12 Private Beaches In Texas For the Perfect Sandy Getaway

To be clear from the start, in this article we’ll be discussing not privately-owned beaches, but those which offer privacy – seclusion from the crowds and tourist noise; somewhere you can go and chill, let go, read a book, do some yoga, or take friends along to for a sunset picnic by the gulf. 

Lucky for those looking for such places, there are a lot to choose from on the shores of Texas, some of which you can 4×4 drive on, making them easy to access even though they are not the most popular of destinations. Note that just because these beaches are secluded, naturism will not necessarily be accepted or allowed. 

Check out our choice 12 private beaches in Texas below, then pack a picnic, grab some friends and go escape for a day by the sea.

Before we start, did you know that the Texas beaches get large amounts of seaweed washed ashore seasonally? Seaweed is a natural part of the ecosystem and is a good source of food for birds, turtles, and other marine life. Seaweed also helps form those protective dunes you’ll see on your exploration, and over time breaks down into rich nutrients. Seaweed can be smelly, but it has its uses, so please learn to accept it! 

1. Eisenhower State Park Beach

Eisenhower State Park Beach. Photo by Brena R.

Around an hour north of Dallas, Eisenhower State Park is a secluded white-sand oasis on the shores of Lake Texoma, sheltered by trees and rocky bluffs. There are four miles of hiking trails to explore if you’re not one for sun-bathing, and plenty of wildlife, flora and fossils to look out for. 

Note that the stairs down to the beach are steep and the trails can be muddy after rainfall.

Eisenhower Beach. Photo by CA.

Don’t Miss…

  • Hiking the trails
  • Horseback riding
  • Renting paddleboats or kayaks
  • Wildlife spotting

Good To Know

$5 admission for adults.

Showers and bathrooms are available, though the bathrooms haven’t been getting good reviews recently!

Camping is available in the area, with good hookups.

There are picnic tables for visitor use.

Where: 50 Park Rd 20, Denison, Texas

2. Matagorda Beach

Matagorda. Photo by Ashley G.

Matagorda has an astounding 58 miles of beach, 23 miles of which, east of the Colorado River, are open to vehicles. The 35 miles of beach west of the river can only be reached by water – boat, kayak, canoe – giving the area special appeal for adventurers looking for an escape. Note that the first 8 miles of beach is private property, after which it is state-owned and open for you to enjoy.

It’s a great beach for swimming, though it comes with a riptide warning – stay in the shallows if the waves start to get rough!

The beach can be accessed via one of two entrances. The first entrance is where most people drive their 4×4 onto the beach. If you don’t have a Matagorda Beach Vehicle Permit, though, you can park your vehicle at the parking lot and walk to the beach. The second entrance tends to have fewer people – find it next to Matagorda Nature Park.

Matagorda Beach. Photo by Sabrina M.

Don’t Miss…

  • Beachcombing
  • Bird watching
  • Kayaking the wetlands in Matagorda Nature Park
  • A walk on the pier

Good To Know

Free parking and free admission. You can drive your 4×4 onto the beach if you have an annual $10 Matagorda Beach Vehicle Permit (buy there), or get there by ferry from Galveston. The entrance near Matagorda Nature Park/Jetty Park is quieter.

There are bathrooms, showers and picnic tables.

It is illegal to drive off-trail in the dunes.

Watch out for rattlesnakes in the dunes and grassy areas.

Watch out for riptides while swimming! Avoid swimming near the jetties, piers, passes, Mitchell’s Cut and the mouth of the Colorado River, as these are high-risk areas. If you get caught in a riptide, swim sideways (parallel to the beach) to get out of it.

There are no lifeguards on duty.

You can camp anywhere on the beach, for free, for up to 72 hours, including in Jetty Park. RV drivers should avoid the soft, dry areas of sand if they don’t want to get stuck.

Bring bug spray.

Dogs are allowed, though when it’s busier, they should be kept on a leash.

