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Can you swim in Houston beaches? 

Can you swim in Houston beaches

Houston is a city known for its scorching hot summers and humid weather. And what better way to beat the heat than by taking a dip in the water? 

But before you grab your swimsuit and head to the beach, you might be wondering: can you actually swim in Houston beaches? 

While Houston may not have the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean, there are still a few options for beachgoers looking to cool off. 

In this article, we’ll explore the different beaches in Houston and whether or not they’re safe for swimming. So, grab your sunscreen and let’s dive in!

Houston Beaches You Can Swim In

East Beach

East Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Visit Galveston Website

Situated at the easternmost point of Galveston Island, East Beach is a top destination for those seeking a lively atmosphere. The beach is famous for its summer events, which include beach parties, festivals, and live concerts.

You can swim in the waters of East Beach in Galveston, Texas. On weekdays you can swim here from 9 to 4pm and on weekends the beach hours are extended 1 hour earlier and closes 1 hour later. 

Location: 193-199 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550, United States


Galveston's Homepage
Image Source: Galveston Website

Galveston is a coastal city located on the southeastern part of Texas, United States a short drive away from Houston. It is situated on Galveston Island, a barrier island that spans 27 miles in length and two and a half miles at its widest point. 

The island features a beautiful beachfront. As for swimming, Galveston has plenty of beachfront areas that are safe for swimming.

Location: Galveston, TX 77551

El Jardin Beach

El Jardin Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Civic Exchange Facilities Pasadena Texas Website

El Jardin Beach is located in the city of Brownsville, Texas, and is situated at the mouth of the Rio Grande River. The beach is known for its calm waters, making it a great spot for swimming and relaxing by the beach. 

In addition to swimming, visitors can also enjoy fishing, sunbathing, and picnicking on the beach. While the beach is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, there are a few things to keep in mind before heading out. 

Note: The beach is closed to swimming during certain times of the year, particularly during the summer months because of high levels of bacteria in the water.

Location:  500 El Jardin Dr, Seabrook, TX 77586

Galveston Island State Park 

Galveston Island State Park's Homepage
Image Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Website

Encompassing a vast area of up to 2,000 acres, Galveston Island State Park offers a diverse range of terrains that include estuaries, wetlands, and beaches. Visitors can experience the breathtaking beauty of the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston Bay, or both.

Galveston Island State Park offers a plethora of activities for everyone. Swimming is a popular activity at the park, with its beautiful beaches and calm waters.You can also try kayaking, bird watching, fishing, hiking, biking, camping. 

Location: 6285 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77551

Hippie Hollow Beach 

Hippie Hollow Beach's Homepage
Image Source: KUT Org Website

Hippie Hollow Beach, once known as McGregor County Park, has a rugged shoreline with steep rocky cliffs that provide access to the beautiful Lake Travis. 

It’s the only public park in Texas where clothing is optional. So you’re legally allowed to sunbathe and swim in your birthday suit, making it an ideal destination for all you adventure seekers!

Overnight camping, bonfires, fireworks, pets, and glass containers are strictly prohibited at Hippie Hollow Beach. Also, to gain entry to the beach, all visitors must be over 18 years old, (We think you understand why.)

Location: 6841 Comanche Trail, Austin, TX 78732

Jamaica Beach

Jamaica Beach's Homepage
Image Source: ABC 13 Website

Jamaica Beach is located on Galveston Island’s west end, facing the Gulf of Mexico. It is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing by the sea. You can enjoy various activities such as building sandcastles, collecting seashells, and fishing. 

The beach has lifeguards on duty during peak season, making it a safe environment for swimming. But, it’s always important to be aware of the weather conditions and water currents.

Jamaica Beach also has a nearby marina where visitors can dock their boats or rent one to explore the waters. The beach is open to the public and so there aren’t any entrance fees. But, there are parking fees depending on the season.

Location: Jamaica Beach, Galveston County, Texas 77554

Porretto Beach 

Porretto Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Beach Catcher Website 

Porretto Beach is a private beach that’s well-known for its great service and amenities.

There are plenty of fun activities to do there, like picnicking, building sandcastles, and even trying your hand at canoeing or paddleboarding. 

And don’t worry about the water – the water at Porretto Beach is clean and the shallow depth makes it a safe and enjoyable place to swim. And if you need a break from the sun, you can rent an umbrella and chairs.

