight Museum are other places of interest worth visiting.
Cost of living index in Galveston (based on a US average of 100): 91.7 (Overall), 98 (Grocery), 98 (Health), 87.2 (Housing), 87.2 (Utilities), and 77.8 (Transportation).
4. Corpus Christi
This place offers a laidback atmosphere and lots of excitement and local happenings. Corpus Christi is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. The town is home to 300,000 people and is much larger than your average beach town.
To travel the expanse of this town, you can hop on a bus or the Harbor Ferry. Also, discover Corpus Christi’s nine distinct beaches and let your daring side loose on the ocean while surfing, parasailing, or kayaking. No wonder why it is one of the best beach towns to visit in Texas.
From May 29 to September 27, the warm season runs for 3.9 months, with an average temperature of above 88°F. However, between December 3 to February 23, the chilly period runs for 2.7 months, with current average high temperatures below 72°F.
Numerous colleges and universities, including Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, Saint Leo University-Corpus Christi, and other technical educational schools, are located in Corpus Christi for enhanced education purposes.
Nearby Sightseeing: The USS Lexington Museum is located on North Beach in Corpus Christi Bay and includes attractions such as Escape rooms, a 3D mega theatre, etc. The Schlitterbahn Corpus Christi is a waterpark here worth visiting.
Cost of living index in Corpus Christi (based on a US average of 100): 83.1 (Overall), 92.8 (Grocery), 101.1 (Health), 63.2 (Housing), 101.1 (Utilities), and 79.7 (Transportation).
5. Port Arthur
Last but not least comes Port Arthur. From groceries to healthcare and housing to transportation, every expense here is budget-friendly, unlike any other city in the USA. Hence, it is one of the most affordable places to live in Texas.
Port Arthur is also an idyllic location that offers the freshest seafood, breezy walks, and beautiful beaches. This town also has a lot to offer for outdoor adventures. It includes activities such as sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking.
Port Arthur has been tagged as the city with the most humidity in the United States. Besides, the 2020 census recorded a population of 56,039 in the beach town.
The Port Arthur Independent School District serves the majority of the city. It has a solitary high school, Memorial High School, established in 2002 due to the merger of three high schools: Stephen F. Austin, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson. Galveston College in Galveston is responsible for the Port Arthur part of the Sabine Pass School District.
Nearby Sightseeing: You can learn about everything from fossils to musicians at the Museum of the Gulf coast here, or even go on a fishing or birdwatching trip at the Sabine Lake and Sea Rim State Park.
Cost of living index in Port Arthur (based on a US average of 100): 73.4 (Overall), 88.4 (Grocery), 95.8 (Health), 27.8 (Housing), 93.8 (Utilities), and 90 (Transportation).
It is a big boating destination on the Texas coast. Here are sights to absorb, such as houses on silts, marinas, seafood restaurants, and two major highways that run through this town.
It is a family-friendly community with a population of 14,149 as of 2019. Besides, Seabrook has a marine humid subtropical climate with constant rainfall year-round, but more so during sweltering summer seasons.
Numerous fish markets flank the city’s shoreline, while the city’s central section is home to antique stores and homestay companies. Besides, many miles of paths run around the city, connecting numerous public parks.
Clear Falls High School in League City is the assigned school for all Seabrook inhabitants. Besides, San Jacinto College is responsible for the Clear Creek ISD region of Harris County (and so Seabrook).
Nearby Sightseeing: Seabrook is a designated bird sanctuary. Its trail system offers 13 miles of hike and bike trails.
Cost of living index in Seabrook (based on a US average of 100): 107.8 (Overall), 100.5 (Grocery), 92.4 (Health), 115.9 (Housing), 96.7 (Utilities), and 119.2 (Transportation).
Bang in the middle of Houston and Galveston lies one of the loveliest Texas beach towns, Kemah. Don’t forget to take a walk along its iconic boardwalk if you’re visiting it.
In the past, this was a quiet fishing town. But now it’s an entertainment hub. You’ll find many interesting shops, restaurants and amusement rides in this place. Also, there are many fun touristy things to do here such as boat cruises, sailing, festivals, concerts, etc.
As of 2019, the population of Kemah is 3,057. The weather of this beach town usually ranges from 47°F to 92°F throughout the year, with temperatures seldom falling below 36°F or rising over 96°F.
The Clear Creek Independent School District serves almost all Kemah students. Stewart Elementary School (previously known as Kemah Elementary School) is located in unorganized Galveston County, whereas Bayside Intermediate School and Clear Falls High School are located in the League City.
Nearby Sightseeing: The Kemah Boardwalk is an old-fashioned waterfront amusement park. There are several lovely restaurants and attractions contained within the Kemah entertainment district.
Cost of living index in Kemah (based on a US average of 100): 98.9 (Overall), 101.3 (Grocery), 101 (Health), 100.2 (Housing), 91.9 (Utilities), and 93.4 (Transportation).
Rockport is one of the best places to live on the Texas coast. Barrier islands and the bay surround it. The place exudes a chill vibe and is a much more fulfilling alternative to the crowds and hustle-bustle of South Padre Island.
