You may associate Texas with cowboy boots and country music rather than beach camping; however, the Lone Star State boasts some of the most unforgettable casual coastal getaways. Before you pitch your tent and light your campfire, it is imperative to know where exactly you can camp on a beach in Texas.
Because Texas is one of the five states that comprise the Gulf Coast region, there are practically countless sites where you can camp on the beach. From Padre Island to Mustang Park to Port Aransas, you are bound to experience an unforgettable rustic beach holiday.
Texas beaches and barrier islands boast endless camping adventures. Cities along the shoreline offer beaches ideal for fishing, swimming, kite surfing, kayaking, birdwatching, and wave after wave of family fun, with options for RV, sheltered, and rustic sites. For the ideal Texan beach camping getaway, it is essential to research where to camp.
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The 8 Best Spots To Camp On The Beach In Texas
There are 350 miles of beaches in Texas where you can camp, including some fantastic options at Padre Island National Seashore like North Beach Campground, Yarborough Pass Campground, and South Beach Campground. While Texas has a strong camping culture, many people are unaware of the beach camping options so close to Houston, San Antonio, Galveston, and Corpus Christi.
1. Padre Island National Seashore
Padre Island is the biggest barrier island in the world that invites you to pitch your tent and explore its breathtaking coastline. With hundreds of bird species, Padre Island is undoubtedly a bird-lovers paradise. Areas within the park require a camping permit, which can be obtained at the park’s entrance kiosks.
The North Beach Campground site is ideal for old-fashioned camping. This spot, located along the Gulf of Mexico, welcomes tents and RVs to set up camp free of charge. Keep an eye out for baby turtles during the summer months.
Yarborough Pass is another breathtaking beach campsite, but it is not enjoyed without some elbow grease. This area is only accessible via the South Beach 4-wheel drive area and boating down the Laguna Madre. The nearest amenities are 12 miles away, so come prepared for a secluded experience.
Malaquite Campground and Bird Island Campground are the perfect spots to pitch your tent for campers seeking the comfort of shower and toilet amenities. Although these sites charge a small fee per night, the spectacular views are well worth the cost.
However, if you are a fan of primitive camping, you will revel in the rustic beauty of South Beach Campground. Huddle around a beach campfire, cast your fishing line into the water and bask in the magnificent sunsets.
2. Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island State Park is undoubtedly a bucket-list camping spot on the Texas coast. The park’s rustic campsites are all located on the water’s edge. In a 1.5-mile radius, the park has 50 primitive campsites right on the beach.
The best part about camping at Mustang Island State Park is that it is one of the few places that allows small beach campfires. Yes, you can roast marshmallows right next to your tent and spend a romantic night camping on Mustang Island.
3. Port Aransas
Port Aransas’ beaches are some of the vastest on the Gulf Coast, leaving you with plenty of spots to set up a secluded campsite. Drive right up to the dunes to camp in their shade or pitch your tent right next to the water’s edge.
I. B. Magee Beach Park is a popular getaway in Port Aransas that offers a maximum stay of three nights in its rustic beach campsites. There are also several RV parks on the beach in Port Aransas. Simply purchase a $12 annual permit to drive and park on the beach, and you’re set!
4. Corpus Christi
While there are several campgrounds in Corpus Christi, the best sites are in the Coastal Bend region. Discover the sandy stretches, dunes, tidal pools, and intertidal creatures. Padre Balli County Park in Corpus Christi offers fantastic, paved campsites right on the beach. You can build sandcastles, swim in the water, or simply spend the day reading in the sand.
Regardless of where you go, camping in Corpus Christi, Texas, is a lot of fun because you can enjoy the city life, see the USS Lexington, and other attractions in the city while camping.
5. Galveston Island
On all Galveston Island beaches, overnight camping is prohibited. Galveston Island State Park is the only place where you can camp overnight on the beach. The Galveston Island State Park has 36 campsites that face the beach. RV camping is also very popular in Galveston, Texas. There are designated RV parks and RV-friendly areas within state parks.
The state park is also suitable for tent camping, though the sites closest to the water can fill up quickly. If you intend to camp in the state park, we strongly advise you to make reservations in advance.
6. Bolivar Peninsula
The Bolivar Peninsula, located on the upper Gulf Coast, is an excellent location for beach camping in Texas. Camping is permitted on the Bolivar peninsula’s 27 miles of coastal beaches. Crystal Beach is in the heart of the Bolivar Peninsula. Crystal Beach and Bolivar Peninsula Camping are close to the Houston metro area and make for an ideal weekend getaway.
Crystal Beach camping is very popular because this area is close to stores and restaurants. Crystal Beach also has restrooms and showers. High Island is located east of Crystal Beach. The beach is narrow, but it is also popular with campers. Drive along Highway 87 until you find a campground that you like.
Surfside, near Freeport, Texas, is an excellent location for beach camping. While camping is not permitted in the city of Surfside, it is allowed on Brazoria County Beach, which is located outside the city limits. Camping is free, and the proximity to Houston makes it popular with city dwellers.
The sand is hard-packed, and the beach is suitable for walking. For up to 14 days, visitors can camp right on the water’s edge. The views are spectacular, and you can go crabbing, fishing, kayaking, or even horseback riding. Although there are no facilities at the beach sites, there are toilets and showers at Stahlman Park, located nearby.
8. Magnolia Beach
Magnolia Beach is one of the most unforgettable spots in Texas to go beach camping. All year, beach camping is completely free. What’s best is that the sand is hard-packed, and it is straightforward to get here by car. You can enjoy breathtaking views of Matagorda Bay from your campsite.
A fishing pier is located near the south end of the beach, and there are numerous bait shops nearby. Magnolia Beach can get cold and windy in the winter and spring, so dress appropriately. There is a 14-day camping limit at Magnolia Beach, and on-site restrooms, showers, and picnic facilities are available.
When Is The Best Time To Camp On The Beach In Texas?
Texas has a generally hot and dry climate. Summers in Dallas are typically humid with thunderstorms, whereas summers in the South and West are simply hot and dry.
Fall brings the changing of the leaves in the northern parts of Texas, and temperatures begin to fall slowly. Winter is ideal for camping in Texas because many burn bans are lifted, and the chillier weather allows for lengthier, more challenging hikes. Mosquitoes are less active in the winter.
The best season to visit is in the spring. Spring brings a plethora of flowers, as well as mild weather. Thunderstorms usually start later in the spring and last through the summer.
The Lone Star State boasts some of the most unforgettable casual coastal getaways. Because Texas is one of the five states that comprise the Gulf Coast region, there are countless spots where you can camp on the beach. From Padre Island to Mustang Park to Port Aransas, you are bound to experience an unforgettable rustic beach holiday.