Best Beach Spots in Texas for a Family Vacation. The Texas Gulf Coast offers families sunshine and space to enjoy water an abundance of water adventures. From Port Aransas to Galveston there are miles of beach to be enjoyed from sand skimming, Ferris wheels, and turtle quests to strollin’ on the sand and boot scootin’ at a honky tonk.
The Texas coast is fun any time of the year but summer is energizing. Fishing is terrific, sand castle building the order of the day, and stargazing is beyond compare. Your beach chair is waiting. I have have four family-tested beach spots worth a trip.
Port Aransas - Sailing, Fishing, and Boot Scooting. Just off the Gulf Coast, the beaches of Mustang Island, flat, wide and dramatic with cream and sugar sand, draw families of all ages. The water is warm and the waves usually friendly making sailing, kayaking and fishing easy for even the youngest. Bordering the beach is laid-back fishing village with western charm. Boot scootin’ and sand-strollin' are popular forms of daily entertainment. Off beach bonus: This is the location of the University of Texas Marine Science Research Center. At the learning center open to the public, visitors will find displays of typical Texas coastal habitats and the organisms that live in them. 750 Channel View Drive, Port Aransas. (361) 749-6711or www.utmsi.utexas.edu) Discovery: The shrimp are plentiful and wonderful. There is a trolley that travels around town for just 25¢ a ride. (Toll-free 1-800-45-COAST or www.portaransas.org).
Cinnamon Shore - Swimming, Boogie Boarding, and Sandcastle. Cinnamon Shore is a traditional seaside community on Mustang Island, just three hours southeast of San Antonio, Austin and Houston and host to a ton of fun-in-the-sun activities for families such as swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and sandcastle building. Off beach bonus: Cinnamon Shore was designed specifically with families in mind. Using a term called “new urbanism,” it incorporates a town center, several parks, minimal impact on the environment, and planned activities for families to enjoy together. The layout is conducive to knowing your neighbors and creating a sense of camaraderie throughout the community. Cinnamon shore is also only a mile from the new Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course. Discovery: Mustang Island is a great beach getaway for both its beauty and unique activities including deep-sea fishing. Cinnamon Shore hosts bonfires and movie nights on the beach, making sure to utilize the beach as a place for community gatherings. (Cinnamon Shore. 5009 Hwy 361, Port Aransas, TX 78373. Toll-free 1-888-893-0656 or www.cinnamonshore.com).
Padre Island - Sea Turtles, Sand Dunes, and Hatchlings. It is true that on Padre Island National Seashore you can see forever. Spanning more than 130, 400 acres it is recognized as the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. The staff of the park conducts a number of programs during the year including beach walks, mini-talks, campfire programs, and bird-watching walks. Most programs originate from the Visitors Center. In addition the National Seashore incubates most of the sea turtle eggs found along the Texas coast and releases the hatchlings into the Gulf of Mexico during the summer months and to watch a release call Hatchling Hotline at (361) 949-7163, (361) 949-8068 or www.cctexas.com. Off beach bonus: In nearby Corpus Christi, the Texas State Aquarium in educational enriching and wonderfully entertaining with interactive exhibits both engage and inspire. (2710 N. Shoreline, Corpus Christi. Toll-free 1-800-477-GULF or www.texasstateaquarium.org) Discovery: Located in downtown Corpus Christi on Shoreline Boulevard within walking distance from several hotels is McGee Beach. The calm water is a great place for young children to play.
Galveston Island - Sunshine, IMAX, and a ferris Wheel. It is true there are rocks below the seawall along the edge of the Gulf in Galveston. While the view is terrific and the nightlife spunky to find a sandy spot you will need to take the kids to Galveston State Park or West Beach, both sandy hangouts. Galveston State park offers camping, birdwatching, nature study, hiking, mountain bike riding, fishing, and unsupervised beach swimming. During the summer months there are play in the Mary Moody Northern Amphitheater. Off beach bonus: The Grand 1984 Opera house is one of the few remaining theatres of its era in Texas and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1993 the 73rd Texas Legislature proclaimed The Grand "The Official Opera House of Texas." (2020 Postoffice St., Galveston. Toll-free 1-800-821-1894, (409)763-7173 or www.thegrand.com). Discovery: Nearby attractions in Galveston include Moody Gardens (with the Rainforest Pyramid, I-Max Theater, and Palm Beach. Whether you like upscale, artsy or beach trendy, Galveston has great shopping options for everyone. Wonder antique stores and curio shops abound both downtown and on Broadway. (Galveston Island State Park. 14901 FM 3005 Galveston TX 77554. (409) 737-1222 or Galveston Island State Park).
Information researched and poste by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images courtest Cinnamon Shore, Galveston Island, and FTF. Copyright updated 2015.