10 Best Places to Live in South Texas in 2022 – Affordable & Desirable

We researched the best places to live in South Texas and updated our list for 2022 to account for the latest data on quality of life and overall desirability. South Texas is usually an overlooked part of the state, but its towns and cities offer an affordable and relaxed way of life that reflects the true culture of Texas.

Most of the cities in South Texas are also located close to or right on the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it a great area for those looking to relocate to a place that has beaches and wide expanses of water for boating or fishing.

It is also an ideal location for people who want to be close to Mexico since much of South Texas shares its border with Mexico.

Best Places to Live in South Texas – Our Methodology

First, we should define what we mean by “South Texas.” Traditionally, South Texas refers to all the land below, and including, San Antonio down to the Mexican border at the Rio Grande River.

This area of green countryside and desert land is home to roughly 5 million of Texas’ 29 million residents, so it is quite sparse compared to other parts of the state.

To develop our rankings, we looked at all of the available data on the major factors that impact the quality and livability of a city, including:

  • Cost of living
  • Quality of housing market
  • Things to do
  • School system
  • Safety
  • Arts and culture experiences
  • Overall desirability

We added up all of the scores to come to our conclusion of the best cities in South Texas so that you can objectively evaluate this part of the state. So, let’s see what the best places to live in South Texas are.

The 10 Best Places to Live in South Texas in 2022

10. 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 quaint coastal town that sits along multiple bodies of water, including Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. It was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, but it has slowly redeveloped into an even more resilient city.

Rockport offers a slow pace of life that is ideal for retirees or those who enjoy being on the water to fish or go boating.

9. Victoria

Population: 66,916
Cost of Living Index: 1% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $275,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Victoria is the largest city in Victoria County and is about 2 hours south of San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. This prime location has earned Victoria the nickname as “The Crossroads.”

It offers many things to do and has a surprisingly large number of museums, including the Nave Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum, and the Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art.

Victoria is also home to The Texas Zoo.

8. Hallettsville

Population: 2,637
Cost of Living Index: 9% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $279,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Hallettsville is a small town that sits between San Antonio and Houston and is one of the best places to live in South Texas for people who want the feeling of a charming small Southern town.

Hallettsville features a little town square downtown that surrounds its courthouse. This district offers several local restaurants and shops that add to the city’s charm. There are also many quiet, tree-lined neighborhoods where you can settle in.

7. Brownsville

Population: 182,781
Cost of Living Index: 20% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $150,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Brownsville is the southernmost city in all of Texas and is also one of the most affordable big cities in the state.

You can buy a home for around $150,000 here, which is about half the cost of big cities like Dallas and San Antonio.

The city also offers tons of outdoor activities as it is surrounded by rivers, lakes, and green spaces.

Meanwhile, the beautiful shores of South Padre Island are only a 45 minute drive from Brownsville.

6. Goliad

Population: 2,004
Cost of Living Index: 5% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $246,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Goliad is a small town located halfway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi that is rich in culture and history. There is a historic downtown district centered around Goliad County Courthouse, which was built in 1894, that also hosts community events like the Goliad Market Days every month.

This small town is also quite safe, as its crime rates are about 50% lower than the Texas state average.

5. Corpus Christi

best-places-to-live-in-south-texas-Corpus-Christi

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

Location: Check on Google Maps

This coastal city is the 2nd biggest city in South Texas behind San Antonio and is one of the best places to live in South Texas for nature lovers and those looking for many things to do.

You can spend time on the gorgeous shores of Padre Island and Mustang Island, which offer miles of beaches and national parks.

Or, you can head to downtown Corpus Christi, which is packed with exciting things to do and see, like the USS Lexington aircraft carrier, Texas State Aquarium, and the museum district.

4. Rancho Viejo

Population: 2,460
Cost of Living Index: 2% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $255,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

Rancho Viejo is a small suburb that is just 20 minutes from Brownsville. It is probably best known for Rancho Viejo Resort & Country Club, which sits right in the heart of town.

It is a family friendly community with many homes that sit right on the river that snakes through much of the town.

It was also named the best place to live in the Brownsville area by Niche.

Additionally, crime rates here are quite low, registering at almost 80% lower than the national average.

3. New Braunfels

best-places-to-live-in-south-texas-New-Braunfels

Population: 90,403
Cost of Living Index: 4% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $377,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

New Braunfels is a suburb of San Antonio and is one of the best cities to live in South Texas as well as the whole US. Money Magazine even included New Braunfels on its list of the 50 best places to live in the US.

The city provides the perfect Texas Hill Country experience, with beautiful scenery, wide open spaces, and ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

New Braunfels is also a great place for jobs, as it is projected to have at least a 20% growth in jobs by 2025.

2. McAllen

Population: 147,104
Cost of Living Index: 12% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $185,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

McAllen is a city in the deep southern part of Texas. It actually shares a border with Mexico along the Rio Grande River.

What makes McAllen such a good place to settle? The primary reasons include its strong affordability, low crime rates, bustling downtown, and proximity to the beach.

Homes here can still be found for under $200k, which is quite rare in the US these days.

Meanwhile, downtown McAllen is filled with locally-owned shops, authentic dining spots, and a bunch of fun bars on 17th Street.

It was even ranked the 3rd best city in the nation for quality of life by US News & World Report.

1. San Antonio

best-places-to-live-in-south-texas-San-Antonio

Population: 1,434,625
Cost of Living Index: 4% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $248,000

Location: Check on Google Maps

When it is all said and done, San Antonio emerged as the best place to live in South Texas. It is the largest city in South Texas and is the crown jewel of the whole region.

San Antonio offers it all, including top-quality restaurants, a thriving nightlife, lots of public parks, and great job prospects.

The best part about it all is that it is still quite affordable. The average cost of living in San Antonio is actually a bit below the rest of the state average and homes can be found for just $250,000.

It is also the entertainment epicenter of the area, with choices of performing arts, museums, galleries, professional sports, and historical sites like The Alamo that are spread across the city.

Best Places to Live in South Texas – Summary

After considering all the latest data, the best cities to live in South Texas are:

  1. San Antonio
  2. McAllen
  3. New Braunfels
  4. Rancho Viejo
  5. Corpus Christi
  6. Goliad
  7. Brownsville
  8. Hallettsville
  9. Victoria
  10. Rockport

We think that these are all great choices for people looking to move to South Texas. They are all relatively affordable and give you more bang for your buck compared to other regions of the state.

That makes them a viable option for young professionals, families, as well as retirees who are looking to save some money, but still want to enjoy the charming Texas lifestyle.