Where: Matagorda Beach, Matagorda, Texas

3. Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park. Photo by Lisanothingmuch

Mustang Island State Park, south of Port Aransas, is the perfect destination for family and friends looking to swim, surf, bike, kayak, fly kites and bird watch, promising year-round calm water and gentle waves along a five-mile stretch of Gulf of Mexico white-sand coastline.

Don’t Miss…

  • Flying a kite (yes, it can get windy here!)
  • Canoeing or paddleboarding along the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail 
  • Beachcombing for shells and fish bones (leave the live sealife alone!)
  • Spotting sea turtles and pelicans 
  • Camping on the beach

Good To Know

Admission is $5/day for adults and free for under 12s. You can drive your 4×4 onto the beach.

Rangers are on patrol here for your safety.

There is a rental shop for watersports equipment, such as kayaks and paddleboards.

There are 48 campsites with hookups near the beach and primitive camping is allowed- though be ready for some wild winds!

No alcohol allowed.

Dogs are welcome but should be kept on a leash.

Where: 9394 State Highway 361 in Corpus Christi.

4. South Packery Channel Beach (Jetty Beach)

South Packery Jetty Beach. Photo by David Sykes / Caller-Times

Rarely overcrowded, and close to hotels, South Packery Jetty Beach divides Mustang and Padre Island (mile markers 210-213) and offers a great classic spot for quiet swimming, summer snorkeling and playing in the soft, white sand, or, in wilder weather, surfing by the jetty! Hang out on that jetty awhile and absorb the sea vibes – even better around sunset!

Don’t Miss…

  • Beachcombing for shells
  • Spotting sea turtles in the early morning or evening

Good To Know

Free parking and admission. The only way in is Access Road 3A, 25 minutes from Downtown Corpus Christi. You’ll need a permit to drive or park on the beach.

This is the only beach on North Padre Island that you can camp on. 

There are no restrooms or showers.

Watch out for the strong riptides! Avoid swimming near jetties, piers or passes, as these are high-risk areas. If you get caught in a riptide, swim sideways (parallel to the beach) to get out of it.

Also check out the nearby 1.5-mile Whitecap Beach.

Where: 14802 Windward Dr., Corpus Christi, Texas

5. Boca Chica Beach

Boca Chica Beach. Photo by Lacey C.

Separated from South Padre Island by the Brazos Santiago Pass, the peaceful Boca Chica beach on the southernmost point of Texas offers a picturesque, 8-mile stretch of sand, salt flats, dunes, and mangrove marshes, just 50 yards from the SpaceX launchpad.

This is an ideal destination for those wanting some tranquility as they swim, snorkel, kiteboard, and birdwatch. Note, though, that the sea can get choppy here, so it’s not the ideal place to head to just for swimming or surfing.

Don’t Miss…

  • Beachcombing for seashells
  • Dolphin spotting
  • Kiteboarding, kayaking or jet skiing

Good To Know

You can drive your 4×4 onto the beach, or walk 4 miles from the nearest parking lot. 

There are no bathrooms or lifeguards on the beach.

There are no food vendors, so bring your own water and picnic supplies. Pack out what you pack in!

Dogs are allowed.

Where: 54299, Boca Chica Boulevard, Boca Chica Village, Cameron County, Texas

6. Rockport Beach

Rockport Beach. Photo by James and Sheila

The small, family-friendly Rockport Beach, on a peninsula northeast of Rockport Harbor, offers a whole mile of sand and shallow sea recreation in calm, clean environs. It was the first Texas beach to be declared a “Blue Wave Beach” by the National Clean Beaches Coalition. The crystal clear, calm and shallow water is ideal for kids of all ages to play in.

Don’t Miss…

  • Bird watching 
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Horseback riding

Good To Know

Parking and entrance cost $10/day.

Watch out for the birds sitting on the beach. If you hurt them, you will be fined.

