When it comes to great beach destinations, Texas isn’t always first-to-mind. Barbecue, yes. Bikinis, no. Truth is, the Gulf region offers 600 miles of sparkling coastline, dotted with quaint seaside towns, incredible views and, of course, beaches. Soft sand beaches you can stroll along (or as we affectionately call it, “moseying”), collect a few seashells and let the warm waters of the Gulf wash up and submerge your toes. “Ahhhhhhhhhh” is really the best way to describe it.
As you explore the Gulf Coast, you’ll encounter natural wonders you might not expect in these parts – or even in this hemisphere. The Padre Island National Seashore, for one, boasts the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier-island beach in the world. And it’s teeming with wildlife, some of which you’ll only find here. Bird Watching
If bird watching is your thing, you’re in for a treat. If it’s not, by the time you leave the Gulf Coast, it most certainly will be. Throughout the year, bird lovers from all over the world come to Port Aransas, Mustang Island and other popular bird-watching spots such as those on the Coastal Birding Trail. Here you can view hundreds of rare or even endangered species of birds in their natural habitats. Try not to miss this feathered affair.
One strong source of pride for Texans is our history (our food and our sports teams run a close second). The Gulf Coast is full of historical landmarks, highlighting profound moments in the state’s past. Check out the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, where Texas gained its independence from Mexico. And Spindletop in Beaumont, the strike that sparked the 1901 oil boom. For a more colorful account, visit one of the many art and heritage museums found within the region.Made to Thrill
Thrill seekers, seek no further. The Gulf Coast is a hot spot for water parks, amusement parks and even out-of-this-world experiences like the NASA Space Center. Corpus Christi is a popular seaport and one of Texas’ most popular waterfronts, hosting a colorful sailboat regatta in the Corpus Christi Marina weekly. Of course, during Mardi Gras, Galveston is the place to be. And South Padre Island is famous as a fun getaway all year. Food & Shopping
The best days along the Gulf start and end with the best foods. Here, you’ll find all the ingredients for a unique culinary experience. Order up fresh seafood, award-winning barbecue and ethnic delicacies from around the globe. (You want it, we’ve got it.) Houston is famed for a wealth of the nation’s finest dining and glorious shopping opportunities, like the Galleria. But the entire Gulf Coast is dotted with one-of-a-kind finds in countless stores, malls and boutiques exemplifying Texas hospitality at its best. Houston’s Arts Museums
Houston is burgeoning with creative energy and a love for the arts and culture. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is famous worldwide for its unique collection. If you want to walk among a bevy of masterful sculptures in an engaging outdoor setting, The Cullen Sculpture Garden is beyond memorable. And that’s just the beginning. The Houston Museum of Natural Science just may engage parts of your brain you’ve nearly forgotten. If you really want a fun twist, check out the Art Car Museum or Cockrell Butterfly Center.