The shores of Texas are home to many vast, expansive beaches that offer visitors a fantastic opportunity to have some idyllic “me-time.” Bring a good book, pack your yoga mat, and download your favorite podcast to rejuvenate and recharge at these 10 secluded beaches. Tranquil picnic dates during sunset at these beaches are a surefire way to win over someone’s heart! Most of these beaches also allow vehicles, so if you have a 4×4 to escort your date in, even better!
Mapping the most secluded Texan beaches
As you can see from our map below, the 10 beaches we want to show you are conveniently distributed across the coast facing the Gulf of Mexico. So if you’re in Houston, San Antonio, or Corpus Christi there are several beaches to visit for a relaxing afternoon or a romantic sunset.
1. Matagorda Beach
Located southwest of Houston and northwest of Corpus Christi, Matagorda Beach has remained untouched for decades. It boasts around 58 miles of coastline and is accessible by ferry from Galveston. Matagorda embodies the “Live and Let Live” attitude, as the rules and regulations here are very relaxed compared to nearby beaches. Swimming is reserved for seasoned locals, as you must know the occasional riptides and strong currents.
Camping is allowed free of charge. Visitors can camp anywhere on the beach, including the Jetty park, for up to 72 hours. Tents and RVs are permitted but beware of the soft sand. Bring insect repellent if you plan to stay overnight.
The beach is made up of two entrances. The first entrance is where most people drive their 4×4 onto the beach. However, if you don’t have a Matagorda Beach Vehicle Permit, you can park your vehicle at the parking lot and walk to the beach. The second entrance is more secluded and has fewer people. Just continue straight after the first entrance, next to Matagorda Nature Park. This section of the beach doesn’t have many vehicles, making it better to walk around and relax.
Matagorda Beach in a nutshell:
- A long, spacious beach, so there’s a spot for everyone
- Free admission and parking
- Great for swimming (beware of riptides!)
- No lifeguards on duty
- Pier for fishing
- Camping is allowed
- You can drive your 4×4 on the beach
- Dog-friendly (on a leash when crowded)
- Bring insect repellent
- Despite being secluded, naturist sunbathing is not tolerated
2. Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island State Park is a secluded white sand beach located south of Port Aransas. It is a peaceful beach, perfect for families with kids and couples looking for a romantic getaway. The water is calm with gentle waves, suitable for non-casual swimmers or surfers. If lucky, you may encounter sea turtles. You can also relax in the shaded picnic area and watch the pelicans. They usually fly over and dive into the water for fish. There is a rental shop for the usual watersports equipment, such as kayaks, paddleboards, kites, etc. The constant wind is perfect for flying a kite!
The entrance costs $5 daily for adults and free for kids under 12. Visitors can drive their 4×4 onto the beach. Rangers patrol regularly to make sure everything’s under control. They will gladly help you push out if your tires get stuck. Overnight and RV Camping is allowed. For primitive camping, ensure you have a sturdy tent, as the wind can be atrocious.
Mustang Island State Park in a nutshell:
- A small beach in Corpus Christi
- Great for families and couples
- Great for beachcombing – many shells, fish bones, and hermit crabs
- Calm water all year-long with gentle waves
- Perfect for watching sea turtles and pelicans
- Dog-friendly (on a leash)
- Public consumption of alcohol is prohibited
3. Boca Chica Beach
Boca Chica Beach is located on the southernmost point of Texas, about 23 miles from Brownsville! It is a perfect spot for beach enthusiasts looking for tranquility without standard tourist-style amenities. Additionally, this place is considered the portal to the moon and mars, as the SpaceX launchpad is located right here.
The beach is a seashell galore! Bring a bag if you love hunting seashells. Wear shoes if necessary. There may be better beaches for swimming because the surf here can be very choppy. However, it is still suitable for a quick dip during a hot day. Fishing is one of the most popular activities on this beach.
Four-wheel drive is highly recommended! You can drive up to the beach, set up your lawn chair, and relax. In addition, you can also walk on foot for around 4 miles to the beach. Unfortunately, there are no bathrooms, food vendors, or lifeguards on the beach.
Boca Chica Beach in a nutshell:
- Located about 50 yards from the SpaceX launchpad
- Perfect for beachcombing
- Not the best for swimming
- Choppy surf
- A 4×4 drive is highly recommended
- Laid-back rules and regulations
- No beach facilities
4. Rockport Beach
Rockport Beach is a relatively small but cozy beach situated on a peninsula in Rockport. It is the first beach to be considered “Blue Wave Beach,” according to the Clean Beach Coalition, due to its impeccable cleanliness. Although located in Corpus Christi, Rockport is less-crowded than any other local beach.
The crystal clear water is generally calm and shallow, and thus perfect for kids and non-swimmers; just beware of jellyfish! Other activities on the beach include kayaking and canoeing. Surfing here can be underwhelming as there are no consistently large waves. There is an area for migrant birds on the beach. They usually sit still and don’t move out of the way, so make sure you don’t run them over, or you could get hit with a hefty fine!
The parking and entrance cost $10 for a daily pass. There are many little shops and restaurants along the coastline. You can also pack your own food and eat it in one of the tiki huts available on the beach.
Rockport Beach in a nutshell:
- Small family-friendly beach
- One of the cleanest beaches in Texas
- Water is calm and shallow
- Perfect swimming condition throughout the year
- Playground and pet area available
- Excellent for watching bird
- Not the best for surfing
5. Malaquite Beach
If you can’t already tell by the name, Malaquite Beach is a quiet, secluded beach on Padre Island. The beach is around 60 miles long with soft powdery white sand, excellent for walking barefoot, building castles, watching the waves, and relaxing. The beach is so spacious; it feels like you are on your own private little beach!
