Houston is known for its mix of urban scenes, rich American culture and history, and being the capital of space exploration! But there’s also several fantastic activity-packed beaches near Houston that are well worth visiting too.

So if you’re visiting this beautiful city, why not drop by for some sun, sea and sand. To help you out, here’s our ten favorite beaches near Houston. Enjoy!

1. Stewart Beach, Galveston

If we were to select a beach that is perfect for family fun, then Stewart Beach would be at the top of that list. In fact this beach has even been included in the ‘Top 10 Beaches for Families’ by Family Vacation Critic in the past!

Stewart Beach has an array of colourful beach umbrellas upon entering, smooth soft sand and a clean shore which makes it perfect for kids to make sandcastles and have fun. It’s a popular beach for volleyball and soccer too.

Don’t stay the whole day though as you can head on over to the nearby Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark for even more fun, or visit the Moody Gardens Aquarium to make family memories.

beaches near Houston

2. Rocky Beach, Garner State Park Beach

Want to escape the heat of Houston? We’ve got the perfect beach for you. Rocky Beach, hidden inside the Garner State Park has been described as the gem of Concan, and we tend to agree.

Surrounding this beach are mesquite trees that provide lots of shade, while the cool clear water that laps against the shore is perfect for swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding.

If you want more activities then how about paddle boating at the nearby Frio River, playing miniature golf at the mini-golf course in the state park, or enjoying a guided hike to explore the crystal caves in the park and learn about native plants and animals.

This beach and surrounding park is beautiful at all times of the year, but you should definitely take a picnic and visit here during fall – the colors are spectacular!

3. Crystal Beach, Bolivar Peninsula

If we could use one word to describe this beach, it would be ‘tranquillity’. The therapeutic waves lapping against the shore, the cool gentle breeze on your face, and the chirping sound of the many birds that live here makes this beach near Houston the perfect place for quiet reflective time, especially when visiting early in the morning.

Considering there are 100 migratory bird species that can be found in the surrounding nature here, it’s little surprise that bird watching is a popular activity at Crystal Beach.

You can even camp overnight by the beach, so get those S’mores ready and prepare for an evening adventure to remember! If you’re able to time your visit with the annual Crab Festival that happens on the Bolivar Peninsula then even better. This festival showcases local music, delicious seafood, and great entertainment.

beaches near Houston

4. Padre Island National Seashore (PINS), Corpus Christi

Padre Island is around four hours from Houston but is well worth the trip as it’s famous for the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle hatchling release that occurs along the coast here. Many tourists and locals gather to witness the baby turtles hatch and make their way to the sea, so if you’re looking for a beach near Houston that will provide something really special, this could be it.

We recommend hiring a bike and riding along the gorgeous shoreline here while stopping to beachcomb on your way. Even better, camp and enjoy a night under a canopy of stars.

If you are in Corpus Christi for a couple of days, head to the farmers market downtown and enjoy delicious local treats. Or for something to get your adrenaline pumping, go windsurfing at Laguna Madre with Worldwinds Windsurfing, before grabbing a craft beer at Executive Surf Club where you can also enjoy some live music. Easily one of the best beaches near Houston.

5. Matagorda Bay Nature Park Beach, Matagorda

If fishing is your passion, then this is one of the best beaches near Houston for you!

Matagorda Bay Beach is known locally as a fishing paradise as it’s home to many wild fish species that has fishers returning again and again. You can book your own fishing trip with the Matagorda Bay Fishing Team for the best chance to get hold of some redfish, amberjack, and trout, but also to potentially catch a glimpse of the circling sharks in the deep sea during summer.

What’s also great about this beach is that it’s possible to rent watercraft here, making it much easier to enjoy beach activities and have some fun on the water. So why not go rafting in the Mission River, hire a boat to explore the shoreline, or grab a kayak and work up a sweat!

There’s several festivals held in Matagorda County too, like the Matagorda County Fair, Bay City Rice Festival, and Palacios Carnival, so if you’re lucky your visit may coincide with festivities as well.

beaches near Houston

6. East Beach, Galveston

Located just one hour from Houston, East Beach is widely known for the live concerts and engaging festivals that’s held on its shores throughout the year. Lined with a boardwalk, restrooms, an entertainment stage, and the opportunity to rent beach chairs and umbrellas, this is a fun and relaxing beach that is also one of the few beaches in Galveston that permits alcohol.

So what sort of fun can you expect here? Well every year East Beach hosts an Oktoberfest, and there’s even the Annual American Institute of Architect (AIA) Sandcastle Competition! For additional activities, we recommend a visit to the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum as well as stopping by the RumShack for some tasty drinks.

7. Surfside Beach, Brazoria

If you find East Beach too crowded, then Surfside Beach is a great alternative that’s only around 45 mins to 1 hour from Houston.

Surfside Beach is famous for its friendly atmosphere, clear sand, and of course, lovely warm water for dipping your toes in. It’s not only known as a sunbathers’ paradise though, as this is one of the best beaches near Houston for Kiteboarding and Hydrofoil-surfing. You can rent equipment or even get lessons from Houston Kiteboarding, so it’s easy to have an exciting day on the waves here. Why not go spearfishing and diving with Texas Bluewater Safaris when visiting too, both activities of which will leave you with incredible memories.

After a day of water sports head over to Pier 30 to immerse yourself in the delicious aroma of grilled seafood, or ride a horse alongside the waves with Beach Bum Horse Rides.

beaches near Houston

8. Galveston Island State Park Beach, Galveston

Just an hour away from Houston is this wonderful beach which is full of fun outdoor activities like beach soccer, surfing, picnicking, fishing, and beach combing. However for us, the highlight of this beach are the breathtaking sunsets, where the sky takes over with gorgeous hues of orange and pink.

If visiting, definitely explore the rest of Galveston Island State Park as this is a great bird watching area. Or visit the nearby Schlitterbahn Waterpark and take a heart-pounding ride down one of the rides.

When visiting with children you may want to pass by Pleasure Pier too as they have rides, entertainment and rollercoasters – the Iron Shark Rollercoaster is our favorite!

9. El Jardin Beach, Seabrook

For those of you seeking serenity and solitude, this beach could be perfect. Located in Seabrook, Texas, El Jardin is known locally as being something of a tranquil escape due to having fewer crowds than many of the other beaches near Houston. That allows you to bring your pets to the beach, have peaceful picnics, and even have a BBQ as they’re permitted on the beachfront.

If you do visit this beach for a quick dip, we suggest you make way to Barge 295 and sip some of the best cocktails around. Why not hike the nearby Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail next to Gulley Pine Park so you can enjoy nature, or take your turn in tasting the local grilled seafood at Tookies SeaFood – the travel is worth the taste alone!

beaches near Houston

10. Quintana Beach, Brazoria

What’s more convenient for a beach vacation than six miles of stunning sandy coastline with RV sites, cabins, restrooms, and showers? You get all of that at Quintana Beach and more!

Swim and surf during day here, then at dusk start your campfire, strum your guitar, and get singing with friends and family. This is easily one of our favorite beaches near Houston.

Once you’ve experienced everything this beach has to offer, you should visit other iconic sites in Brazoria like the Sea Center Texas and the Urban Air Trampoline Park. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, visit our favorite pizza place All-Star Pizza.