Clearly the feature of the Texas Gulf Coast region is the shore along the Gulf of Mexico, which stretches624 miles from the Mexican border near Brownsville to Louisiana. Mostly barrier islands and peninsulas, the coast transforms from sun-kissed valley near Mexico to primarily marshland from eastern Texas through to Orange and into Louisana.
Galveston Island and Padre Island make up about 130 miles of barrier island on their own. In fact, Padre Island has the longest stretch of pristine barrier island coast in the world, and attracts an array of birdlife and other marine life. While Galveston Island offers the best conserved Victorian architecture anywhere in the world – so be sure to keep that in mind for a period wedding or just a pretty backdrop to your photos.
Travel along the coast and you’ll find it dotted with charming seaside villages and calm beachfronts. And no matter where you choose to go, you can be assured of Texan hospitality – not to mention the rich variety of seafood caught fresh every day!
Most Popular Beach Locations
Corpus Christi Bay Area: Corpus Christi Beach - In Corpus Christi you will find smooth sea breezes, calm sandy beaches and blue skies year-round. Protected behind Padre Island And Mustang Island, it offers a clam and relaxed seaside experience. Corpus Christi Beach, where there is no driving allowed, would be the best spot for a beach wedding here.
Corpus Christi Bay Area: Mustang Island - Mustang Island lies across the bay from Port Aransas on the Gulf Coast. It offers miles of beautiful calm beaches, vibrant views, great sunrises and sunsets, and a relaxed feel. The island village of Port Aransas is one of the most popular vacations destinations in the area, with a population of little more than 3,000.
Corpus Christi Bay Area: Padre Island National Seashore - One of the most popular seaside vacation destinations, Padre Island offers the Padre Island National Seashore – the longest stretch of pristine barrier island in the world. A unique wedding experience, you’ll be surrounded by amazing wildlife and feel like you’re someplace remote.
Galveston Island - Galveston is a small romantic island tucked deep within the heart of south Texas with all the charm of a small southern town and just 40 minutes south of Houston, the fourth largest city in the US. With 32 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, there’s plenty of choice for a beach wedding. It also has one of the largest concentrations of Victorian architecture in the US – sure to offer beautiful opportunities for your wedding reception.
Rockport - Rockport is a charming fishing village. Surrounded on three sides by different bays, it offers protection from the elements and a very gentle beach experience. So if you want a calm seaside village for your backdrop, Rockport could be it.
Sea Rim State Park - Scenic Sea Rim State Park, located in Jefferson County and just south of Port Arthur, features 4,000 acres of marshland and more than 5 miles of shoreline. This beautiful area has many unique features and wetland wildlife that visitors love.
Travel & Transportation (airports, ferries, etc). How to get there. - There are three international airports on the Texas Gulf Coast, so it might be worth booking a flight that arrives closest to your destination. In the south there’s Corpus Christi International Airport and Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, and in the north is George Bush Intercontinental Airport at Houston.
Entry Requirements; passports, visa, etc. - If you are from Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand you do not require a visa to enter the US. You only need a valid passport and proof of ongoing or return travel as long as your stay does not exceed 90 days. Citizens of other countries will require a visa. Note that the US government administers a strict entry regime. If in doubt, you should contact your nearest US embassy or consulate about your specific circumstances.
Languages Spoken / official language - The official language is English.
Currency - The official currency is the US dollar.
Tipping - In the US, most waiters and bartenders are paid below minimum wage, as they’re expected to make up the rest in tips. So if you’re in the US, you really should tip. A good rule of thumb is to tip 15 percent of the food bill to the waiter, and if the alcohol consumption has been substantial, split that part of the tip between the waiter and the bartender (if there is one). Always remember to pay the tip in cash directly to the person who has provided you with the service. Of course, if you think the service was terrible then you shouldn’t tip. For large groups, check your bill first as sometimes the tip is added automatically.
Taxes - In the US sales tax is applied to retail goods at the point of sale. There are also airport taxes, however generally these are paid along with the purchase of your airline ticket.
Electricity - The electrical systems in most residential and commercial sites in the US use 120V and 60Hz. The electrical plug in use is known as the Type A electrical plug, which has two flat parallel prongs.
Other (immunizations, health issues) - All travellers going overseas should be up-to-date with their routine vaccinations, which are usually given to babies and children, with some boosters given in adult life. Adults should have had a Tetanus booster in the last 10 years and consider having an Influenza vaccination if they have not had one in the past year.
Marriage Requirements, Licenses & Wedding Information
As state and county marriage license requirements often change, it’s important that you verify all information with a local marriage license office or County Clerk before confirming your wedding or travel plans.