If you love to shop and dine, the Austin Street of Rockport should figure right at the top of your itinerary. Besides, Rockport is a lovely place to live in and a visit on your holidays.
The city has 10,759 residents, an undetermined number of houses, and an estimated 3,651 families as of 2018. The climate in this region is defined by warm, sultry summers and mild and cool winters.
The Aransas County Independent School District, along with Rockport-Fulton High School Pirates, serves all students of Rockport. The town is also served by Sacred Heart School, a private high school.
Nearby Sightseeing: The Texas Maritime Museum will educate you about the rich Maritime history of Texas. However, the Rockport center of arts, Fulton mansion, and Aquarium at Rockport harbor are other places worth visiting here.
Cost of living index in Rockport (based on a US average of 100): 92.3 (Overall), 98.4 (Grocery), 101.2 (Health), 91.6 (Housing), 95.2 (Utilities), and 75.6 (Transportation).
9. Surfside Beach
Surfside is just an hour’s travel from Houston. It is an ideal place for people who love watersports. There are many vacation rental properties that you can stay at when you visit Surfside.
This hidden Texas beach town has 4,155 residents, 2,111 homes, and 1,230 families, according to the United States census of 2020. In general, Surfside Beach receives 52 inches of rain each year. There are 203 bright days each year on average and zero snow days.
Brazosport Independent School District serves this town. Brazosport College is also located in the city. However, according to the Texas Legislature, Brazosport ISD is in the Brazosport College zone.
Nearby Sightseeing: Surfside Jetty Park is a nice long fishing jetty that you can explore here. Also, if you are a nature lover, The Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge is undoubtedly a place to head to.
Cost of living index in Surfside Beach (based on a US average of 100): 101.3 (Overall), 99.4 (Grocery), 98.8 (Health), 112.9 (Housing), 103 (Utilities), and 86.9 (Transportation).
10. Crystal Beach
Now, this is a resort community situated on the Texas coast. You could hop on a ferry in Galveston or drive from Highway 87 to get to Crystal beach. With relatively cost-effective housing and commutation facilities, it stands to be one of the cheapest beach towns in Texas to live in. However, healthcare is a bit expensive here, like in any other town in the US.
This locale is ideally suited for families, and as of now, it has a population of 1,930. You can also enjoy the delicious seafood here, dip in any swimming spots, or even check out the nightlife. Every year in May or June, Texas Crab Festival is celebrated with truly wonderful seafood dishes, live music, and craft vendors.
Besides, nature lovers must check out the Bolivar Loop Upper Texas Coast Wildlife Trail along Highway 87. However, it must be noted that the temperature ranges from 15℃ in January to 30℃ in June and even 32℃ in August.
The Galveston Independent School District serves all Crystal Beach people. However, Kindergarten through eighth-grade students attends Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School here. After that, students usually go to Galveston’s Ball High School.
Nearby Sightseeing: You can visit the Point Bolivar Lighthouse. Also, you can spend a day at Moody Gardens and Ride the Bolivar ferry.
Cost of living index in Crystal Beach (based on a US average of 100): 93.8 (Overall), 98.5 (Grocery), 112.8 (Health), 45.2 (Housing), 98.5 (Utilities), and 80.8 (Transportation).
Matagorda is yet another fabulous beach town and the prettiest amongst many Texas coastal cities. It is regarded as the hidden treasure of the Texas Gulf Coast.
Besides, this town is well-known for its fantastic fishing opportunities. On the third Saturday of each month, you have a market day at the downtown courthouse square.
As of 2019, the town has a population of 434. Matagorda usually has 46 inches of rain and 204 warm days each year.
The neighboring K-8 school district is Matagorda ISD. Wharton County Junior College is Matagorda ISD’s authorized community school.
Nearby Sightseeing: It is one of the best kayaking and kayak fishing destinations on the Texas coast. The county is also famous for its beautiful beach.
Cost of living index in Matagorda (based on a US average of 100): 94.5 (Overall), 98.6 (Grocery), 110 (Health), 99.2 (Housing), 95.3 (Utilities), and 74.7 (Transportation).
The coastal area of America is dotted with the best beach towns in Texas, and each has something extraordinary to offer. But, of course, the biggest draw for these places is their affordability. So, whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or moving to this area, Texas beach towns have the best to offer.
Almost all these towns are famous for their delicious seafood and adventure water sports. However, these places are too beautiful to explore and great when you want to soak up some sun.
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FAQs: Beach Towns in Texas
Here are some commonly asked questions about the best beach towns in Texas.
1. Is Galveston Texas a good place to live?
A: Of all the beach towns in Texas, Galveston is a great place to live in as it offers the best mix of city life and the charm of a coastal city. It also has some charming touristy destinations.
2. What is the most affordable beach town in Texas?
A: The cost of living in Port Arthur is 9% lower than the national average. Besides, it’s housing, grocery, and healthcare expenditures are respectively 38%, 10%, and 9% lower than the national average of the USA. Thus, Port Arthur is considered one of the most affordable coastal communities in Texas.