Can You Drive on the Beaches of Texas


Texas has a reputation for fantastic beers, barbecues, and searing hot temperatures. But have you noticed anyone talking about beaches in Texas? Well, that’s because Texas had only a handful of them, and we should admit that some of those beaches can be underwhelming when compared to other beaches across the state. Nevertheless, these beaches have been the local and foreign tourist’s go-to places for relaxation and escape.

The Lone Star State holds some arid regions and is especially hot during summers. Regardless, several tourists still visit the state for its famous spots, delectable food, and, guess what, beaches. First-time goers would always be surprised to see that beaches in Texas are riddled with automobiles apart from the usual comfortable swimsuits, umbrellas, and beach blankets.

Yes, You Can Drive on the Beaches of Texas

silhouette of a man getting out of his car on a beach during sunset

The state beaches are considered public highways in Texas, supported by the law. Hence, automobiles that can deal with sand (and dust) are allowed to follow the coast and enjoy the scenic view of the waters, especially during sunset. With these provisions, some visitors would explore the shoreline driving their car, living the moment, as the warm Texan breeze along the South Padre Island coast brushes through.

Nevertheless, here’s the thing. Knowing that you can drive on the state beaches legally is one thing. But, before rolling out your car on the beach, here are a few reminders to observe when driving on sand, ensuring that you will have the best beach and road trip experience while in Texas.

1. Driving Laws in Highways Apply

man in white t-shirt, sunglasses, and cap wearing his seatbelt while driving

Driving on sand doesn’t mean new rules apply. State beaches are considered public highways in Texas. Therefore, you are still expected to observe highway laws. People are expected to wear seat belts to ensure that the vehicle is street-legal and operating with a legal license and avoid reckless and dangerous driving.

For instance, drivers under the influence of alcohol must refrain from operating their automobiles. They must also adhere to the speed limit and prioritize the safety of their passengers and other beachgoers. Although living in the moment, it’s vital that the person driving takes full responsibility for his maneuvers.

In addition, drive golf carts can be driven on the sand for some beach exploration. They are also considered vehicles, so the same traffic laws apply to them.

2. Taking Note of the Beach-Specific Driving Laws 

Apart from the laws provided for highway driving, it would help to note the beach-specific driving laws while in Texas. Every beach in Texas may have a different set of rules and guidelines that you must adhere to when inside the premises. Some even restricted vehicles altogether for safety reasons or to deal with the increased coastal constructions that eat up the remaining beach widths.

Anyhow, some of the common rules and guidelines are

  1. Vehicles heading north always have the right of way.
  2. Speed limit must not exceed 15 mph.
  3. Slow down at the sight of parked cars and camps.
  4. Always watch for pedestrians, tents, umbrellas, and other leftover stuff on the beach.
  5. Keep an eye out for other automobiles and avoid blocking the traffic.

Further, most beaches in Texas have pedestrian-safe areas, which, as the name suggests, are designated parts of the beach where pedestrians can chill without having to worry about getting hit by a car. Some beaches have pedestrian-only areas, which ultimately bans motor vehicles within the premises. Hence, these are the areas where your vehicles won’t be allowed.

3. Making Sure Your Auto Can Handle It

car overlooking the sea

You can think of multiple ways and can mess up your car and your holiday beach trip. So, before taking your family car on a road trip along the Texan coast, make sure that your auto can handle it. Certain precautions must be considered, such as making sure you have healthy tires and ample fuel to make the trip.

Additionally, authorities recommend a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle when riding on sand. Anything other than that will be extremely disadvantageous to the driver as low-clearance cars have a higher chance of getting stuck on the sand. You’d end up spending more on towing your car out than on your actual trip.

You also have to note that some beaches in the Lone Star State are pretty remote, so having healthy tires and well-maintained machines will always come in handy.

4. Expecting the Unexpected

Road in the Lone Star State can be pretty challenging, although they are made of asphalt mostly. However, since the state is known to have a searing temperature, especially in summer, it would be best always to expect the unexpected and prepare for it. For instance, when having a road trip on a beach in Texas, ensure that you have extra fuel in case of emergency.

Other supplies include spare tires, extra keys, and jumper cables. Since you will be driving on sand, bringing tools that will help you free your car if it gets stuck will also make sense. These situations are pretty unavoidable sometimes, so on your trip, make sure to bring tools like tow ties, wood planks, a shovel, and a decent bucket.

5. Keeping an Eye Out for Obstacles and Hazards

Of course, driving on a beach is different from that on a typical road. While the highways are usually cleared off of obstacles, beach sand can sometimes hide hazardous materials that might cause damage to your tires and even lead to accidents. It is vital to keep an eye out for such obstacles for general safety.

These obstacles and hazards may include:

  1. Beer bottles and sharp objects left by other beachgoers.
  2. Tree trunks and planks washed ashore.
  3. Sharp rock edges.
  4. Shifting terrain and drop-offs due to tides and erosion.
  5. Wildlife nesting grounds such as that of sea turtles’.

Final Words

Beaches in Texas might not be as great as other tourist destinations you can find on travel websites. Still, they are surely a venue for fun and recreational activities for Texans and foreign visitors. People can enjoy several leisure pastimes such as surfing, windsurfing, beachcombing, and swimming while cooling off the Texan summer heat. But, whatever crazy things we plan on spending our summer holiday, we must, at all times, observe safety and abide by the law.

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