What do more than 70 million travelers have in common every year? It’s that they all have visited Texas! The ‘Lone Star State’ welcomes all travelers, including those with four legs.
If you’ve never thought about Texas as a beach destination, then think again! Pets are literally crawling along much of the 332 miles of Gulfshore coastline. Texas has everything from laid-back beach towns, beach party havens, and those left untouched. From Corpus Christi to Galveston Island and out-reaching to the barrier islands, these are the best dog friendly beaches in Texas.
And remember, whenever your dog is participating in a water activity, be sure to keep them safe with a dog life jacket or other flotation device.
Padre Island National Seashore
Count how many different footprints you can find on the Padres Island National Seashore (PINS) beach. Human footprints run alongside dog pawprints on this pet-friendly beach. However, the protected wildlife also leaves traces of Kemp’s ridley sea turtle prints that disappear into the water and random sea bird tracks that land for a moment and take flight again.
It’s located on North Padre Island, the largest barrier island in Texas. With such diverse wildlife, your pet will blend in. The focus is hardly on your pet as the cream-colored sand and foamy waves from the Gulf of Mexico offer better views. Unlike the neighboring South Padre Island, famous for beach parties, these shores a more celebrated for their natural beauty.
Keep dogs on a leash as you hang out with your furry friend on the beach. The island has an extensive coastline running for 60 miles on the gulf. So, no matter what spot on the beach your dog wants to mark its territory, you’ll feel like you have the beach all to yourself.
Address: 20420 Park Rd 22. Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Set on the easternmost tip of Galveston Island, it’s no wonder the R.A. Apfell Park is also referred to as East Beach. So, whichever name you decide to punch in direction for, you’ll be taken to one of Texas’ largest beaches that happily shares its beaches with canines.
East Beach is a favorite out of the 32-mile island coastline. Walk with your pet past the lively boardwalk filled with people carrying their beach gear, past the beach playground swarming with kids, and past the performance stage where the beach hosts seasonal performances and events. When you reach the sand, you’ll maneuver through stunning architectural structures completed as only practice for the major Sand Castle Tournament held here every year. Let your pet roll around a bit on the soft sand and rinse off in the gulf—there are outdoor showers for pet owners to rinse off. Then, pitch your beach chairs and tan in the hot Texas sun.
R.A. Apfell is a year-round beach park. In the busy summer months, your pet is sure to sniff out a few friends while visiting the beach.
Address: 1923 Boddeker Drive Galveston, TX 77550
The echoing sound of shots fired that started the Alamo has long been drowned out by relaxing sounds of the Gulf of Mexico that have made Surfside Beach a favorite coastal destination for pet owners. Surfside has built its reputation as a beach town with plenty of perks for visiting pets.
All pets must have a leash on Surfside Beach. During the morning, you’ll see locals out walking their pets along the sea wall. In mid-day, beachgoers fill up the shores accompanied by their pets. Lounge under a beach umbrella while petting your dog and let it play by leaping over the incoming waves from the Gulf of Mexico with a splash landing. Later, go for an evening jog to enjoy the beachfront sunset views. Keep an eye out on the water surface because you may spot dolphins.
Surfside makes Follet’s Island one of the best pet-friendly islands in Texas. Stroll through the town past colorful roofed houses on stilts reaching down to the beach. If your dog wants to come back the next day for seconds, there are always pet-friendly accommodations and rentals for overnight stays near the beach.
Address: Address: 1304 Monument Drive, Surfside Beach, TX
Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area
Get away from busy beaches during the summer and opt for a more secluded beach day with your pet at the Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area. Located on Texas barrier island, Matagorda Island, its untouched coastline is only reserved for pets and their owners savvy enough to hire a boat to it.
The Matagorda Island coast is lined with gems, with natural features like saltwater marshes to picturesque man-made structures like the Matagorda Island Lighthouse. You’ll have miles of shoreline to explore with your pet. Let them sniff around the driftwood buried on shore, and do your best to keep them away from migratory birds nesting on the coast. Of course, let your pet practice its doggy paddling in the gulf before enjoying a beach treat while lying in the sand.
Matagorda Island Wildlife Management Area keeps the beaches undeveloped for an escape to nature. You won’t find accommodations here, but bring a tent and pitch it for beachfront camping with your pet.
Address: 2200 7th Street, 3rd Floor Bay City, TX 77414
Voted one of the best family-friendly beaches in Texas, pet parents are glad to know that Stewart Beach includes furrier members. So, don’t leave your pet behind on this family vacation because it’s one of the most popular pet-friendly beaches in Texas.
Your pet will leap around in excitement as you attempt to set up your beach chairs and umbrella rented from nearby. Follow behind your pet’s wagging tail as it explores the beach nose-first. The salty air covers the beach from the Gulf of Mexico. The waters feel refreshing to go for a swim, and the sun is always beaming in Texas to dry off while sunbathing. Be sure to bring disposable bags to keep the beach clean after your pet.
The best time to visit is during the summer when there’s always a lively beach atmosphere. Admire kids experimenting with ideas for the annual sandcastle competitions, shouts from play calling by teams during a game of beach volleyball, or music filling the air from live beachfront concerts. The large Stewart Beach Pavilion is popular for hosting events, although pets aren’t permitted in any buildings.
