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Is this the best island in Texas you must visit?

Looking for the most beautiful island in Texas for your next getaway and don’t know where to search?

You are in the right place as we carefully handpicked for you 9 of the most stunning islands in Texas, where you can relax, have fun and perfect your tan without flying for hours.

Nothing can be more relaxing and beautiful than waking up with a stunning ocean view, listening to the sound of waves, and walking barefoot on the sandy beach right in front of your hotel.

The Lone State Star might not be the first option that comes into your mind when searching for the best strip of san near you, but don’t underestimate this beautiful state packed with incredible sceneries and a long list of attractions.

We present you with 9 islands; all you have to do is pick the island of Texas you like most and prepare for a memorable holiday near the ocean.

Galveston beach Texas
Galveston beach Texas

These islands offer a long list of outdoor activities, like horseback riding and water sports, sandy beaches with stunning ocean views, and amazing hotels with top-notch facilities.

I am sure you have all heard about Texas Padre island or Texas Galveston Island, but the Texan coast is dotted with small and charming strips of sand, most of which are hidden near the Gulf Coast.

Each of these places has its own personality and charm; some are more secluded, with more isolated hotels perfect for those looking to relax and reconnect with nature, while others are nosier, with more tourists, perfect for making new friends and for socializing.

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Pick the best island in Texas for you

1. South Padre Island

South Padre Isle is undoubtedly the most visited island off of Texas coast that can be reached by car following State Highway 100, the road that connects the city of Port Isabel with the mainland.

This strip of sand is located in the warm waters of Gulf Mexico and is packed with beautiful resorts perfect for family holidays but also for party lovers.

South Padre Island Texas
South Padre Isle Texas

The waters are calm and warm, perfect for swimming and for water sports activities like paddle boarding and kayaking, and let’s not forget about fishing which is extremely popular in the area.

This strip of sand is quite small, but it is home to several natural conservation and ocean rehab centers, so it is a good opportunity to learn new things about the world we are living in.

My favorite rehab center from the area is Sea Turtle Inc which saves sea turtles, takes care of them, and in the end, releases them into the ocean.

There is even a turtle hospital here that can be visited, and you can see how turtles feed and live, so it is indeed a good life lesson for people of all ages.

south padre island texas beach view
south padre island texas beach view

Other sanctuaries from South Padre worth paying a visit are the alligator sanctuary, the observatories for birds, and the 3300-foot boardwalk from which you can observe birds and other wild creatures.

There are plenty of dolphins in the waters around the strip of sand, and daily tours with professional guides are organized daily.

There are no dolphins in captivity, but on a daily tour, you can observe them in their natural habitat and find new things about them.

South Padre Island is a paradise for families with kids because of the impressive number of attractions spread across the place, like Gravity Park and the Beach Park at Isla Blanca; add the huge number of water sports that can be practiced here, and you will get a memorable experience.

As for party people, we strongly recommend going to the southern part of the isle where Louie’s Backyard is the best place where you can party and have fun across the whole isle.

South Padre island in Texas
South Padre isle Texas

Don’t forget that this place is home to one of the largest convention centers from Texas, South Padre Island Convention center, which hosts events with more than 2,500 people.

Sleeping on South Padre Island

Peninsula Island Resort & Spa has a private beach where you can perfect your tan, listen to the sound of waves and relax while reading a book.

Peninsula Island Resort overview
Peninsula Island Resort overview

The rooms and suites are spacious, and all have a seating area and are equipped with a kitchenette, free WIFI, flat-screen TV, and private balconies.

2. Texas Padre Island

Located on the southeastern part of Texas coast, Padre Island is the largest barrier island in the world, with a total length of 113 miles.

There are plenty of interesting things to do and see on this isle, so don’t hesitate and book your next getaway here.

The isle is famous for its white sandy beaches and is home to one of the sea turtles’ endangered species, the Kemps Ripley.

Padre Island texas
Padre Isle texas

The places where these turtles hatch on this island by Texas are protected areas and are part of the Padre Island National seashore.

A must-do activity on the isle is a tour of the protected areas where these turtles are released back into the ocean.

Another popular attraction, but this time is man-made, is the Schlitterbahn Water Park, a place with a sandy beach and plenty of choices when talking about water sports.

A very important thing you should know about Padre Island or North Padre Island is that this isle is completely different from South Padre Island.

It is wilder and less noisy than its southern sister but with plenty of options when talking about water sports and hiking or biking.

You can go kayaking and canoeing on the ocean or in Laguna Madre, a lagoon with salty water, and go hiking and biking on the most popular trail, Grassland Nature Trail.

Padre island waves crushing Texas
Padre isle waves crushing Texas

Sleeping in the middle of nature is always an option when speaking about Padre Island, and there are about 5 campsite areas where you can spend your night.

To sleep in one of these campsites, you need to get a special permit at the entrance of the designated areas, and reservation is not possible.

Sleeping on Padre Island Texas

Located about 250 m from Padre Island Seawall Beach, Seahorse Condos is the right choice for your next getaway.

These beautiful apartments are located close to the beach and offer a fully equipped kitchen, a seating area, a private bathroom with a shower, and a hairdryer.

