Summer is finally here! If you want to plan a quick beach getaway without leaving the state, Texas has more than 370 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and beaches that amaze its visitors! Here you will find five of the most popular beach towns within driving distance of San Antonio.
South Padre Island
Distance from San Antonio: 298 miles
Official website: https://www.sopadre.com/
It is known for its wide sandy beaches, blue water, and fun activities for people of all ages that make it popular for family vacations.
Favorites: South Padre Island offers a range of activities and pristine beaches, as well as arts, culture, and fishing. Some favorites are:
- Dolphin and eco-tours: Get a closer look at marine life.
- Isla Blanca Park: Enjoy the beach and practice a range of activities like fishing, surfing, snorkeling, and jet skiing.
- Sea Turtle, Inc: Visit an organization that was originally formed to save the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle in 1977 and now houses a sea turtle hospital with the mission to rehabilitate and release injured sea turtles.
- SPI Birding & Nature Center: This is a premier destination for bird watching with 3,300+ feet of boardwalk, 50 acres of wetlands, a five-story observation tower, a gator pond, a tortoise exhibit, and a butterfly garden.
- The largest outdoor sandcastle in the country: Built by sand artist Andy Hancock between 2013 and 2015.
Distance from San Antonio: 179 miles
Official website: https://www.portaransas.org/
It is known as the “Fishing Capital of Texas,” with plenty of fishing tournaments and activities.
Favorites: With 18 miles of wide, sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, Port Aransas has activities for the whole family.
- Fishing: Whether in the bays and channels or on an offshore excursion, Port A offers fishing tournaments throughout the summer.
- Mustang Island State Park: Part of the Texas Parks & Wildlife facilities, it has more than five miles of coastline to relax, play, camp, fish, and explore.
- Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center: Offers a native pollinator garden and a 750-foot boardwalk.
- Crabbing: A recreational activity for everyone—especially fun at night!
- Private dolphin watching and sunset tours
Distance from San Antonio: 250 miles
Official website: https://www.galvestontx.gov/
It is known as the official port for cruises in Texas and the closest beach to Houston.
Favorites: With 32 miles of sandy shoreline, Galveston has great beaches to enjoy and lots of things to do.
- East Beach and Stewart Beach: Two of the preferred beaches in Galveston. While East Beach hosts different festivals and always has something happening, Stewart Beach was once named one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families” by Family Vacation Critic.
- Historic Galveston: Find Victorian-era homes and museums that represent the island’s past, including the 1892 Bishop’s Palace.
- The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier: Features family-oriented attractions including rides, midway games, and a wide variety of food venues and retail shops.
- Moody Gardens: A relaxing and natural place known for its three enormous pyramids. The Rainforest Pyramid has tropical plants, animals, birds, and butterflies; the Aquarium Pyramid displays different species of fish and marine animals; and the Discovery Museum Pyramid currently hosts the JAM Exhibit, which explores the connection between music, science, and mathematics.
Distance from San Antonio: 144 miles
Official website: https://www.visitcorpuschristi.com/
It is known for its beaches and the USS Lexington Museum, as well as the home of the late Selena and the location of the first Whataburger!
Favorites: Besides having some city beaches to enjoy, Corpus also hosts two island parks and wonderful museums.
- Mustang Island State Park and Padre Island National Seashore: Two barrier islands that provide access to the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico.
- USS Lexington Museum: What once served as an Essex Class aircraft carrier during World War II now functions as a museum and educational facility. Among its attractions, you can find a Pearl Harbor Exhibit, Scale Models, Flight Simulator, and Virtual Battle Stations.
- Texas State Aquarium: Find thousands of animals representing over 500 different species with special presentations including “Dolphins,” “Turtle Tales,” “Let’s Talk Sharks,” and “Feed the Rays.”
- Selena Museum: Built by the Quintanilla family to celebrate the life and music of the late “Queen of Tex-Mex.” The museum displays Selena’s clothing, awards, and other personal articles, but it is only open on weekdays.
Distance from San Antonio: 161 miles
Official website: cityofrockport.com
It is known for its small-town feel and all the great things to see! It is home to a wide variety of birds and animals, as well as flora and fauna.
Favorites: Rockport is a small Texas town with loads of tourist spots, including the beach, a museum, and a tree that is over 1,000 years old.
- Rockport Beach: A mile-long, well-maintained beach with a park next to it! The perfect place to relax, soak up the sun, build sandcastles, or swim in the sea.
- Goose Island State Park: Offers camping, fishing, and birding along St. Charles and Aransas Bays. It often reaches capacity, so reservations are recommended for camping and day use.
- The Fulton Mansion: Get a peek at life in the 19th century for an affluent family in a grand Victorian villa.
- The Texas Maritime Museum: Learn about Texas maritime history, from pirates to fishing to oil drilling. The museum is closed Sundays and Mondays.
- The Big Tree: A quick stop for many Rockport visitors, the tree’s estimated age is 1,500 years old!