Texas is home to over 50 notable islands, and in my opinion there are 7 must-see Texas islands to visit. These are real islands surrounded by bays and the Gulf of Mexico, not just island golf greens or a small island in a lake.

The Lone Star State is famous for many things, from our barbecue to our historic and vibrant music scene. One of our lesser-known (but equally impressive) attributes is the number of fantastic islands found off the Texas coastline.

These islands vary in size, each with its own unique charm and appeal. Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun, try your hand at fishing, or simply escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Texas’ islands are a perfect destination for all. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the top Texas islands worth visiting. That way you can plan your next island getaway with confidence.

Can you name half of the eight Texas islands without looking below? There are actually over 50 islands in Texas! Some are inland, and most are very small and uninhabited and most are small barrier islands.

The most popular islands in Texas are a must-visit for your bucket list. They are loaded with fun things to see and do. Many are home to vacation rentals, funky bars, several fun attractions, good restaurants, camping, and beaches.

Fun Texas Islands to Visit

Galveston Island Texas Playing in the Surf

 Galveston Island Texas

Everyone’s probably heard of Galveston Island just south of Houston. It’s 27 miles long and no more than 3 miles wide and well known as a base for piracy. It’s also know for the greatest natural disaster to ever strike the United States (the Galveston hurricane of 1990). You should visit this island because of the beaches, restaurants, bars, and attractions like Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn Waterpark, and the Pleasure Pier. Check out Texas Outside’s Top Ten Things To Do in Galveston..

South Padre Island

We love South Padre Island because of the beaches, great restaurants and lots of fun things to see and do. There is plenty of lodging on the beach, camping, and best of all the fun beach bars. In fact, we’ve named South Padre Island the “Beach Bar Capital of Texas”! Some of the fun activities include riding horses on the beach, parasailing, dolphin and eco tours, diner sailboat cruises, jet ski rentals, pirate ship cruises, fishing trips, and more! Read read our Top Ten Things To Do In South Padre Island.

Mustang Island Texas

Mustang Island is a 18 mile long barrier narrow island sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and Corpus Christi Bay. Mustang Island is most famous for the “laid back vibe” of Port Aransas and Mustang Island State Park. We love the beaches, the beach camping and vacation rentals, an excellent golf course and variety of restaurants. The friendly locals, and its 25 fun and funky bars also make for a good time. Port A’s slogan says it all: “a quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem.” Port A is also known for its excellent fishing. Here’s our list of the Top Ten Things To Do In Port Aransas.

Pelican Island

A bridge from the City of Galveston is the link to the small Pelican Island which is home to Texas A&M University at Galveston, the Naval Museum, and Seawolf Park. Originally the Island was a location for fish and oyster businesses, a ship yard, and an immigration station. The Galveston Naval Museum offers tours of the destroyer escort USS Cavalla and submarine USS Stewart. Check out things to do in Pelican Island.

Matagorda Island

Matagorda Island is Galveston’s sister island and it’s a small barrier island and Wildlife Management Area of 56,688 acres – 8 miles long and a half to four miles wide. It’s best known for is seclusion, untouched natural beauty, a 1852 lighthouse, and a wide variety of migratory birds including 19 of which are state or federally listed as threatened or endangered species, a large herd of white-tailed deer, alligators, and other wildlife. The island is great for spending time on the beach, birding, salt water fishing, and picnicking.

San Jose Island

San Jose Island is a small (21 miles long and 5 mile wide) private barrier island surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Aransas Bay just off the northern tip of Mustang Island. If you visit San Jose Island you must stay on the beach below the vegetation line which is perfect for birding, shelling, fishing, and beach combing for unique seashells including lightning whelks, shark eyes, sand dollars, starfish, angel wings, and more. A ferry from Port Aransas will shuttle you to San Jose Island – bring your fishing gear because the island offers excellent fishing for Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder and more.

Ward Island

Ward Island is a small body of land situated between Corpus Christi Bay and Oso Bay. Following the start of World War II, the Navy initiated a major training program on the island which later turned into the Naval Air Technical Training Center. Following that the island was home to the University of Corpus Christi and since 1993 has been the home of Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, which is what makes the island worth visiting today plus it’s good for nature watching and hiking or biking the 7.3 mile trail around the island.

Simon Trask
Author: Simon Trask

Simon loves Texas and the Great Outdoors. From East Texas pines to West Texas mountains, he calls North Texas home but is always ready to float a river in Hill Country or go fishing on the Gulf Coast. Simon loves camping and road trips as well, whether it's cruising Highway 287, 82, 69 or 281, that's the true way to see what Texas is all about!

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