3. Galveston Island

Located just 50 miles from Houston, the island in Galveston Texas is one of the barrier islands that can be found on the coast of Texas.

In less than one hour, you can drive from one part of the isle to another, and there are plenty of interesting things to do around.

galveston island texas aerial view
galveston isle texas aerial view

The famous Moody Gardens is the most popular attraction in the area, a great place where you can combine entertainment with education.

There are 3 aquariums here, a rainforest and a pyramid, a great place to spend a relaxing day with your family.

After exploring these fascinating gardens, head to Galveston fun master center, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, a huge park with a total surface of 25 acres.

There are so many interesting and fun things to do in the area that a day might not be enough to explore everything.

galveston island texas parking and beach
galveston island texas parking and beach

Hurry up and try the “Massiv”, the highlight of the waterpark and the tallest water coaster in the world for many years in a row.

Perfect your tan on one of the many beaches spread along the 32 miles of coastline and cool off in the ocean’s warm waters.

End your day on this relaxing island in Texas with a relaxing walk on the isle’s famous Seawall, doing a shopping session in The Strand Historic District.

The isle is home to many festivals all year round, out of which the most popular ones are Galveston Greek Festival, Lone Star Rally, and Galveston Island Shrimp Festival.

Galveston beach Texas
Galveston beach Texas

Don’t forget to include Texas Seaport Museum, another must-see attraction in your itinerary.

Sleeping in Galveston Island

One of the most popular resorts in Galveston Texas is Holiday Inn Express, conveniently located 1 minute from the beach on the coast of Galveston Bay.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel Galveston room
Holiday Inn Express Hotel Galveston room

With such a great location, you can spend your day on your balcony looking at the ocean and listening to the sounds of waves, or you can try the hotel’s outdoor pool to have fun and cool off on a hot summer day.

4. Mustang Island in Texas

The smallest barrier island off Texas located on the northern side of Padre Island, Texas Mustang Island is home to a plethora of beautiful beaches with blue sand, perfect for bathing in the sun.

Located in the Gulf of Mexico, about 175 miles from Houston, right near Corpus Christi,  Mustang Island is where you should go on a hot summer weekend.

Mustang Island State Park is among the most popular attractions in the area, especially for nature lovers and those interested in walking and water sports activities.

Gull on mustang island texas
Gull on mustang isle texas

Inside the park, you can swim, go fishing, or surf, or, why not, follow the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail, a 20 miles trail along the coast.

There are almost 100 campsites spread across the isle, but they usually sell out quickly, so if you want to sleep in campsites, you’d better book in advance.

The only town from the isle, Port Aransas, is a cozy town that you cannot skip when visiting Mustang island in Texas.

The isle’s laid-back atmosphere attracts visitors from all over the United States, and beaches like Port Aransas and the one from Mustang Island State Park are the most popular and beautiful.

Sleeping on Mustang Island

The cozy and chic Port Aransas Condo, located within a short walk from the beach, awaits its guests in beautiful décor and with a fantastic view.

The apartment features 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen, perfect for your next getaway.

5. Ward Island

Located between Corpus Christi Bay and Oso Bay, Ward Island is one of the most uninhabited isles of Texas.

The place has a rich military history, dating back to World War II, when this isle was transformed into the Naval Air Technical Training Center, where soldiers were trained in using all kinds of electronic devices.

Corpus Christi Marina Texas
Corpus Christi Marina Texas

Today, the area is used for recreation, and people rush here to explore this wild part of Texas, where hiking, fishing, and biking are the most popular activities.

Starting in 1993, the isle has been home to  A&M University of Christi Corpus, a beautiful campus worth visiting.

Sleeping on Ward Island

There are no hotels on the isle and the closest place to spend your night is in the beautiful town of Corpus Christi.

Hyatt Place Corpus Christi is our choice for this place; a beautiful hotel located 2.5 miles away from La Palmera Mall.

The hotel features an indoor swimming pool and a restaurant where you can serve your meals during the day.

A complimentary breakfast is available at the property each morning, so you don’t have to spend time searching for a place to eat before starting your day.

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6. Matagorda Island

Matagorda Island in Texas is a long strip of sand, the sister isle of the so famous Galveston, managed by the Wildlife Management area. 

It has 8 miles long and almost 4 miles wide, known for its untouched nature and seclusion.

The isle is not connected with the mainland by any ferry; the only way to get to this isle is by a private plane or a private boat.

No cars on the isle and no motorized vehicles are allowed, making this isle so fantastic.

Galveston beach Texas
Galveston beach Texas

This long and thin isle located 7 miles south of Port O’Connor is home to a famous lighthouse built in 1852.

There is no electricity or drinking water on the isle, so if you plan a visit here, come prepared with everything.

Bring your picnic basket packed with cold water, some snacks, and a blanket to put on the sand to enjoy the sun and tranquility.

There are some specially designated places where you can spend the night, but reservation is not possible.

On this strip of sand you go for its quiet atmosphere and to reconnect with nature; you won’t find any hotels, bars, or restaurants here.

You can spend the whole day surfing, fishing, paddling, cycling, swimming, and birdwatching.

