Top 5 White Sand Beaches in Texas for Families

The dunes and white sands of whitecaps beach in Corpus Christi

Texas has a long tranquil coast line that faces the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Texas is not known as a beach destination. But, we will show you 5 reasons why Texans may want to steer clear of Cancun this spring and enjoy the local nature instead. Within a few hours drive from any major city, you can find romantic white sand beaches with plenty of fun activities to keep families and adventure seekers occupied on a sunny day!

1. Whitecap Beach

Precisely to its name, Whitecap Beach is a scenic white sandy beach situated in the heart of North Padre Island. This beach is special because you can drive and park your vehicle on the beach. Make sure to purchase a parking permit from the gas stations or Stripes store nearby. If lucky, you may buy it from the park patrols driving by the beach.

The beach has a sandy bottom and small waves that constantly roll in. Kids can enjoy jumping over the little waves! The beach provides umbrellas and water-sport gear, such as canoes and kayaks, to rent. Look out for jellyfish! Some people have reported being stung on the water. Overnight camping and small fires are allowed with permits. There are many condos available to rent right across the street.

Located at the end of Whitecap Road, the beach is not far from the mainland and downtown Corpus Christi. It has many easy access points. If you plan to visit during peak season, go early in the morning to avoid crowds. While vehicles are allowed on the beach, some areas are blocked off for pedestrians only. The free parking lot is located on Windward, with a staircase at the beach’s entrance.

Activities at Whitecap Beach:

  • Swimming
  • Beachcombing
  • Boogie Boarding
  • Surfing
  • Picnicking
  • Camping
  • Family gathering
  • Parasailing
  • Jogging
  • Taking a stroll with dogs (on a leash!)

2. Sylvan Beach Park

Sylvan Beach Park is a small beach park located just east of South Highway 146 in La Porte, overlooking the stunning Galveston Bay. The park features a large white sand area, playground, skatepark, fishing piers and a pavilion for events. The water can be murky sometimes and may not offer the best swimming conditions, but it is still lovely for a refreshing dip during a hot day, especially for kids. 

This beach offers many activities for the family. There are red boundaries and rip tide warnings in the water to ensure your family stays within due bounds—lifeguards are on duty during peak hours. Beware of jellyfish lurking somewhere on the shore.

We visited this beach after a 3-day trip in Houston, where we acquired this CityPASS to visit all the must-see attractions in the city. The drive to the beach took around 40 minutes from Houston. Beware that the beach is packed during weekends. Plenty of free parking lots. Picnicking is popular here—there are many dedicated picnic areas with a grill at every table. Come early to secure a spot. To visit the piers, you must purchase a Pier pass for around $4. There are baits and tackle available on-site.

Activities at Sylvan Beach Park:

  • Swimming
  • Sunbathing
  • Beachcombing
  • Picnicking
  • Fishing
  • Play on the playground
  • Flying kites
  • Volleyball
  • Watching seagulls

3. McGee Beach

McGee Beach is a lesser known white-sandy beach in Texas that stretches along Corpus Christi Bay in downtown Corpus Christi. The water is calm and shallow with small, moderate waves, perfect for kids and non-casual swimmers. In addition to swimming, you can enjoy sunbathing, strolling, or picnicking on the beach. Unfortunately, the shore is pretty rocky. Make sure to wear swimming shoes to avoid getting cuts.

The beach doesn’t provide many shades. However, canopies, umbrellas, cabanas, and chairs are available to rent. There is a large playground for kids to enjoy and a dog park for visitors with pets. Cycling and flying kites are the most popular activities here. You can also rent bicycles, e-scooters, and boards from the nearby rental shop. 

The beach has easy access and parking. Some food trucks in the parking lot offering treats and drinks! Many restaurants are also available across the road.

Activities at McGee Beach:

  • Swimming
  • Paddleboarding
  • Sunbathing
  • Beachcombing
  • Cycling
  • Jogging
  • Flying kites

4. UFO Beach

UFO Beach is a plush white-sandy beach tucked away in a part of South Padre Island, around 20 miles from Brownsville. Contrary to its name, UFO beach has nothing to do with aliens! Instead, it got its name after an emergency evacuation pod that looked like a UFO washed ashore. The clear blue water is excellent for a dip to beat the summer heat. 

Unfortunately, there is no shade on the beach. Bring sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas if necessary. 

Although located in a secluded area, this beach attracts many visitors, especially during spring break. Therefore, it may not be the best beach to relax and meditate. UFO Beach is also famous among nudists, so don’t go if nudity isn’t your thing.

The beach has easy access. Driving 4×4 wheels to reach the beach is highly recommended, or you can walk from the entrance for about 3.5 miles.

Activities at UFO Beach:

  • Swimming
  • Sunbathing
  • Beachcombing
  • Partying
  • Wade fishing
  • Camping

5. Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park is a white-sandy beach located on Texas’s southeastern coast, just east of Corpus Christi. Mustang Island is perfect for a romantic getaway or family weekend with its pure white sand, blue water, picturesque sunset, and a stunning view overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

The beach offers excellent swimming conditions and beginner-friendly surfing as the water is calm with nice little waves. However, there are no lifeguards on duty so swim at your own risk. When the wind dies down, you can enjoy kayaking and paddleboarding. Don’t feel like dipping your feet in the water? Many shaded picnic tables are available along the beach.

This beach is famous because you can park your vehicle on the beach. In addition, you can also walk to the beach from the front parking lot. There is a paved lot leading to the shaded picnic tables and ample shoreline, saved from vehicles. Camping is allowed. Just be ready for constant wind. Make sure you camp in a sturdy tent, or even better, in an RV.

The best time to visit is during the opening, as it gets pretty packed toward noon. Visit the jetty on the northern side of the beach. The rock formations create some tide pools filled with abundant marine life to explore.

Activities at Mustang Island State Park

  • Swimming
  • Surfing
  • Beachcombing
  • Kayaking
  • Paddleboarding
  • Picnicking
  • Tidepooling
  • Camping

Lakes with white sand beaches

Texas is not only spoiled with a pristine coastline. The state also has several large lake and reservoirs with beautiful sandy beaches that could rival some ocean beaches mentioned in this list. Here are 11 Lake Beaches in Texas, that you may want to explore as well.

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