The 8 most charming cities on the Gulf Coast
The Gulf of Mexico is the largest gulf in the world, with a history as deep as its waters, which average 5,200 feet in depth and contain a great deal of marine life. It stretches along the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, as well as the borders of Cuba and parts of Mexico. It’s no secret that the coasts of Alabama and the Gulf of Florida are among the most beautiful and attractive beaches on the entire planet.
The wide, beautiful bay is bordered by white sandy beaches and plenty of small towns between towns with great charm. Visit any one of the charming Gulf Coast towns, or take a road trip to hit some along the coast, gazing at the jewel-coloured waters of the Gulf. You will be immersed in the unique Gulf Coast culture, seamlessly blending Southern vibes, a tropical atmosphere and captivating landscapes of beaches unlike anywhere else in the world.
Bonita Springs, Florida
Bonita Springs is a charming, smaller town of 56,000 residents in the southwestern reaches of Florida that includes Little Hickory Island on the Gulf Coast. The barrier island, located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Estero, offers excellent beaches and a vibrant downtown area with a tropical vibe mixed with small-town charm. All the waters around are very inviting to active people, with great kayaking, sailing, paddle boarding, and equipment rentals.
Enjoy rich nature throughout the many parks that lead to the beach for a picnic, post-flight dip, or lounging along the sand. Families love the peaceful, natural environment of the city, where everyone finds a way to relax and have fun. Check out the beautiful Bonita Beach Park, which opens out to a swimming area with a sad boardwalk for sunset picnics and attractions. Enjoy a charming, undeveloped sand junk at Barefoot Beach, ranked among the top ten most used beaches in the country by Forbes.
Clearwater is an ambitious coastal city destination along the Gulf of Mexico, just west of Tampa on Tampa Street. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area. Enjoy easy access to the award-winning beach town of the same name across the water and an abundance of city break opportunities. Head to Pier 60, Clearwater’s signature spot, for sunset strolls and nighttime festivals with outdoor music, art, and performers. Join the annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday or visit anytime to see amazing sights and discoveries at Clearwater Marine Aquarium for the whole family with animal interactions, dolphin photos, and stingray meals.
35 miles of sugar-sand beaches that have the same tropical charm but different vibes beckon with days of relaxing and swimming in the warm summer waters. Take a day trip to Clearwater Beach Honeymoon Island State Park or visit Caladesi Island State Park and return for vibrant evening entertainment such as live music events, theater and nightlife at the craft beer trail. Some of the cultural highlights include Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Bilheimer Capitol Theater near the beach. There’s also a family-friendly Captain Memo Pirate Cruise, crocodile center, wildlife spotting, and baseball.
Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi, the capital of the Gulf Coast, is a large, charming city of 317,000 residents that boasts nine unique beaches and fun adventures and attractions. A tropical exotic ball in the Wild West state, it’s a favorite destination for snowboarders, kitesurfers, and kayakers along the beautiful waters. Get inspired by the coastal views and find your own unique experience, like a paddle board yoga class, horseback riding on the sand, or a day trip to Padre and Mustang Islands.
Visit some of the most popular family attractions here in Texas on the beach, like the Texas State Aquarium and the intriguing USS Lexington. A thriving city with deep Southern roots offers great hospitality in plenty of hotels and B&Bs near the beach, along with leisure and entertainment options that meet demand. Enjoy diverse cuisine after all the great outdoors, from seafood to the famous Tex-Mex dishes, with notable local chefs who will even cook your catch.
The beautiful city south of Houston, along the Gulf Coast, is a traditional seaside town with modern attractions and 32 miles of beautiful beaches. Galveston is known for luring all those looking for that charmer along the Gulf Coast’s namesake island. Escape from Dallas or anywhere in North Texas for a quick getaway with your pet to the famous East Beach, with its amenities and regular events and festivals. Enjoy the beaches all you can and stroll through the grandeur of the Victorian town with decorated homes matched by the tropical breezes blowing in from the coast.
Southern charm hits hard along the signature colorful boardwalk, with tropical vibes and attractions to meet demand. The naturally enchanting 2,000-acre Galveston Island State Park for camping, hiking, and swimming offers plenty of opportunities to spend the entire vacation exploring the great outdoors. Enjoy easy access to gorgeous local Palm Beach and sunset strolls to Galveston Island’s historic pleasure pier, a whole other world of attractions to enjoy at sunset under tropical scenery, carnival rides, and fried food. Stewart Beach is an award-winning stretch of sand, while Seawall Urban Park is the place to be for beachfront dining and entertainment.