The beach is traffic-free as no vehicles are allowed on the beach except in the camping area. Swimming can be dangerous, especially during winter when the surf is high. However, the steady wind with no gusts makes it an excellent spot for windsurfing and flying kites. There is a little shop providing snacks and drinks.
Malaquite Beach in a nutshell:
- A long, spacious beach
- Soft sand with no seashells
- No vehicles are allowed on the beach
- Swimming can be dangerous
- No lifeguards on duty
- Strong wind
- Dog-friendly (on a leash!)
- Great for watching turtles
6. San Jose Island
San Jose Island is mostly frequented by birdwatchers. This island is privately owned, meaning it is largely untouched and undisturbed. You can wander around and have a moment to enjoy the views over the Gulf without a crowd. It is a beachcombing heaven! The sparkling golden sand lies 21 miles along the coastline and is full of unique natural treasures, such as sand dollars, lightning whelks, starfish, angel wings, and more.
Swimming here is a lot of fun, as the water has abundant marine life. Unfortunately, the beach can only be accessed by boat. The easiest way to go is by taking a jetty from Fisherman’s Wharf in Port Aransas. There are no beach facilities, such as bathrooms, fresh water, small shops, etc. Make sure to bring your own supplies.
San Jose Island in a nutshell:
- Is privately owned
- Can only be accessed by boat
- Best for beachcombing
- Good swimming condition
- No facilities on the beach
- No lifeguards available
- Best for watching birds
- Fishing is another popular activity
7. Surfside Beach
Surfside Beach is relatively close to Houston and known for its consistent waves and wind. It is an excellent spot for surfing, windsurfing, and flying kites! In addition, you may see some dolphins jumping over the horizon while surfing. The beach is quiet most of the time. It is also cleaner than most beaches nearby.
Like any other beaches in Texas, you can drive and park your vehicle along the coastline as long as you have a permit. You can also park just off the beach and walk your way through the pedestrian zone on the right side of the beach. Swimming can be dangerous here, especially during high tide. There are many restaurants just walking distance from the beach.
Date idea: Horses are allowed on this beach, and you can even book a guided equestrian tour on Surfside Beach.
Surfside Beach in a nutshell:
- Located in Houston
- Great spot for surfing and windsurfing
- Not good swimming condition
- Cleaner than other beaches nearby
- Driving onto the beach is allowed
- Many restaurants nearby
- You can even ride
8. Magnolia Beach
Magnolia Beach is a 1.5 miles long sandy beach located on Matagorda Bay, just 20 minutes from Port Lavaca. This private beach is best known for its free camping. There are many RV parks on the coast with full hooks up. Visitors can pull their rig onto the beach and park it for 14 days. Make sure to bring your supplies, as the nearest grocery shop is around 20 minutes away.
The beach is full of shells. Wearing sandals or shoes is highly recommended. The water is calm and warm, so swimming can be a lot of fun. Many people enjoy fishing on the beach. There are many covered picnic tables with grills available.
Magnolia Beach in a nutshell:
- Located just 20 minutes from Port Lavaca
- Free camping on the beach
- Bring your own supplies
- Beachcombing heaven
- Wearing sandals or shoes is highly recommended
- Great swimming condition
- Has picnic tables and grills
- Great for fishing
9. Whitecap Beach
Precisely to its name, Whitecap Beach is a white sandy beach located in the heart of North Padre Island. The unspoiled 1.5 miles of sand along the coastline is the perfect place to have a picnic, relax, or simply escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The water is calm with little waves. Kids can enjoy splashing around and jumping over the little waves. Beware of jellyfish!
The beach provides umbrellas, chairs, and water-sport gear to rent. Watching the sun go down while kayaking or canoeing can be a great experience. Overnight camping and a small fire are allowed with a permit. In addition, visitors can drive and park their vehicles on the beach. Make sure to purchase a permit at a local store nearby or through one of the rangers.
Surrounded by luxurious hotels and condos, this beach is still unbeknownst to many. For easier access and a more private feeling, you can stay in one of many condos across the beach.
Whitecap Beach in a nutshell:
- Located on North Padre Island
- Kids and family-friendly beach
- Suitable for swimming (but beware of jellyfish!)
- Overnight camping is allowed
- Drive and park vehicle on the beach is allowed
- Lifeguards on duty
- Many condos and restaurants nearby
10. Indianola Beach Park
Indianola Beach Park is a lesser-known beach located in Port Lavaca. Like its neighboring beach, Magnolia Beach, this beach offers free camping. For a free campground, you are spoiled with well-maintained amenities, such as sheltered pavilions, picnic tables with grills, and flush toilets. There are no charges or registration! You can just park your vehicle along the coastline and enjoy the beach.
The sand is rough and full of broken seashells. Wear water shoes to avoid getting cuts. You can swim on this beach, but be careful as there are no lifeguards on duty. Also, avoid swimming during high tide. If you plan on bringing your dogs, make sure you put them on a leash, as there are many stray dogs on the beach.
Indianola Beach Park in a nutshell:
- Located adjacent to Magnolia Beach
- No charge or registration
- Offers free camping
- The sand is full of broken seashells – wear shoes!
- Swimming can be dangerous during high tide
- Good for fishing
- Dog-friendly (beware of stray dogs!)