Houston is a wonderful city in Texas to retire in if you don’t want to stay away from the city life while ensuring you can relax and have family time at the beach. Meaning, there might not be Houston beaches per se, but you can drive to the nearby beach towns and communities where you can escape the city’s hustles and bustles once in a while.
So what nearby Houston beaches can you visit alone or with a companion? 12 of the highly recommended ones are:
- East Beach
- Stewart Beach
- Crystal Beach
- Sylvan Beach
- McGee Beach Corpus Christi
- Bryan Beach
- Surfside Beach
- Porretto Beach
- Jamaica Beach
- Sunny Beach
- West End Pocket Parks Beach
- Rockport Beach
Visiting these nearby beaches in Houston, TX, you can enjoy various activities, and most of them also have lots of amenities available. You can get to them in less than two hours when you drive at a safe speed. Let’s learn more about each of them to help you identify which one suits your wants and needs.
White Sand Beaches Near Houston
The nearby beaches in Houston, Texas, have a lot to offer, but the following are most popular for their white, clean sands or seashores.
1. East Beach
An hour away from Houston, East Beach is a great place to book birthdays, weddings, and more. It is among the most popular and largest beaches in Galveston. It also hosts live concerts, summer festivals, and other events like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sandcastle Competition. These are also among the reasons the beach permits and sells alcohol.
You can also bring the following when you visit East Beach:
- Kayaks, surfboard, and any hard-bottom crafts (West Area), except from May 15 to Labor Day
- Launching boats (West Area)
- Leashed pets (Clean up after them)
- Tarps and tents (Only in a particular section)
You can also enjoy the following activities:
- Camping, except from 12 AM to 5 AM
- Stay-off dunes
- BBQ in pits
- Fishing (West Area and South Jetty)
Some of their amenities that you and your guests will enjoy are:
- Beach supplies
- Beach wheelchairs
- Bird sanctuary in the park
- Entertainment stage
- Food and drinks
- Umbrella and chair rentals
You’ll also love that the beach has lifeguards on duty throughout your stay, and there are nearby accommodations.
2. Stewart Beach
Among the best beaches near Houston, Stewart Beach is alcohol-free, pet-friendly, and family-friendly. It also hosts sandcastle contests and other family-oriented activities.
The beach has clean, broad, hard-packed sandy shores. You’ll find a little amount of debris washed up at times, but it’s free from trash or litter. There are also shells so that you can beach comb.
The water isn’t completely clear, as it has seaweed, but it’s not muddy and is quite warm to have an enjoyable swim. Add that to the fact that there is a huge chance that you can see dolphins swimming! Although the water is calm, lifeguards patrol around the beach to ensure the safety of their guests, especially young ones.
The beach has various amenities like restrooms, showers, food and beverage shops, concession stands, gift shops, a kids’ playground, a pavilion and chair, umbrella, and wheelchair rentals. Near the beach, there are rinse showers and public showers available.
3. Crystal Beach
The beach has a seven-mile-long sugary white sand where you’re allowed to drive and park your car. You can also search for hermit crabs, beach comb, watch migratory birds, and set up a bonfire or grill. During the summer season, the beach hosts lots of fun and entertaining festivals and concerts.
It’s more than an hour away from Houston, so it’s not as crowded as the other near-Houston, Texas beaches. It doesn’t offer many amenities, so you need to bring your umbrellas, beach chairs, picnic equipment, and more. There are a few restrooms, but you won’t find any rinse showers. It’s also advisable to bring your food, but you can go to the town to find great shops and restaurants.
As such, it’s best for those who want to spend a day at the beach. Nonetheless, you can find small to large beach houses for your overnight or more accommodation needs. You may also bring your RV since you can park it on the beach. Likewise, you can set up your campsite, but make sure you get a pass.
4. Sylvan Beach
If you’re looking for white beaches in Texas close to Houston with no seaweed, Sylvan Beach is one of the top choices. It’s also among the closest in Houston, as you only need to drive for about 30 minutes to reach the area.
Not only does the beach have calm water that is safe for children, but you’ll also find a playground, a skating area, and grassy areas for a good picnic or barbecue with the family. There are also clean picnic tables and a boat ramp. Likewise, you can book the beach’s air-conditioned pavilion where you can relax better after a good swim or stroll.
You can sunbathe on and stroll along the white sand or just have a good view of Galveston Bay. Fishing off the area’s fishing pier is also one of the activities that you can enjoy, but you would need to pay $4.
If you love festivals, visit the beach during the spring season for their yearly Crawfish Jam. Additionally, you can book meetings and parties year-round.
5. McGee Beach Corpus Christi
Yet another seaweed-free, pet-friendly beach with a fishing pier, white sand, and calm water, the McGee Beach in downtown Corpus Christi is one of the best places where you and your family can relax. It’s open 24/7, and you won’t need to pay any entrance fees.
However, parking and driving on the sand aren’t allowed, as they have a designated parking lot. However, you may also park at Shoreline Boulevard.
You can sunbathe, walk along the beach, rent out chairs and umbrellas to sit and relax, and play sand volleyball. You can also enjoy water and sand activities, such as jet-skiing and pedal boating, as you can rent out equipment.
It’s also one of the highly recommended nearby beaches in Houston, TX, for your active children. There is a playground available for them, while the sidewalks are excellent for skating and biking. Other amenities around the area are restrooms, gift shops, restaurants, concession stands, and accommodations.
6. Bryan Beach
One of the family-friendly beaches where you need to pay access fees, Bryan Beach offers clear, blue water and a long stretch of white sand. It isn’t commercialized yet, so you need to purchase everything you need before visiting the area.