Gulfport is a beautiful coastal city in Mississippi with a population of about 72,000 people who live in a land of palm trees and white sandy beaches. Gulfport, the second largest city in the country after Jackson, is among the most diverse with local history and attractions, such as casinos, sun, and the sea, all in one place, the equivalent of a thriving tourist scene.
The 10km of beaches are a sought-after destination for water sports and golf enthusiasts, with an active waterfront dotted with premium attractions and surrounding golf courses. Stroll this lively coastal area for an extensive bar scene, quality shops and restaurants to satisfy all tastes in a picturesque harbor setting. Spend days lounging on the sand and exploring downtown, or take a sailing trip to scenic Isle of Sheep just off the coast.
Port Arthur, Texas
Get a taste of this intoxicating little town on the Texas Gulf Coast, and you’ll always remember it. Find Port Arthur east of Houston, along the coast, and discover its enticing mix of Texas coast charm and Cajun flair. A few miles north of the coast, the thriving port city of 56,000 began as a dream when railroad man Arthur Stilwell sought this prime location with heart nature leading to nature’s most exclusive beaches and towering bridges. Sightseers, loungers, and culture vultures rejoice at the variety of attractions, as well as at a good bowl of gumbo that Port Arthur smashes together like no other in the state.
Discover the unique coastal terrain around the waters and marshes of Sabine Lake and head to the serene habitat of Sea Rim State Park for dozens of outdoor activities. Enjoy plenty of fishing, sailing, birdwatching, kayaking, windsurfing, and wildlife of all kinds. Port Arthur boasts a tapestry of cultures, from the local Southern hospitality to the Louisiana influence over Sabine Lake. Find the perfect blend in the seafood scene with Cajun flavors and architectural marvels such as European-themed shrines, temples and sacred places, as well as a taste of Asia and Mexico.
One of the most popular beach destinations in the country, this coastal Florida city is a tourist hub for cultural festivals, attractions, and abundant natural diversity. Find Sarasota in the Tampa area and discover all six of its islands, or keys, between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf via a scenic cruise or sailing excursion. Downtown is a hopping borough of thriving streets full of art, such as the Ringling Museum of Art, history in an Amish and Mennonite hamlet, and several botanical gardens for quiet strolls.
The city bursts at the seams with coastal charm and many great beaches, including remote, natural, and relaxing. Choose an idyllic family-friendly water getaway to a water sports paradise for boating, water skiing, kayaking and parasailing. With an abundance of fish in the water, to fish from the pier or on board, the town is a regional destination for seafood, from local spots to fine dining over sunset seascapes. Head to the beach in the morning for a day of relaxation and swim until the stunning sunsets in the country take your breath away.
St. Petersburg, Florida
The metropolis of 257,000 residents offers a variety of natural attractions, cultural attractions, outdoor participation, and a vast entertainment scene. St. will carry you. Pete’s Borough with all it’s got, starting with the nickname Sunshine City, is a huge responsibility to take on in the Sunshine State. Check out the new Saint Petersburg Pier for a stroll and watch the sunset after days spent along its white-sand beaches fringed with blue waters and regular entertainment events.
Enjoy easy access from Clearwater and Tampa to the best scenery along the Gulf Coast, which features the famous white sands and turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico unmatched in the state. Immerse yourself in the vibrant downtown scene with murals throughout, beach bars, restaurants, rooftops, breweries, and adventures around you, such as exploring the hidden Sunken Gardens. Among the many museums, the Dali Museum is a must-see along the St. Petersburg waterfront. The city, with its many small historic neighborhoods, has a great cultural scene that combines coastal and urban life with tropical breezes from the stunning seashore and easy access to swimming, lounging, and water sports.
At 600,000 square miles, the Gulf of Mexico is the tenth largest body of water in the world. Formed 300 million years ago, its depths hide rich history and marine life, along with more than 750 shipwrecks sunk from the 16th century to the present. The shallow waters along the beaches are ideal for family recreational activities, with deeper sections for water sports that quickly become deep sea fishing galore. Just 200 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas, Sigsbee Deep reaches depths of between 12,300 and 14,383 feet below the ocean’s surface. The Gulf is also a reservoir rich in natural gas and oil, as well as abundant in the growth of coral reefs.
These waterfront towns are brimming with culture, modern attractions, and historic landmarks, and there never seems to be enough time to slice through the captivating beaches. Find the most pristine stretches of white sand beaches, from undeveloped parks to state parks, equipped facilities for water sports, family times, and group getaways. Dive into the heart of shopping and nightlife, or stay seaside along vibrant boardwalks with attractions, piers for strolling, and world-famous sunsets. Take a scenic cruise around the bay from any of the ports to discover the endless blue as the horizon watches your back.