If you want to take a break from the water, you can also take a leisurely stroll along the seawall. Plus, since Porretto Beach is situated near fast-food restaurants and shops, you won’t have to go far to grab a bite or do some shopping.

Pets are allowed on the beach, but remember to keep them on a leash. If you’re looking for some entertainment, make sure to check out the sandcastle competitions and music festivals that are often held there. 

Location: 10th & Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550

Quintana Beach

Quintana Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Visit Brazosport Website

Quintana Beach is a beautiful stretch of coastline that is known for its pristine sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and abundant wildlife. The beach is situated on a narrow barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and Brazoria Bay. 

The strip is the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of playing in the water with your family. It offers you plenty of opportunities for swimming, surfing, sunbathing and fishing.

Location: 330 5th St, Quintana, TX 77541-9747

Stewart Beach

Stewart Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Galveston Website 

Stewart Beach, located in Galveston, is a top choice for families seeking a beach destination. In 2013, it was recognized as one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families” by Family Vacation Critic. 

The beach boasts a park with various amenities,like  a pavilion, restrooms, concessions, beach volleyball courts, and a playground. You can swim safely here all under the watchful eye of trained lifeguards. 

The park also provides wheelchair accessibility, and there is no charge for parking for individuals with disabilities.

Location: 201 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550

Sunny Beach 

Sunny Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Galveston Website 

Sunny Beach, situated on the west end of Galveston, is a peaceful and secluded spot that tends to be quiet during the weekdays but more lively on weekends. You can swim in the cool blue waters or just enjoy the sunset by the shore.

Whether you’re looking to swim, fish, collect shells, or have a picnic, Sunny Beach is a great option. The water is shallow, making it a safe environment for all swimmers. 

This beach is spacious and allows you to drive on it, making it convenient to bring along all your beach gear. The beach also offers portable restrooms, and there are rental houses and dining options in close proximity.

Location: 2704 8 Mile Road, Galveston, Texas (TX) 77554, USA

Surfside Beach 

Surfside Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Surfside Beach, Texas Website

Surfside Beach is a beautiful coastal community located on the Gulf of Mexico, just an hour’s drive from downtown Houston. It is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, with miles of pristine beaches and a range of activities for all ages.

One of the main draws of Surfside Beach is its excellent surfing conditions. The beach’s consistent waves and long shoreline make it an ideal spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. 

Other popular water activities you can do here are swimming, fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Location: 1304 Monument Drive Surfside Beach, TX 7754

Sylvan Beach

Sylvan Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Expedia Website

Sylvan Beach is located in La Porte, Texas, which is a city about 25 miles east of Houston. It’s a beautiful and popular spot that has been attracting visitors for over a century.

If you’re looking to cool off on a hot day, you can take a dip in the bay’s calm waters. The beach has fine sand, fewer seaweed, and smaller waves that make it an ideal spot for swimming and soaking up the sun.

There’s a fishing pier where anglers can cast a line and try to catch a variety of fish. The park also has a boat ramp, so boaters can launch their vessels and explore the waters of Galveston Bay. 

Location: La Porte, TX 77571, USA

The Blue Lagoon Beach 

The Blue Lagoon Beach's Homepage
Image Source: ABC 13 Website 

Texas is home to some breathtaking swimming spots, and one of the most stunning among them is the Blue Lagoon. Its crystal-clear blue waters create an illusion of a tropical paradise, making it a sight to behold. 

Swimming and scuba diving are the top activities to do there, and it’s no wonder – the underwater world is just as stunning as the surface.

The Blue Lagoon also offers scuba training for all levels, ranging from beginner to advanced. However, it’s worth noting that the lagoon’s lack of vegetation may make for a somewhat sparse diving experience. 

But even so, the beauty of the lagoon’s clear blue waters makes it a worthwhile destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable swimming or scuba diving experience in Texas.

Location:  639 Pinedale Rd, Huntsville, TX 77320

West End Pocket Parks 

West End Pocket Parks' Homepage
Image Source: Galveston Website

Located on the west end of Galveston Island, the West End Pocket Parks is made up of two beaches – Beach Pocket Park 1 and Beach Pocket Park 2. You can swim in both beaches, but they do differ a bit. 

Beach Pocket Park 1 is the less crowded of the two and offers simpler facilities, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking for a peaceful and serene day at the beach. 

On the other hand, Beach Pocket Park 2 is more packed, but it does have more amenities, like restrooms, showers, and changing rooms. Also, visitors can enjoy a stunning ocean view from the sun deck.

