Updated 9/12/2021 You’ve no doubt heard of the popular Texas island vacation destinations of Galveston and South Padre Island. Some of the most beautiful and laid back islands in Texas are places that most people haven’t heard of, or simply drive by on their way to the big tourist areas. If you are someone who is looking for a place where lounging peacefully on the beach is the main activity, this is the list for you.
3. MUSTANG ISLAND
Mustang Island is a barrier island located directly east of Corpus Christi. Port Aransas is the city located on the north end of the island, but the entire island is covered with beach houses and condos. Picking a rental located on the southern end of the island will be a less busy area. As you can see in the picture above, this area has some of the most brilliant blue green (and clear) water in Texas. The water doesn’t drop off quickly from shore, which makes taking a swim really easy and safe. Check out this eccentric beach house you can rent for under $400 a night on VRBO: Mustang Island Beach House Rental
2. MATAGORDA BEACH
Located directly south of the city of Matagorda, Matagorda Beach is a laid back village on the gulf. The Colorado River enters the Gulf of Mexico at the State Park on the southwest end of the island. This is probably the least busy island that you can rent a house or condo on in Texas. The houses aren’t on top of each other, most have yards, and are perfect for a relaxing vacation. There are beautiful sand dunes along this island which separate the houses from the beachfront. You can rent a really nice house directly on Matagorda Beach for much less than most accommodations on Galveston. This is a perfect location for a family who is interested in renting kayaks or fishing.
There is an area on the island that is dedicated to paddle sports like kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding and you can rent everything you need for a very reasonable price. The fishing is also fantastic off the beaches, making it easy to catch a fresh dinner right in front of your rental home. This is one of my favorite rentals on Matagorda Beach for a great island vacation (only $335/night too!): Matagorda Beach House Rental
1. BOLIVAR PENINSULA
Located directly across from Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula is an island which is also on the outside of Galveston Bay. Its proximity to Houston makes arriving here easy through Houston’s airports. There are a few different communities here, most notably Crystal Beach. This area is unique because while it is located just a few miles apart from the busy island of Galveston, it takes over 2 hours to get between the islands by car. Depending on what you are looking for in a vacation this can be either positive or negative.
If you are looking for the ultra-touristy island vacation experience, this area probably isn’t for you. But if you are looking for an island that’s far enough away from the hustle and bustle to be relaxing, but close enough to make a few trips in to the city, this is a great location. There is even a ferry that you can take which runs from the Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston which can be a fun day trip! House rentals in this area are typically stilt houses which are really cool, but can be problematic for those who don’t handle stairs well. There are also many newly built or completely remodeled homes here from the past hurricane damage. Here is an awesome newly remodeled 3 bedroom home right on the beach that you can rent for about $300 a night: 3BR Beachfront Bolivar Peninsula House Rental
Whichever Texas island vacation destination you choose, we hope that you can enjoy the natural, wild beauty that the Texas Gulf Coast offers. There are many different ways to experience island life in this state, and I hope this article gave you some ideas on locations that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Remember, places like South Padre and Galveston might make for an easy island vacation, but trying somewhere off the beaten path can be even more rewarding.