Gulf Coast

Things to do in Gulf Coast

Of the area’s 32 miles of beach, this is one of the best for families thanks to picnic tables, lifeguards, public restrooms, volleyball tournaments, and sandcastle building competitions.

This multi-million dollar entertainment zone is loaded with amusements and rides such as the Iron Shark Rollercoaster, Texas Teacups, and Pier Pileup bumper cars.

Meet Ernest Torres, a master candy maker, as he pulls saltwater taffy—and if you’re luck, he’ll throw you a treat. House-made fudge and malts from an old-fashioned soda machine are other favorites at this Galveston staple.

A raised boardwalk juts out into a protected bay where native and migrating birds are known to flock. If you forgot your binoculars, check out the free scope along the pathway.

This 70-mile stretch is the longest expanse of undeveloped barrier island in the world, home to endangered crabs, sea turtles (nesting season is from late April to mid-July), and 149 species of fish.

This 21-mile-long barrier atoll has miles of beautiful empty shoreline. Fishermen can drop a line for trout or redfish near the S.S. John Worthington shipwreck, a World War II tanker that was sunk in the Lydia Ann Channel between Port Aransas and St.

Head to the visitors center at this academic branch to see seven aquaria with different coastal habitats and marine species. Travelers can also through a 3.5-acre salt marsh; free guided tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays.

This tranquil inlet is lined with marinas and boat rental shops. Choose a power cruiser— Little Bay Marine has a great selection—and get out on the water to fish, water ski, or go tubing. If you happen to be around on the Forth of July, camp out in the evening for fireworks.

You won’t find any of the horses for which this Gulf-front stretch was originally named (they escaped their Spanish explorers) but this 18-mile barrier island is still full of wildlife such as jackrabbits, armadillos, and migratory birds. 

Refuel after a morning job or bike ride at this simple bakery, known for its housemade glazed donuts and savory kolaches—a doughy Czech treat that’s popular in the Lone Star State.

Rockport has a slew of flat and well-maintained trails that loop through nature reserves and range from one to 15 miles in length. The newest leg, Tule East, winds through a south Texas wetland.

This 70-mile stretch is the longest expanse of undeveloped barrier island in the world, home to endangered crabs, sea turtles (nesting season is from late April to mid-July), and 149 species of fish.

There are over a dozen exhibits at the six-acre wildlife center including the 10,000-gallon stingray lagoon where kiddos can touch and feed the cartilaginous fish.

Stop at the butterfly garden or new yoga pavilion on this well paved, six-mile hike and bike trail.

Stop in for distinct and eco-friendly gifts such as silky pajamas made from bamboo fibers, copper bells hailing from India, and bath salts and scrubs in yummy scents like sparkling clementine and brown sugar.