Texas Travel

Top 5 Destinations for Sailing the Texas Gulf Coast

By Peter Simek 2.25.22

When spring springs, the water calls. Texas’ temperate weather, consistent wind, bright sun, and blue skies come together to make March a perfect time for sailing.

Whether you feel comfortable skippering your own boat or want to hop on a charter, day sails along the Gulf are the best way to explore the Texas coast. Here are five of the top destinations for sailing the Texas Gulf Coast and making it home in one day.

sailing Texas Gulf Coast

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Easily reachable from the marinas around Rockport, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge offers access to some of the prettiest, most unique coastline in Texas. Bird-watchers will especially delight in the ability to float offshore at some of the best birding spots in the state.

Photo by Sheila Walton

Ingleside Cove

Set out from Corpus Christi across the bay to find this quiet, secluded cove that is considered one of the best anchorages along the Texas coast. With a few uninhabited islands to explore, as well as food and marine supplies available in the little town of Ingleside on the Bay, the cove offers the best of both worlds. Once you drop the hook, you’ll forget about the day sail and want to stay the night.

sailing Texas Gulf Coast
Photo courtesy of LCRA Parks

Matagorda Bay

Located about halfway between Texas’ two sailing hubs of Houston and Corpus Christi, Matagorda Bay offers a quieter sailing ground rich in natural beauty and history. It is believed Spanish explorers first entered the bay in the 1500s. Today, it is accessible via Port Lavaca and Port O’Connor, though if a quiet afternoon on the water is what you’re after, set sail from Palacios in search of great fishing and several secluded anchorages.

sailing Texas Gulf Coast
Photo by Melissa Hall

Offatts Bayou

Accessible from destinations around Galveston Bay, this human-made inlet on the west side of Galveston Island offers a cozy little anchorage and easy access to the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). After the sail, take the dinghy to shore and kick up your feet at the Galveston Boat Club.

sailing Texas Gulf Coast
Photo by Amanda Grapes Dellinger

Redfish Island

Tucked into a quiet corner of busy Galveston Bay, Redfish Island isn’t very big; the crescent-shaped body of land is hardly as wide as a jetty at its ends. But it does have a narrow sandy beach, and the island is big enough to break any swell generated by easterly winds — or the ships cruising through the Houston Ship Channel. That makes it a popular anchorage for day sailors out of Texas sailing hub of Kemah. After a couple hours of sailing, drop the hook, hit the beach, or swim off the back of the boat.

Explore Texas’ coast year-round with this guide to an endless summer.

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