Currently the Following Applies:
- You do not have to be a resident of Texas to get married there.
- You need to apply for a marriage license from a County Clerk.
- You will need to provide a valid form of ID, such as a driver's license, certified copy of your birth certificate, passport or military ID card, as well as your social security number (for US citizens).
- The license fee will cost at least $60 (counties may impose extra fees). Cash is required.
- There is a 3-day waiting period. This can be waived for active duty military personnel.
- The license is valid for 30 days.
- If divorced within the previous 30 days, you must show a certified copy of your divorce decree stating that the 30-day waiting period has been waived.
- If applicants are between 16 and 17, they may apply for a marriage license in Texas only with written parental consent on an official form in the presence of the County Clerk or if they have received an order from the Texas district court authorizing the marriage.
- Same-sex marriage is not permitted.
- Marriage ceremonies can be performed by licensed or ordained Christian Ministers, Priests, Rabbis, officers authorized by religious organizations, Justices or Judges (current or retired).
- Note that according to Texas law, couples are encouraged to attend a premarital education course, which must be finished during the year preceding an application for a marriage license. Couples who complete the course will have $60 of the marriage license fee and the 3-day waiting period waived. Contact the County Clerk for course providers.
Requirements for a Beach Wedding:
- You might need a special permit to hold your wedding on a beach or other public space if it is part of a State Park. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/
Tourism Office Information
Texas State Travel Guide
PO Box 141009
Tel: 800-888-8839 (Free Texas State Travel Guide, US & Canada only)
Other Texas Related Websites
Climate Information & The Best Time to Travel
If you’re planning on marrying in Texas you need to know that hurricane season runs from June to November (the main hurricane months are August and September). Summers in this subtropical climate can also be very hot with high humidity (not great for makeup!). Winters are mild, with average highs in January around 65ºF on the coast, however most days in December and January are cloudy. So spring is the best season for a Texas wedding, keeping in mind what the Texans always say, “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait five minutes and it’ll change.”
High & Low Season for Travel
If you want to plan your wedding for the best weather, then spring is it. You just need to avoid Spring Break, which is a high season for Texas. You could also consider weekdays (Monday through Thursday), when you’ll find cheaper airfares and accommodation rates.
Map of Texas
Local Attractions & Must Do’s
There are 466 attractions and 339 events to experience in the Texas Gulf Coast region. And don’t forget to enjoy Texas music along the way – whatever your music pleasure, you’re sure to find it here.
Host to an amazing variety of local and migratory birds, Texas the place for bird watching. You can follow the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail sites and visit the Rio Grande Valley, part of which falls in the region, which is the nation’s number one bird-watching destination. See the endangered whooping cranes that winter at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and visit Rockport-Fulton for the hummer birds.
For history buffs, travel back in time at one of many historic sites, such as the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in Deer Park, where Texas won its independence from Mexico, or Spindletop in Beaumont, which set off the oil boom in 1901.
For museum lovers, the region is rich with art and museums, as well as historic homes and buildings. Houston’s Museum District is ranked among the five best in the US, and its Museum of Fine Arts is the sixth largest. Also in Houston you’ll find the home of America’s space program – the NASA Space Center.
Top 5 Most Popular Hotels
If you want luxury on the Texas coast, then it’s the islands that have it, and in particular Galveston Island – so take a trip for romance.
Hotel Galvez & Spa, Galveston Island - Since 1911, comfort and old world elegance have been the standard at the grand dame of all island hotels. An historic property, Hotel Galvez offers elegant guest rooms full of delightful touches like marble bathrooms, hand decorated walls and views of the Gulf. Wedding packages are available.
Moody Gardens Hotel, Galveston - This world-class hotel is set in 242 acres of botanical beauty. With 428 guest rooms, you’re sure to find something to please.
Port Royal, Port Aransas - You won't find a more luxurious, full-service resort anywhere else on the Texas Gulf Coast...where the sun rises from the sea each morning to greet you with a royal welcome.
The Isla Grand Beach Resort, South Padre Island - The Isla Grand Beach Resort is one of the premier hotels along the Texas Gulf Coast. Located right on the beach, this beachfront resort has great onsite amenities such as swimming pools, hot tubs, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, restaurants, nightclub, gift shop, coffee shop, activities and more.
The San Luis Resort, Galveston Island - Discover unparalleled luxury at The San Luis Resort, a 30-acre beachfront hotel and resort property on beautiful Galveston Island. Recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award since 2000, this resort features lavish accommodations, breathtaking Gulf views and personalized service.