By Alex Bourquein
The magic of Texas beaches is often overlooked by big-city attractions around the state. Rediscover the magic and fun with this quick guide to Texas beaches near Bryan College Station and then get ready to hit the beach!
Only two and half hours from B/CS, Galveston makes the ideal day trip. You can start the day by perusing the shops and exploring the historic buildings on The Strand. You can also visit the Galveston Railroad Museum, the Grand 1894 Opera House, and the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. After exploring The Strand, head to The Sunflower Bakery for local brunch specials.
For fun in the sun and sand, visit the Seawall Urban Park, a great beach for running, biking, and people watching with access to many of the island’s beachfront attractions. Other beaches include East Beach, famous for its festivals and live concerts held during the summer months, and Galveston Island State Park, a quiet oasis that offers family kayak tours, bird walks, and beach and surf explorations. Thrill seekers can find their fix at the iconic Pleasure Pier. The Pier offers roller coasters, classic carnival games, and other attractions. To purchase tickets, visit www.tickets.pleasurepier.com.
Other attractions on the island include Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, with thrills such as the Soaring Eagle Zip Line, the Faust and Furious waterslide, and the Torrent river rapids. Moody Gardens, with its iconic pyramids housing rainforest and aquarium attractions, makes an educational, yet fun, experience for all ages.
If you are too tired to head home and want to take in Galveston’s rich history, book a stay at the Hotel Galvez, a hotel with a reputation for ghostly activity! For a less-haunted hotel, try the boutique-style Tremont House, located right on The Strand.
For more information on Galveston Beaches, visit www.galveston.com.
A four-hour drive from B/CS, a trip to Corpus Christi is worth it. Home of the Queen of Tejano Music Selena Quintanilla, Corpus Christi has an endless amount of thrills to satisfy your summer needs. Start the day by heading to the Selena Museum on Leopard Street to see original stage, costumes, and memorabilia. Then head over to the South Texas Walk of Fame and don’t forget to take a selfie with her star on the pavement! The Hi-Ho Restaurant, a favorite of Selena fans and known for their delicious carne guisada, is a beloved spot to stop for lunch.
If you are interested in more than just Selena, spend the afternoon at one of Corpus Christi’s beautiful beaches. Popular beaches include: Mustang Island State Park, complete with gorgeous views and amazing camping; Padre Island Seawall Beach, great for a jog and people watching; Whitecap Beach, pristine and untouched, is the perfect beach for peace and quiet; and McGee Beach, which has free parking, calm waters, and jetty fishing, perfect for the kids!
If you are still hungry after your island adventure, Corpus Christi is also home to the original What-A-Burger with its iconic orange and white striped A-frame. Want to extend your stay? The Schlitterbahn Riverpark & Resort is an option that keeps all the fun in the same place and offers an infinity lazy river!
For more information to make your stay worthwhile, visit www.visitcorpuschristitx.org.
South Padre Island
With the longest drive at six and half hours, it’s best to plan your South Padre Island trip to include an overnight stay. For an authentic island experience, pack your tent and check out one of the great campgrounds on the island for a night under the stars and let the waves lull you to sleep. If you are looking for your lodging and thrills in one convenient location, a stay at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort is an option. Attractions include waterslides, a surfing simulator, a tidal wave river, and a swim-up bar.
South Padre is the perfect place to brush up on your sandcastle building skills as the home to the largest, free standing, outdoor sandcastle in the United States. The best part is that the sandcastle lesson instructor will come to whatever beach is closest to your hotel and will provided all the gear needed. To book a lesson, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sandcastlelessons/.
For fresh drinks and food in the sun, visit Clayton’s Beach Bar, the largest beach bar in Texas! The bar hosts the biggest concerts on the island and has a huge beach deck, perfect for lounging and working on your tan! For an eventful nightcap on your trip, Clayton’s has fireworks on the beach every Friday and Saturday starting at 9:15pm.
For more information about South Padre and all it has to offer, visit www.sopadre.com.