Houston beaches include a variety of well-known and popular beaches, but if you do a little digging, you’ll find there are small, secluded beaches in many different areas and in coastal towns. From famed Galveston Island to South Padre Island, the beaches near Houston are diverse; there are family beaches and party beaches alike.
East Beach on Galveston Island is the largest and liveliest of all Houston beaches. It is renowned for large beach parties, partly because alcohol is permitted on the beach. Regular events take place, including sandcastle competitions, live music, and other performances creating an active backdrop. Set on the easternmost island tip, East Beach is a great spot for swimming, bird watching, and especially fishing. From May through August, East Beach has umbrellas and chairs for rent so you don’t have to lug cumbersome beach equipment along. With only a 45-minute drive to Houston, East Beach is definitely a favorite of city residents.
Galveston Island State Park Beach
The pier at Galveston Island State Park fronts West Bay opposite the Gulf side. The surrounding waters comprise two bayous and several coves. The beach here is open to visitors, but there are fewer facilities than in the past. From 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, visitors enjoy the park for a nominal fee. The beach is ideal for swimming, cycling, and shore or surf fishing. There are plenty of fish in the sea here, including sandtrout, seatrout, and flounder. Bird watching is exceptional because of a dense bird population. Camping is also permitted within three distinct loops offering 36 beachside sites.
Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island National Seashore is renowned as one of the longest, accessible undeveloped beaches in the world. Walking onto the beach, you may not see anyone for miles, depending where you are. There are no facilities, but this is all part of the natural appeal. There are hiking trails and large dunes all located in the north area of the island. The national seashore is ideal for typical beach activities; fishing, swimming sunbathing and even windsurfing but best of all, recharging.
Surfside Beach is located an hour from Houston along the beautiful barrier islands. Arriving at the water in Surfside is like a breath of fresh air. The town is lively and friendly and beach at Surfside Jetty park is large, accommodating surfers, swimmers and those just looking to relax in the sun. Surfside lies on the Gulf shore and the Brazos river bank. Fishing is especially lauded because of the vast opportunity to delve into wetlands, bays, and ocean. A boat is ideal to maximize a Surfside Beach experience, with ability to enjoy many watersports, tour the oceanfront and nearby bays, and enjoy fishing from all points.
Stewart Beach on Galveston Island might come second to East Beach in popularity overall, but is without doubt the premier family beach on Galveston, accommodating thousands looking for Houston beaches in the summer season. Characteristically wide, the beach stretches for miles along the eastern part of the island seawall. A nice roundup of facilities and services are also available, including beach rentals, a snack bar, and restrooms. There are also several fishing jetties so don’t forget your rod. Stewart Beach opens up each year in the first week of March and lifeguards are on duty from the onset of spring through the summer.