Also watch out for jellyfish!

Hungry? Dine at one of the many nearby restaurants, or shop for (or bring your own) food for a picnic under a tiki umbrella on the beach. 

Not a great beach for surfing.

There is a playground and pet area.

Where: 210 Seabreeze Dr., Rockport, Texas

7. I.B. Magee Beach Park

I.B. Magee Beach Park. Photo by AJ & Brenda

The less-frequented ADA-accessible I.B. Magee Beach Park offers 167 acres of simple, year-round seaside tranquility for those who like swimming in clean water, picnicking and bird-watching (this is seagull central!).

Don’t Miss…

  • The pay-to-enter Horace Caldwell Pier
  • Beachcombing for shells
  • Ship watching

Good To Know

On the northernmost point of Mustang Island, the I.B. Magee Beach Park has around 70 tent and concrete RV sites two minutes from the beach, with full hookups, a bathroom, shower, and plenty of picnic tables. Call ahead to reserve.

Keep your food locked away – there are coyotes on the prowl here!

Dogs are welcome.

Where: 321 on the Beach, Port Aransas, Texas

8. Malaquite Beach

Malaquite Beach on Padre Island. Photo by Jacksbox

Our favorite on this list, Malaquite Beach on Padre Island offers 60 miles of soft, powdery white sand, in uncrowded, relaxing surrounds. Unlike most others in this article, no cars are allowed on this beach other than in the camping zone, making it extra safe for little ones to build their sandcastles! Sadly, swimming is not great here, and is even considered dangerous. Stay in the shallows and avoid the sea altogether when it’s rough.

There is a high chance of wind here, making it ideal for kite flying and windsurfing!

Don’t Miss…

  • Spotting sea turtles

Good To Know

You need to pay admission to Padre Island National Seashore.

No vehicles are allowed on the beach, only in camping areas.

Swimming can be dangerous, and there are no lifeguards.

There is a shop selling basic snacks and drinks.

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a leash. 

Where: 20420 Park Rd 22, Corpus Christi, Texas.

9. San Jose Island

San José Island. Photo by: Kay R.

San José Island is a privately owned wildlife preservation with a stunning view of the Gulf, reachable by ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf in Port Aransas. As long as you stay below the vegetation line, the 21 miles of golden sand and deep blue sea are yours to respectfully enjoy! 

People go here for shelling- and after rough weather, the best of these are usually found up near the dunes (adventurers there beware of snakes!). The sea is also wonderfully clear in summer, and you may get to see sting ray among the fish and numerous crabs.  

In storms, trash from the gulf gets washed up on the beach. Please do your bit and grab a reusable mesh trash bag from the Wharf and leave the place looking a little better than it did when you arrived. 

Don’t Miss…

  • Catching an early ferry to enjoy sunrise
  • Hiring a golf cart to explore the beach
  • Beachcombing and shell collecting for sand dollars, lightning whelks, starfish, and angel wings. Don’t touch the live marine life, though!
  • Birdwatching
  • Spotting sea turtles and dolphins

Good To Know

The ferry over costs around $20/adult and leaves every one to two hours.

The last ferry off the island leaves at 6pm. 

You can’t stay on the island, but there are plenty of cottages, condos, and motels in Port Aransas, as well as a plethora of seafood restaurants.

There are no bathrooms, water or shops on the island, though there are plenty on the Wharf before you board the ferry, so bring what you need and pack out what you pack in! 

There are no lifeguards on patrol.

Watch out for snakes in the dunes and grassy areas and be ready for ghost crabs popping out of the sand!

Where: Near Port Aransas, Texas

10. Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach. Photo by Wireless_in_CA

The few people that head to the tranquil and super clean Surfside Beach go there for the excellent surfing, windsurfing, and kite flying opportunities – yes, it gets very windy here (which also means it’s often too rough for swimming, especially at high tide)!

