Although Texas is well known for its official state sport of American rodeo and for being the home of the American space program, it is not often the first choice for a beach holiday, yet Texas is the location of some of the best beaches in the USA.
The Texas Gulf Coast also has interesting towns, cities, and parks as well as islands and peninsulas, and the region attracts millions of visitors every year. If traveling south from Houston, the best way to explore the Texas Coast is by finding an Alamo rental car online and taking a few days to drive along the coastline, stopping off now and again to visit the beauty spots. Here are a few places of particular interest.
Related Read: Top 5 Texas Cities to Visit
Surfside Beach, Freeport and Christmas Bay
Just over one hour’s drive from Houston, Surfside Beach is in Brazoria County between Freeport to the north and Christmas Bay to the south. Pristine beaches and the opportunity to enjoy bird watching and fishing greet visitors when they arrive, however, the long jetties and the deepwater lying eight miles offshore is what attract the surfers and windsurfers to Surfside Beach.
Local folks say that about a half-mile north of the jetty at Texas Street is where the best surf can be found. Just 25 minutes from Surfside Beach is San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, where waterfowl and other migratory birds can be spotted during the winter months.
Some 152 miles south of Surfside Beach, Rockport is 30 miles north of Corpus Christi in Aransas County and is a picturesque town very well known for the best outdoor activities in Texas that are available all year round, including bird watching, sailing, and fishing.
There is an easygoing, friendly atmosphere in the town and the local Aransas National Wildlife Refuge enjoys a prominent position within the wildlife conservation movement in the US and is famous for providing a refuge in winter to the Whooping Crane. In fact, along the local section of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail as many as 450 different varieties of fowl can be spotted. Besides the clear blue waters of the beach, a visit to the Texas Maritime Museum, Rockport Harbor Aquarium, and Goose Island State Park makes for an interesting day out.
Recommended Read: Best places to visit in Texas
Port Isabel and South Padre Island
Two hundred miles further south, at the far southern end of the lovely Laguna Madre Bay, Port Isabel is a charming, historic town lying just to the east of Harlingen, in Cameron County. Some of the most popular beaches are found on South Padre Island, which is approximately two and one-half miles away. The Padre Island National Seashore is the world’s longest barrier-island beach that has never been developed, and where wildlife is plentiful.
Like the island, Port Isabel is also known for its water sports and fishing, and the waters teem with many types of saltwater fish in great abundance. The town’s long and distinguished history dates from 1519, and it boasts three museums that chart its interesting past: the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, the Port Isabel Historic Museum, and the 1852 Port Isabel Lighthouse. All are well worth a visit.