If you’re looking for a less crowded, family-friendly Texas beach, your answer is Brazosport. The Brazosport area encompasses the small cities of Clute, Freeport, Lake Jackson, Quintana, and Surfside Beach. Brazosport is located about 65 miles South of Houston, which makes it a manageable destination for a Texas road trip from many locations. We live in the San Antonio area and it was an easy drive: less than four hours, depending on traffic. Here’s what you need to know about visiting Brazosport Texas.
Things to do in Brazosport Texas
FULL DISCLOSURE: THIS POST WAS PART OF A SPONSORED PROJECT IN CONJUNCTION WITH MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS TRAVEL ALLIANCE TO FEATURE THEIR MEMBERS. THE PARTNERSHIP INCLUDED LODGING, FOOD & BEVERAGE, AND COMPENSATION FOR THE TRIP. THE OPINIONS REFLECTED ARE HONEST AND BASED UPON THE INDIVIDUAL BLOGGER EXPERIENCE.
One of the BEST things to do in Brazosport Texas: Visit the Uncrowded Beaches
While there’s certainly more to do in the Brazosport area than go to the beach, the proximity to the water is the big draw for most visitors. If you love Port Aransas and South Padre Island but want something a little more secluded, you’ll find that here.
There are four beaches in the Brazosport area: Surfside Beach, Follet’s Beach, Quintana Beach and Bryan’s Beach. We visited both Surfisde Beach and Follet’s Beach. Surfside Beach was directly in front of our hotel. During our stay, we walked to the water mornings and evenings to look for shells, dip our toes in the surf and check out sandcastles.
We went to Follet’s Beach on the suggestion of a local gal we struck up a conversation with. The big draw for us? FREE PARKING. There was a fee to drive our car on Surfside Beach. It’s not a lot of money – $12 for an annual pass, so it’s worth the spend if you’re going more than once. Since we were in the area only a short time, not paying for beach parking appealed.
Bonus: I thought Follet’s Beach was nicer – the expanse of sand was a lot larger than on the stretch of Surfside Beach we visited.
We visited Sunday through Tuesday and noticed more people on the beach on Sunday – no surprise there – but nothing ever felt crowded. The beaches were clean and there was a very family-friendly vibe. There are not a lot of stores or concessions around the beaches and I saw no beach service stands for chairs or umbrellas, so you need to plan in advance what you’ll need for your beach day and bring it. We did meet the ice cream truck on Follet’s Beach, which was a nice surprise.
To read more about all the Brazosport area beaches, check out their tourism website for info.
Where to Stay in Brazosport
If your main interest is to spend time at the beach, I recommend you stay close to the water. If you have a large group (or a large budget!) there are lots of vacation rentals available. Most of these are suited for multi-family use, hence the higher per night prices. There is so much I love about a vacation rental versus a hotel (kitchen facilities, privacy, being able to spread out) so I recommend investing some time searching for a rental that meets your needs.
We stayed at the Ocean Village Hotel on Surfside Beach. We chose this hotel because of the waterfront location. It’s a no-frills hotel but very comfortable and clean. There’s an on-site restaurant, the Seahorse Bar & Grill, which has patio seating. We stayed in a double queen room with a small balcony overlooking the gulf. The hotel seemed fairly full but we heard zero noise while we were in our room. The pictures of the hotel online give the appearance of outside corridor rooms but most of the rooms are actually inside corridor. The website lists suites and kitchenette rooms if you need more space.
Tip: If you are interested in staying here and the website lists no availability, call them.
If you want a franchise (i.e. Hilton, Marriott, or similar) hotel, look to Lake Jackson and Clute. There’s a lot of choices in Lake Jackson but it’s about a 15-minute drive to the beach. Lake Jackson also has a larger selection of places to eat and shop.
Other things to do in Brazosport
There are two activities we did in this area that are “must do’s” in my book. Even if your visit is short, you’ll be able to fit these things in.
The first is the Varner-Hogg Plantation State Historic Site in West Columbia Texas. This was our first visit to a Texas State Historic Site and I was extremely impressed. This site was once a working plantation that housed a sugar mill. In a short visit, you can learn a lot about Texas history as well as get a detailed look into the lives of enslaved persons. Some of the exhibits are fairly graphic in nature so if you haven’t really talked to your kids about slavery, it’s a good idea to do this.
You can go into some of the buildings and see the artifacts and there’s a small museum in the visitor’s center. The grounds are really lovely, with a picnic area, restrooms and water fountains. Admission for myself and two kids was $14.
The other don’t miss is Sea Center Texas, which is run by Texas Parks and Wildlife. This is a great place to learn about the fishing industry and sea life in the gulf as well as how the ecosystems of salt marshes, gulf waters and near shore waters work together. Sea Center Texas has several aquariums, a touch pool, and a boardwalk that extends over the marsh – you might get lucky and spot a turtle or an alligator. The best thing? It’s FREE.
The Visit Brazosport website offers additional suggestions for things to do in this area.
Pandemic Travel in Brazosport Texas
The beaches in this area are great for social distancing. We found it 100 percent easy to keep to our own group. Brazoria County is taking mask wearing and social distancing very seriously. Most places we went straight up required masks and everything else stated masks recommended. If you stay in a hotel, housekeeping will probably be limited or nonexistent. Bottom line: If you need a change of scenery during these very weird times, Brazosport is a great place to safely do that.