Address: Address: 201 Seawall Boulevard Galveston, TX 77550
Mustang Island State Park
A herd of elegant mustangs trotting along the white sand beaches on Mustang Island State Park is the only thing that can make this coastal setting any more perfect. Although the wild mustangs are long extinct on the island that took its name from them, it keeps the spirit of the wild alive with the pets that visit it.
Saddle down to ‘Port A’ (Texan slang for Port Aransas) to experience one of the top Texas pet-friendly beaches. Beach comb the sandy shores led by your pet’s keen sense of smell. Water sports enthusiasts dot Corpus Christi Bay. Cool oceanfront breezes blow the colorful sails of windsurfers. Meanwhile, kayakers row in the distance to cross the bay. Keep your dog calm as flocks of seabirds fly overhead, especially when visiting during the migration seasons.
Dogs leave their paw prints on sites once trotted by horse hooves when delighting in the dreamy shores of Mustang Island State Park. As an official Texas State Park, it follows the general state park guidelines of pets allowed on the beach but prohibited from entering buildings.
Address: 9394 TX-361, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Experience part of the most scenic stretch of the Texas Gulf Coast. The idyllic beaches sit on Mustang Island, that’s hard to believe are in Texas. Luckily, you won’t have to be alone on the beach since your pet is always welcome to accompany you.
Grassy dunes slouch into the broad beach as it extends to the gulf. Fine coastal sand makes these island shores feel like your remote getaway. Pets jog across the sand, compact from people off-wheeling or parking on the beach. But, with 6.3-miles of the coast, it’s spacious enough to cater to everyone’s beach day.
Port Aransas is an off-leash beach so that pets can explore the open beach better. Bring its favorite beach toys to toss around and play a game of beach fetch. Boat rentals are available to let your pet explore the scenic shore with you! Just be sure to keep an eye on your pet to keep them from chasing the seagulls flying around the beach.
The choice is yours, whether you want to do your beach walk with feet and paws in the sand or on the lively beach boardwalk.
Address: 403 W. Cotter Ave. Port Aransas, Texas 78373
Seawall Urban Park Beach
Pack your pup and drive to the eastern shores of Galveston Island. Seawall Urban Park is part of the Galveston coastline stretch that’s always crawling with four-legged beachgoers. Keep your dog on a leash when visiting this historic beach.
Walking down the sidewalk with your pet will seem to go on forever. Seawall Urban Park is home to the longest nonstop sidewalk in the US, running the entire length of the 10.3-mile beach. However, every inch of the walkway offers picturesque beachfront views of the Gulf of Mexico. Tow alongside your pet while cruising on a bike or go for a stroll until you’re tired enough to rest.
The sand soothes your pet’s paws after the long walk. Try to catch your breath by lounging in beach chairs or laying a towel out for you and your pet to sunbathe on. When you’ve regained your energy, trek towards the cool waters to splash in.
Be sure to clean up after your pet before walking towards the 20th-century seawall when exiting the beach.
Address: Seawall Boulevard. Galveston, TX 77550
Crystal Beach – Bolivar Peninsula
Whether cooling off from the simmering summer sun or warming up by sunbathing during your winter escape to Texas, Crystal Beach is open for pets to participate in the beach fun. From sun up to sun down, the open shores are your fulfilled sandbox.
‘Land Ho!’ Take your pet on a free ferry ride en route to the Bolivar Peninsula via the Galveston Island Ferry. The moment your pet’s paws step off the deck onto the sand, it will be filled with excitement viewing only a sliver of the 27-mile coast that wraps around the island.
Car tracks tread their way along the coast, left by cars driving on the beach. The gulf water feels amazing in the mid-day heat as you play water tag with your pet. Dog walks become extra special as you pick up unique shells on the beach. Take a moment to gaze out and take in views of fishing boats floating in and out of the marina with their daily catch. At night, build a campfire on the beach and snuggle with your pet to close out the perfect beach day.
Address: 1942 Ave J, Crystal Beach, TX 77650
Quintana Beach County Park
Pets fond of the outdoors will get plenty of fresh air in the Quintana Beach County Park. The pet-friendly park includes everything from grassy fields to a sandy beach, and dogs are welcome on all of it.
You’ll be on Quintana Beach County Park long before reaching the shores. You’ll see picnic tables filled with families on their afternoon outings and pet owners playing with their furry companions on the lawn. However, as the grass turns into sand, the real fun begins!
The well-explored shores welcome pets large and small to set off on new adventures around them. The large beach gives plenty of running start to race your pet to a splashing finish into the Gulf of Mexico. Leap over the rolling waves or doggy paddle against the current.
You’ll dry instantly in the Texas heat while sitting beneath straw-topped umbrellas found on the beach. The sweeping views of the gulf include sightings of boats departing the adjacent Freeport Harbor.
For pet owners who want to spend the night in the park with their pets can hook up to the RV sites or keep things simple with sleeping bags and a dog bowl in a tent.
Address: 330 5th St, Quintana, TX 77541
Anant Shastri is a published author based in India. Being a writer for more than a decade, he has managed to publish his own poetry book entitled Darkness in the Fool, a collection of poetry focusing on learning to find joy even in the midst of solitude.