You can sunbathe, fish, birdwatch, and more, but you’re not allowed to bring fireworks, alcohol, and glass containers. That said, you can camp and drive on the sand without having to pay a fine or permit. What’s more, you can have a good stroll at the Bryan Beach State Recreation Area once you’re tired of enjoying the beach.
Clear Water Beaches Near Houston
Some of the beaches in Texas near Houston mostly well-known or rated for their clear waters are as follows:
7. Surfside Beach
Just 40 or 60 minutes away from Houston, Surfside Beach has a long stretch of sand and deep, clear beach water, so you expect consistent waves that are perfect for surfing. Fishing and kayaking are also fun activities that you can do in the area. You can expect to catch several fish species, such as tuna and bull redfish.
People who love birds, monarch butterflies, and other wildlife will also love Surfside Beach; simply follow the Bird and Butterfly Trail. In fact, Surfside Beach carries the name “Bird City,” given by the Texas Parks and Wildlife. You can also watch migratory birds along the seashore, especially during April and October.
Also, take advantage of the nearby three-mile Bluewater Highway Trail, where you can bike, jog, or run. You’ll also find that they have numerous rental houses available, but you’re also allowed to camp out at the beach.
8. Porretto Beach
Although not located in Houston itself, Porretto Beach is among the destinations almost always listed as the best beaches in Houston, Texas, because of their highly rated customer service. It’s also cleaner and less crowded than many beaches in the Seawall area.
You only need to drive for around 55 minutes to reach the area and access the beach via the Seawall and 10th. Parking is allowed on the beach sand, but you’ll also find a paid parking lot, amounting to a dollar per hour or ten dollars for all-day access.
The water isn’t free from seaweed but is still clear, and the sand is well-kept and has little seashells, so you can walk barefoot without worries. You and your children can also build sandcastles and have a picnic.
You can also rent out umbrellas, chairs, boogie boards, and golf carts; plus, there are many public restrooms, condos, vacation homes, and food outlets near the beach. If you’re staying at the beach with your friends and want to bring some alcoholic drinks, you can do so as long as they’re not in bottles. You can also enjoy paddle boarding and canoeing, even if the water is shallow.
The good news is that Porretto Beach will soon add some enjoyable activities such as volleyball and bonfire.
9. Jamaica Beach
More than an hour’s drive from Houston, you’ll find this calm beach has a little saltier water than the other beaches in Texas close to Houston included in this list. The expansive ocean view that it offers is relaxing for meditative walking, sunbathing, sunset and sunrise viewing, and more. Jamaica beach also has a clean, fine brown sand where your kids can build castles, play games, and more. They’ll also enjoy collecting shells distributed across the area.
You can bring your food and have a picnic with your family or visit any of the nearby restaurants. If you want to stay for a few days, you can rent out a beach house or book any accommodations close to the beach.
Another option is to bring your RV or camping van and park it at the spacious, well-maintained Jamaica Beach RV Resort. It’s a few minutes away from the beach and has available electricity, cable connections, water, and sewer systems. You’ll also love that there are surrounding palm trees and picnic tables where you can have a good view of the beach and feel the sea breeze.
10. Sunny Beach
If you prefer a beach where you can drive and park on the sand, most beachgoers recommend Sunny Beach. That’s all thanks to the hard-packed sand, ensuring the car doesn’t get stuck in the sand.
It will also allow you to park your vehicle near the water and enjoy the breeze and view if you prefer not to swim and do other activities. It also means you don’t have to worry about carrying or dragging your heavy and bulky watersport equipment, such as your kayak and paddleboard (view on Amazon), and beach chairs and umbrellas with canopy (view on Amazon) to and from the parking area and the beach.
It’s an hour away from Houston, and you can bring your dogs with you. What you’ll love the most is that it’s one of the uncrowded beaches in Texas near Houston. However, you can expect it to be a little busy during the weekends. Visitors can also bring alcoholic beverages, so keep this in mind before heading to the beach.
11. West End Pocket Parks Beach
The West End is an uncrowded, less popular beach that you should consider when looking for one of the best beaches near Houston. It has clean, hard-packed, dark sand where you can birdwatch, have a picnic, and more. It’s also an excellent option if you love music and never-ending entertainment and activities.
The best thing about the West End Pocket Parks Beach is that there are two pocket parks to choose from, where Pocket 2 is more family-friendly, has an on-site restaurant and indoor amenities, and offers free parking.
12. Rockport Beach
With its Clean Beaches Coalition certification and considered as the first Blue Wave Beach, Rockport is among the near-Houston, Texas beaches that you don’t want to miss. It offers excellent festival grounds, a bayside walking path, pavilion rentals, a boat dock, and a saltwater pool. It’s also an ideal spot to hold your wedding.
The beach also offers shaded picnic areas and tables, grills, playgrounds for your kids, and volleyball courts. While you walk around the beach, you’ll enjoy an excellent view of colorful birds, as the beach is considered a bird sanctuary. You can also fish, water ski, and jet ski.
However, since it’s among the cleanest beaches in Houston, TX, you can’t bring your pets, camp overnight, and create fire aside from the BBQ pits. You also need to park and drive in the designated area only. Overnight camping is also prohibited, but you can set up your tent while at the beach.
Nearby Houston Beaches – In Conclusion
Enjoy the hot climate during the summer or the warm temperature from early spring to mid-autumn by visiting any of the best beaches near Houston that we listed above. Choosing between them will depend on your preference; whether you want crowded or uncrowded places, bring your own items, sleep in your RV, book a room, or bring your durable tent (view on Amazon). Wherever you plan to relax, there’s no harm in visiting multiple nearby beaches in Houston, Texas, to have a relaxing retirement and family time.