Surf's Up in the Lone Star State
Visitors will discover the best-kept secret on the Gulf Coast in Port Aransas, a fun and funky island getaway where you can truly have it all. This beach town provides a first-class seaside vacation with plenty of shopping, dining and entertainment, all at pocket-pleasing prices. For the fishing trip of a lifetime in the fishing capital of Texas, anglers can take deep-sea excursions, fish the bays and channels, or cast a line in the surf from one of the public piers. After your offshore adventures, be sure to take advantage of Port Aransas’ other activities, including beachside horseback riding, eclectic boutique shopping, surfing, kayaking and more.
For a fun-filled family adventure, Corpus Christi, one of the top kite-boarding destinations in the world, is a must-see. The Sparkling City by the Sea is among the most-visited vacation destinations in the Lone Star State and is known for its miles of pristine beaches. Let your imagination run wild during a tour of the USS Lexington, which was the oldest working aircraft carrier when it was decommissioned in 1991, after serving in 21 battles during World War II. While aboard the “Blue Ghost,” the sights and sounds are so real, you'll feel as if you've been transported back in time. To immerse yourself even further into the deep blue sea, take in the sights at the enchanting Texas State Aquarium. Located on North Beach, this stunning complex is home to fascinating sea creatures of all kinds, and it recently broke ground on the Caribbean Journey expansion, the largest addition in the aquarium’s history.
Visitors ready to relax island-style will love historical Galveston, which boasts 32 miles of shoreline. The town offers everything from soft, sandy beaches to one of the largest and most historically significant collections of 19th-century buildings, with more than 60 structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Those looking for thrilling excitement will enjoy Schlitterbahn, a water park perfect for visitors of all ages, with waterslides, torrent rivers, wave lagoons, multiple kids’ areas and more. Another popular attraction is Moody Gardens, home to a discovery museum, a 3-D theater, a rain-forest pyramid, an aquarium pyramid and a ropes course. Rounding out the island’s beach experience are the sights and sounds of Pleasure Pier, a waterfront destination that includes midway games, tasty treats, roller coasters and a Ferris wheel overlooking the coast. For visitors interested in paranormal activity, Galveston’s ghostly history as the site of the deadliest storm in US history makes it a top destination for haunted travel. Those who dare can take a ghost tour of the island’s harbor, cemeteries and historic mansions, as well as visit the haunted Hotel Galvez or Mayfield Manor to meet some of the beach town’s resident spirits.
South Padre Island
The ever-popular South Texas beach destination of South Padre Island is home to festivals, fishing tournaments, fireworks, dolphin-watching, concerts and more. The island’s year-round moderate temperatures make any season an ideal time to visit the 34 miles of uninterrupted beach, and an array of activities make it a delightful vacation spot for the family. Children will enjoy seeing turtles released into the ocean at Sea Turtle Inc., taking sand-castle lessons, swimming with dolphins, learning to surf and visiting the Schlitterbahn South Padre water park. While the kids play, adults can relax on white-sand beaches, bird-watch at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, or shop at the many locally owned island boutiques. Adventurous vacationers will get their thrills parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico, horseback riding along the shore or exploring the island’s many sand dunes in an ATV. Sun, sand and surf ensure a good time will be had by all in South Padre Island.
Whether for a family vacation, a romantic getaway for 2, a fun-filled trip with friends or a winter escape, look no further than the Texas coast. No matter which beach you visit, you will find delicious seafood, clear water, soft sand and never-ending fun. For more on all there is to see and experience in Texas, visit www.traveltex.com and find us on Twitter (@texastourism), Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.