Location: 11102 San Luis Pass Road, Galveston, TX 77554, USA

Houston Beaches You Can Technically Swim in, at Your Own Risk 

Crystal Beach 

Crystal Beachs' Homepage
Image Source: Beach Catcher Website 

Crystal Beach is a popular tourist destination located on the Bolivar Peninsula, near Galveston, Texas. It’s known for its beautiful white sand beaches, clear waters, and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

While Crystal Beach is an ideal location for many beach activities like sunbathing, fishing, and beachcombing, swimming is not always recommended. 

The area is known for strong currents and dangerous rip tides, and there are no designated swimming areas or lifeguards on duty. 

But, there are many beachfront rental properties available, like beach houses, cabins, and condos, that give you stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Location: Port Bolivar, TX 77550

Lake Houston

Lake Houston's Homepage
Image Source: Lake Houston Marina Business Site 

Lake Houston is a reservoir that was created in 1953 by damming the San Jacinto River. The main purpose of the lake was to provide flood control, irrigation, and drinking water for the city of Houston. 

Today, it’s a popular recreational spot, with plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.The lake is located about 15 miles northeast of downtown Houston and covers over 12,000 acres, with more than 30 miles of shoreline. 

You can swim in Lake Houston at your own risk, but it’s not recommended by local authorities due to potential hazards like strong currents, submerged objects, and bacteria levels. The lake is primarily used for fishing, boating, and other water activities. 

The lake is also the main source of drinking water for the city of Houston, so visitors should take extra precautions to avoid polluting the water.

Location: Lake Houston, Houston TX 77550 USA

Matagorda Beach Bay

Matagorda Beach Bay's Homepage
Image Source: Visit Matagorda County Website

Matagorda Bay Beach is a 26-mile long beach located near the mouth of the River Colorado and offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, whether you’re alone, with family, or with friends. 

Unlike many other beaches in the area, Matagorda Bay Beach remains uncrowded throughout the year, providing a tranquil environment to unwind in. Swimming and camping are two popular activities that visitors can enjoy at this beach. 

While the beach is a great place to swim, it’s important to be wary of the swift currents of the river. If you’re planning on camping, you can bring an RV or a tent and stay for up to 72 hours, without having to pay any camping fees.

Pro tip: You can even get a permit for your 4×4 to drive on the beach for $10! 

Location: 6420 FM2031, Matagorda, TX 77457, USA

The Texas City Dike 

The Texas City Dike's Homepage
Image Source: Galveston Website 

The Texas City Dike is a popular destination located in Texas City, Texas. It is a man-made structure that extends about five miles into Galveston Bay, offering you panoramic views of the bay and the surrounding areas.

But, swimming at the Texas City Dike is not recommended. The water currents can be strong, and there are no designated swimming areas or lifeguards on duty. It’s best to enjoy the views and activities from the shore or on a boat.

The dike is mainly known for fishing, with many visitors coming to catch a variety of fish.The area is also popular for crabbing, shrimping, and other water activities like kayaking and jet skiing.

Location:  Dike Road, Texas City, Texas 77590

Houston Beaches Where You Aren’t Allowed to Swim

Bryan Beach

Bryan Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Brazosport Convention and Visitors Council

Bryan Beach in Brazoria County stretches for three miles. The beach has remained uncommercialized so there aren’t many amenities yet. Swimming here isn’t allowed as safety systems haven’t been put in place.

But, the beach retains its natural charm, making it perfect for activities like sunbathing, camping, fishing, and birdwatching, or just relaxing in a serene environment. Since there aren’t many commercial facilities nearby, come prepared with all your essentials. 

It’s also one of the few remaining beaches in Texas where visitors are allowed to drive and camp without incurring fines. But, glass containers and fireworks are strictly prohibited to maintain the natural beauty of the beach.

Location: Country Rd 241, Freeport, TX 77541

Magnolia Beach 

Magnolia Beach's Homepage
Image Source: Let’s See America Website 

Magnolia Beach, located south of Lavaca, is a 1.5 mile long escape that offers a tranquil environment where you can unwind and relax. You aren’t allowed to swim in Magnolia Beach, but its spaciousness and hard-packed sand still makes it popular with visitors.

You can bring and drive your RVs around the beachfront. Even better, camping charges here are completely free, making it a great budget-friendly option for those looking to get away. 

Location: 719 N Ocean Dr, Port Lavaca, TX 77979

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