The Texas coast is like no other. Stretching about 367 miles as the crow flies along a gentle arc that makes up the northwestern edge of the Gulf of Mexico, there are actually over 3,300 miles of shoreline along its islands, bays and river mouths.
It’s no wonder that coastal communities are the most densely populated and fastest growing areas in the country. The opportunities and resources that originally lured Native Americans and settlers continue to attract people to the coast today. Throughout the year, tourists travel to the shore to enjoy recreational activities and visit locales with relaxed surroundings.
Coastal residents and tourists seek out beaches and bays for fishing, swimming, wildlife viewing, picnicking, camping, boating, and other activities. Tourism is big business in Texas, and coastal communities rely on their beaches and bays to attract tourists, who spend billions of dollars each year.
Texas is the only state in the nation that has an Open Beaches Act. Beaches can be privately owned, but are subject to the public beach easement, allowing the public free and unrestricted access to and use of the beach.
As steward of state-owned lands, the Texas General Land Office (GLO) is responsible for management of the 367 miles of Texas coastline. Several programs stemming from that basic responsibility have made the coastal region Texas' second-most popular tourist attraction, generating $7 billion a year.
The GLO also helps protect the coastal natural resources and promotes efficient use of State real property with initiatives such as the Recycling, Adopt-A-Beach and Oil Spill Prevention and Response programs.
The most popular Texas Gulf Coast communities are Galveston, Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Rockport, Port Lavaca and South Padre Island. These Texas coastal communities continue a coastal historic heritage with an active economy.