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Top Texas Beach Towns

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Hurricane Dolly: Calm after the Storm  Hurricane Dolly: South Padre Island one week later
norcalhorn/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Texas has more than 600 miles of coastal shoreline. From spring through fall, these beaches draw thousands of visitors. Along the coastline are a variety of 'beach towns' which offer beachgoers somewhat of a base of operations. These towns range from sleepy fishing villages to major metropolitans and everything in between. Here's a list of some of Texas' top beach towns.

South Padre Island: Texas' southernmost beach town, South Padre Island is also the most tropical in nature. Within the Town of South Padre Island, visitors will find a confluence of natural beauty and modern development. Each of these elements offer visitors plenty of things to do. The natural setting is of course the biggest draw for South Padre Island. Miles of white sand beach with blue-green waves lapping along the shore is enough for a great deal of SPI's visitors. However, when it comes to staying active outside, those spending a summer vacation on South Padre Island are also able to enjoy such outdoor recreational activities as snorkeling, diving, swimming, fishing, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing, kite boarding, beach volleyball, ocean kayaking, surfing and more. As one of the youngest Texas beach towns (the Town of South Padre Island was founded in the 1970s), South Padre also offers plenty of modern amenities. Condominiums and hotels allow visitors to stay in comfort, while the Island's many restaurants, clubs and bars provide a lively nightlife. There are also a number of shops set along the Island's main thoroughfare. And, thrill seekers shouldn't miss out on spending a day at the Island's Schlitterbahn Beach Waterpark.

Galveston: There is also plenty to see and do on Galveston Island. Beyond Galveston's beaches, its historic charm lends a great ambience to the island. In fact, there are a number of historical homes and sites on Galveston Island which are popular stops for visitors. Shopping in Galveston's Historic Strand District is another big off-the-beach draw. Galveston also offers a number of museums, such as the Texas Railroad Museum, Texas Seaport Museum and Lone Star Flight Museum. Those looking for something with a more modern flair should visit Moody Gardens or head to Schlitterbahn Waterpark. And, at the end of the day, Galveston's many fine restaurants offer a variety of dinner dining options.

Corpus Christi: Corpus Christi is the largest Texas beach town. It is also home to some the state's best known and most visited attractions - the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington. Thanks to its size, Corpus offers visitors all the amenities of a city and all the charm of a coastal beach town. A portion of Corpus is located on the mainland (the main metro area), while a portion is located across Corpus Christi Bay on Padre Island. Those staying on the island have easy access to Padre Island National Seashore and a myriad of outdoor recreational activities. Fishing, surfing, swimming, beachcombing, and windsurfing are among the most popular activities. There are also a number of hotels, condominiums, shops and restaurants on both the mainland and island sides of Corpus Christi.

Port Aransas: Located just north of the Island portion of Corpus Christi, Port Aransas is almost the complete opposite of Corpus, despite the two towns sharing a portion of the same island. While Corpus is a large city with a lots of attractions and activities, Port Aransas is a quaint town with a laid back pace. The ferry ride over sets the mood for a relaxing visit to Port Aransas (you can drive across, but why would you?). Birding, nature watching, fishing, shopping, and surfing are just a few of the activities located on this enchanting middle coast island beach town.

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