Don’t Miss…

  • Dolphin spotting
  • Beachcombing for shells
  • A guided horseback riding tour
  • Renting a beach-side cottage
  • The old signs explaining the history of the place – well worth a read!

Good To Know

You can drive and park your car on the beach, but you’ll need to buy a $12 annual permit first.

There are plenty of restaurants nearby if you haven’t packed your own picnic.

Watch out for jellyfish in the water.

Take bug spray in summer.

This beach is dog and horse friendly, but dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10am and 5pm.

Where: 1304 Monument Drive, Surfside Beach, Texas.

11. Magnolia Beach

Magnolia Beach/Matagorda. Photo by Travel Texas

The peaceful 1.5-mile, sandy Magnolia Beach on Matagorda Bay is an easy 25-minute drive south of Port Lavaca. With the Lavaca and Colorado rivers both flowing into the gulf here, the water is softer and less salty than other beaches on this list, great for swimming in.

People like to head here at both sunrise and sunset for the stunning ocean views, as well as for the numerous shells begging to be collected!

Don’t Miss…

  • Beachcombing for shells

Good To Know

There are picnic tables and grills available.

Camping is free here, and the sand is hard-packed – great for your RV! Full hookups are available, and you can stay for up to 14 days. Pack in everything you need, as the nearest convenience store is 20 minutes away!

Also check out the nearby Indianola Beach Park.

Where: 1707 N Ocean Dr. Port Lavaca, Texas.

12. Babe’s Beach

Babe’s Beach. Photo by RC K.

Babe’s Beach in Galveston is a clean and pretty stretch of beach that is safer than most on this list for its lifeguards, calm waters and soft sand which make it ideal for a family day out.

People head here to swim, surf, picnic and sunbathe.

Interesting History

The beach was named after A.R. “Babe” Schwartz, who served as a lifeguard here every summer while in high school. He loved this seaside area so much, he dedicated his work to it while serving in the Texas House and Senate (1955 – 1980), helping to write the Texas Open Beaches Act which protects free public access to the coast along the Gulf of Mexico.

Don’t Miss…

  • The 61st Street Fishing Pier
  • Strolling along the seawall

Good To Know

All parking along the Seawall is Paid Parking ($2/hour, upgradable by phone app), enforced from 10am-6pm. The two closest free parking areas to Babe’s Beach are between 53rd and 61st, and between 85th and 91st. 

No overnight camping on the beach – there are hotels nearby.

There are public restrooms available.

There are picnic tables and barbecue pits to round off your family outing, and plenty of restaurants to choose from.

This is a pet-friendly beach, but dogs should be kept on a leash.

Where: 7499-7295, FM3005, Galveston, Texas.

Beach Driving Tips

Many Texas beaches offer parking and driving access to 4x4s. We’ve compiled some safety tips to reduce your chances of getting stuck on your beach drive, and to help you if you do.

  • Carry a shovel. 
  • Disable the traction control on your vehicle. 
  • Let some air out of your tires when the conditions are soft – take them down to 20PSI so you “float” on the sand rather than digging into it. Top up the air again once you leave the beach.
  • Keep your vehicle moving in soft sand. If you feel like you’re digging in, stop. Try letting your tire pressure down if you haven’t done so and use the shovel to dig yourself out.
  • Know the tides so you don’t get stranded in the soft dunes (the only way back once the harder low tide areas get covered by the waves). 
  • If you are on a dune trail, watch out for mud. Tow trucks might cost you up to $500 to be rescued from such spots.
  • When passing other cars parked on the beach, slow down to keep other beach goers, and their kids and pets, safe.
  • Carry drinking water to keep you hydrated while you wait for rescue, should you get stuck.

If you’re going to be visiting the San Antonio area on your next trip to Texas, why not also check out some of the best rivers in the region for the ultimate cool dip?


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the most up-to-date information, we always recommend you do your own research before you travel to a particular area, and check conditions with official sites. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!

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