Drive Along Texas' Beautiful Coast On This Perfect Road Trip For Beach Lovers

Texas may not be the first place that crosses your mind when dreaming up the quintessential beach-themed road trip. You might want to think again, as the Gulf Coast of Texas is home to some of the South's prettiest beaches, cultural landmarks, and seaside cities. This six-hour road trip route traces the cusp of the Texan coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, creating a scenic canvas of beauty throughout the drive. Beginning in Houston, Texas, you'll make your way south to Corpus Christi, passing through the coastal towns of Galveston and Port Aransas to break up the voyage. Along the way, sprinkle in some pieces of Texas heritage and a burrito or two! The diversity of each city keeps things interesting and showcases some of the best beaches in Texas.

Spring and fall mark the two most favorable months for visiting the sun-drenched beaches and seaside boardwalks of the Texas Gulf Coast. Temperatures tend to cool down from the highs of the summer while still leaving a comfortable hint of warmth in the air. The fall months, in particular, can bring with it some pricer hotel rates but can be more than worth it. From wandering along the edge of the seawall in Galveston and reliving the sweet summer serenades of summer at Pleasure Pier to watching the sunset over the ocean in Corpus Christi, you can find yourself lost in paradise along this coastal trek.

Houston to Galveston

As the largest city in Texas and one of the most diverse in this state, Houston is the perfect base to start your Texas Gulf Coast road trip. Buffalo Bayou and Market Square Park are two great summertime-like hotspots, particularly Market Square Park, located in the heart of Houston's Historic District. Spread out a picnic blanket among the seasonal flowers and manicured gardens for regular movie screenings and outdoor performances in the park. On your way out of town, stop by Urban Harvest Farmers Market to stock up on the region's freshest produce for some indulgent snacks on the road to Galveston.

An hour from Houston and fondly known as the "Playground of the South," Galveston remains a summertime sensation long after June, July, and August have come and gone. Home to colorful, beach-chic neighborhoods and sun-drenched beaches, it's a popular pick for Texan visitors. The Galveston Seawall is the city's main attraction, stretching 10.3 miles and brimming with beach bars, as well as surf and skate shops. Wedged against the Seawall and rising out over the Gulf coast, the Pleasure Pier lives up to its name in every way. This historic attraction is a close cousin of the iconic Santa Monica pier, with a host of thrilling rides and all the funnel cakes you can eat — an essential when in Galveston. East Beach and Stewart Beach are both next-door neighbors to the pier and boardwalk, coaxing wayfarers off the promenade and into the water.

Galveston to Corpus Christi

A mecca for music, art, and deep-sea fishing, Port Aransas was named one of the "Top 10 Best Beach Towns in the South" by Southern Living Magazine. Just over four hours from Galveston, crossing the county line into Port Aransas opens the floodgates into a dreamy seaside escape along the Gulf. Mustang Island is a popular pick among honeymooning couples, but that doesn't stop solo travelers from perusing the sandy shores of this coastal prairie. Named after the island's first inhabitants, a band of wild horses, this offshore oasis is home to five miles of golden sand and whispering palms. Golf carting and dolphin tours are part of what gives Port Aransas its southern charm, making it a favorite not only among out-of-state travelers but also among local Texans.

Just outside of Port Aransas and Corpus Christi, Rockport Beach emulates the white sandy shores of the Caribbean. Lined with thatched tiki shacks that parallel the surf, the golden dunes are framed on either side by waves and flowering grassland. Heading further south, 31 miles from Rockport Beach, Corpus Christi is home to the Texas Sealife Center, Texas State Aquarium, and South Padre Island National Seashore. The southern coastal park was first settled by Native Americans and Spanish explorers, with all 66 miles of shore banks still retaining the magic of its stunning channels and beaches. Cap off a day well spent with a sunset over a campfire and s'mores at Whitecap Beach in true Texas fashion.