If you are lucky enough, you might spot the endangered Ridley Sea Turtles, a protected species that come here each year to give birth to a new generation of turtles.

Sleeping close to Matagorda Island

If camping is not for you, then consider staying at Holiday Inn Express Port Lavaca, an IHG Hotel, a beautiful hotel located 2 miles from Port Lavaca.

A complimentary breakfast consists of eggs, bacon, gravy, and hot biscuits are served here every morning.

7. Pelican Island

A beautiful bridge connects Pelican Island with the city of Galveston (the city of Galveston is a city port on Galveston Island and Pelican Island).

The isle is a good place to go if you want to learn new things about the state’s naval history because here you can find the American Undersea Warfare Cent or the Galveston Naval Center.

Seawolf park pelican island Texas
Seawolf park pelican isle Texas

Only here can you see from a short distance a submarine and a destroyer in one of the many tours that are available at the Naval Center.

Besides the navy vibe, the isle is perfect for seasonal festivals, history museums, fishing, bird watching, and lying on the beach.

pelican island texas
pelican isle texas

Book some time to explore Seawolf Park, walk to the nearest restaurant to try some delicious food, and go for a golf play on the golf courses available on the isle.

Sleeping on Pelican Island

The guest rooms of Hotel Galvez, our top pick from the area, are not very spacious but nicely furnished with modern amenities like iPod docking stations and free wifi.

Some of the rooms face the Gulf of Mexico, while others face the city with its Victorian buildings.

8. Brazos Island

Brazos Island, also known as Brazos Santiago Island located on the southern part of South Padre Island, about 6 hours drive from Houston, is surrounded by the bluest waters in the area.

The area played a very important role in American history, and many battles were fought here during the Civil War.

A devastating hurricane destroyed the isle, its historical buildings, and the military port of the isle.

Fishing in the ocean
Fishing in the ocean

Brazos island is still very beautiful, ranked by many as the prettiest islands of Texas, so don’t miss it.

Brazos Island State Park, one of the most beautiful Texas state parks, is the perfect place from the isle for swimming, surfing, fishing, and camping, and the 218 acres of the protected area are perfect for exploration.

Sleeping on Brazos Island

Located within walking distance from the beach, Holiday Inn Express South Padre Island is perfect for your family holiday.

One of the most family-friendly resorts South Padre island Texas, Holiday Inn accommodates people of all ages and even can arrange babysitting if you need it.

9. San José Island

If you want to spend some time close to nature, far from city noise and pollution, then San Jose Island is the right place.

This small but beautiful isle located close to Mustang Island, 20 by 5 miles wide, is about 10 hours drive from the city of Houston.

This isle is mostly privately owned, a protected area with few buildings and a small number of tourists roaming around.

Fishing on San Jose island Texas
Fishing on San Jose isle Texas

The isle is a real sanctuary for birds and wildlife and can be easily accessed by ferries.

The beautiful sandy beaches are perfect for sunbathing, while the waters around the isle are home to many fish species.

The isle is also known as the fishing capital of Texas and is definitely one of the best places to go fishing from Texas.

The waters around the isle are packed with redfish, speckled trout, and flounder so prepare your fishing tools for the big catch.

Pack everything you need for a day on the beach as the number of shops available on the isle is limited.

Sleeping on San Jose Island

The beautiful rooms at Ocean’s Edge Hotel, Port Aransas, TX await the guest with enough space and newly renovated appliances.

The property features an outdoor swimming pool, and a complimentary breakfast is available each morning in the lobby area.

What to pack for an island holiday

Before heading to the beach on any of these islands of Texas check the below list with the most important items to pack with you:

Conclusion

Each of these isles has something unique and beautiful, and it is quite hard to name just one island in Texas to visit.

Whether you are looking for a secluded isle to stay away from city noise and pollution, for a place to spend a relaxing weekend with your family, or to party hard till morning, these Texas islands have them all.

Just pack your bags and book your hotel well in advance to secure the best price, as the rooms of the most wanted hotels sell out really quickly.

FAQ

What are the islands off of Texas?

Yes, there are a few islands off of Texas; to be more precise, there are 7 as follows: Follet’s Island, Galveston Island, Matagorda Island, Mustang Island, San Jose Island, Brazos Island, and Padre Island. 

Is South Padre Island in Mexico or Texas?

South Padre Island is the longest barrier island in the world and belongs to Texas, the United States of America. It is located in the Gulf of Mexico, right at the Mexican border, and it has 30 miles long, and about ½ mile at the widest point.

Is Padre Island actually an island?

Padre Island is indeed an island, and it is not any isle but the longest barrier island in the world with a total length of 30 miles.

It is located in the Gulf of Mexico and is famous for its sandy beaches where you can relax and perfect your tan.

Is there any island in Texas?

Yes, Texas has a few islands; to be more precise, there are 7 islands: Follet’s Island, Galveston Island, Matagorda Island, Mustang Island, San Jose Island, Brazos Island, and Padre Island. 

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation

We always use Booking.com as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance

We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money, plus COVID coverage.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected events and cost like illness, COVID, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.