10 Best Beach Towns in Texas to Live – 2022 Update

If you are looking to move close to the water in Texas, then check out our in-depth guide of the best beach towns in Texas to live in 2022.

We took many factors into consideration, including the affordability, things to do, and overall desirability of each location.

Texas is sometimes overlooked for their beaches, but the Lone Star State actually offers some of the nation’s most beautiful shore fronts. There are miles and miles of beaches with sugary white sand and the calm, warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

However, while you may enjoy a visit to these places, your requirements may change if you want to relocate to them full-time.

So, we made sure to find the best beach towns in Texas to live that offer true year-round livability for all ages.

We also considered the top retirement spots for those looking for the best coastal towns in Texas to retire in.

Best Beach Towns in Texas to Live – Our Scoring System

To figure out which are the best beach towns in Texas to live in, we reviewed every town and city on Texas’ eastern and southern shores and broke them down into several major categories, including:

  • Cost of living
  • Variety of housing options
  • Job market
  • Quality of education
  • Arts and entertainment
  • Quality of beach
  • Overall desirability

We took the scores from each category and added them up to get our final rankings. So, let’s dive into this list of the best places to live in Texas on the beach so that you can plan your next move.

The 10 Best Beach Towns in Texas to Live

10. South Padre Island

best-beach-towns-in-texas-to-live-south-padre-island

Population: 2,778
Cost of Living Index: 4% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $375,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

The picturesque South Padre Island starts off our list of the best beach towns in Texas to live.

This resort town is well-known among Texans as South Padre Island Beach is routinely rated as one of the best beaches in all of Texas. In fact, USA Today named South Padre Island Beach as the 2nd best in the state.

It is also a popular spot for spring breakers, so South Padre Island may be best for those looking for an energetic place to live in.

9. Surfside Beach, Texas

Population: 579
Cost of Living Index: 9% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $316,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Surfside Beach is a tiny beach community that is located on Texas’ southeastern shore. The town sits right on the Gulf of Mexico and is about 10 minutes from Freeport.

The waterfront here was also named one of the best beaches in all of Texas. Surfside Beach features 4 miles of unspoiled coastline and is the perfect little town for those who want a quiet place on the water.

8. Rockport

best-beach-towns-in-texas-to-live-Rockport

Population: 10,604
Cost of Living Index: 10% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $270,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Rockport is a coastal city that is surrounded by water, including two bays and the Gulf of Mexico.

It is a well-rounded community that is especially attractive for seniors looking for the best coastal towns in Texas to retire in as it offers a slow pace and lots of opportunities to relax and enjoy the water.

There are also several cultural points of interest in Rockport, including the Texas Maritime Museum, the Official History Center for Aransas County, and the Bay Education Center.

7. Port Isabel

Population: 6,256
Cost of Living Index: 18% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $205,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Port Isabel is located all the way down south about 30 minutes from Brownsville, which is the southernmost city in Texas.

It is also right across from South Padre Island, but offers a more affordable cost of living.

There aren’t any actual beaches in Port Isabel, but this peninsula is surrounded by water, while the beaches of South Padre Island are just 10 minutes away. 

Meanwhile, the town itself features a cozy little downtown area, with local restaurants and shops along Queen Isabella Boulevard and around the square where Port Isabel Lighthouse is located.

6. Port Aransas

Population: 4,266
Cost of Living Index: 21% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $524,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Port Aransas is an upscale beach town that is located on the pristine shores of Mustang Island. The popular Port Aransas Beach also has a reputation as being one of the best beaches in Texas.

It is a great place for families and people who are seeking lots of entertainment and amenities, as the town offers many things to do to accommodate all the tourists that visit every year.

In the summer, the population of Port Aransas can swell to over 60,000 people and there are many festivals and events to enjoy, making it one of the best places to live in Texas by the beach.

5. Kemah

best-beach-towns-in-texas-to-live-Kemah

Population: 2,019
Cost of Living Index: 11% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $284,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Kemah is a port town that overlooks the bay and is just 30 minutes from Houston.

It has grown in popularity in recent years and has attracted many tourists and locals who are looking for a fun lifestyle by the water.

In the heart of the city is the lively Kemah Entertainment District, which features the Kemah Boardwalk, an old-fashioned waterfront theme park, along with several locally-owned restaurants and shops.

It’s enjoyable amenities and excellent location near Houston make Kemah one of the best beach towns in Texas to live.

4. Galveston

Population: 50,446
Cost of Living Index: 4% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $328,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Galveston is one of the most well-known beach cities in Texas as well as one of the biggest.

Life in Galveston is full of unique Southern charm, with elegant Victorian-era styled homes and numerous things to do, including the popular Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.

It is a great city for outdoor lovers, as it offers 32 miles of beachfront on Galveston Island as well as camping and hiking trails in the 2,000 acre Galveston Island State Park.

Of course, there are also many top beaches along the island, such as East Beach and Stewart Beach.

3. Port Lavaca

Population: 11,854
Cost of Living Index: 6% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $164,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

We think that Port Lavaca is one of the hidden gems along the Texas shoreline and is one of the best places to live in Texas by the water.

This port town sits about halfway between Houston and Corpus Christi and is situated right on Lavaca Bay.

There’s a small main street in downtown Port Lavaca, but this town is mainly known for its fishing and access to nature.

It’s also one of the most affordable places on this list, which makes it a great choice for families on a budget as well as one of the best coastal towns in Texas to retire in.

2. Seabrook, Texas

Population: 14,149
Cost of Living Index: 10% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $320,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Seabrook is a small town that is about 30 minutes from Houston and is a neighbor to Kemah, which was #5 on this list of the best beach towns in Texas to live.

What makes Seabrook so attractive is its family-friendly community and its cozy beach town atmosphere, which includes numerous seafood restaurants and an emphasis on boating and fishing.

You can find some of the best food in the area in historic downtown Seabrook as well as many antique shops and locally-owned boutiques.

There is also the popular Seabrook Hike and Bike Trail System, which offers 10 miles of interconnected trails across Seabrook’s parks.

1. Corpus Christi

best-beach-towns-in-texas-to-live-corpus-christi

Population: 326,586
Cost of Living Index: 0% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $202,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Corpus Christi tops our list as the best beach town in Texas to live. It’s more of a city than a town, as it is also the biggest place on this list. So, it is ideal for those looking to live in a big city that is also on the water.

It is one of the most affordable big cities in Texas (and the nation) and offers tons of things to do, both in the city as well as outdoors.

Corpus Christi is where you can have it all. It has a thriving job market, a vibrant downtown that is filled with top dining and entertainment options, and plenty of beaches to go around for everyone to enjoy.

Not only do we think that it is one of the best places to live in Texas by the water, we believe that Corpus Christi is one of best cities in Texas, period.

Best Beach Towns in Texas to Live – Summary

In 2022, the best places to live in Texas by the beach are:

  1. Corpus Christi
  2. Seabrook
  3. Port Lavaca
  4. Galveston
  5. Kemah
  6. Port Aransas
  7. Port Isabel
  8. Rockport
  9. Surfside Beach
  10. South Padre Island

They all offer an idyllic life by the water and a unique culture that only Texas can provide. We think that they are all good bets for people who want to move to Texas and enjoy the water on the Gulf of Mexico as well.