A friend came to me recently with the type of offer I would never refuse: an invitation to take a road trip down to the Texas coast for a leisurely five-night holiday with seven of our other pals. But the best part was that she’d already scouted out the perfect rental house, one that was within walking distance of the water, wasn’t cluttered with shabby seaside kitsch, and—most importantly—could comfortably accommodate our motley mix of singles and couples and babies without it feeling as though we’d been corralled into some sort of Real World social experiment. Sign me up.

The only more elusive find, of course, is a beach rental that’s within walking distance of the water, isn’t cluttered with shabby seaside kitsch (though I realize a wicker headboard never killed anybody), and can affordably accommodate a party of less than five—say, just you and your S.O.

Luckily, the rising tide of vacation-rental sites is lifting all of our boats. Of course, more listings means more time needed to sift through more listings, so I’ve done some sleuthing for you to pinpoint some of the best options, whether you’re looking for something roomy enough for the whole herd or  cozy enough for two.

And speaking of boats…if you’ve ever wanted to sleep in a sailboat or small yacht, I’ve included a few seaworthy sleeping arrangements at the bottom of the list. Or, if you’re looking for a watercraft to take out on the (sort of) high seas for a day, check out GetMyBoat’s Texas rental listings.


cozy // Villa del Sol Condo

Corpus Christi Texas coast beach vacation rental
via HomeAway

$131/night avg | sleeps 4 | direct beach access | private patio | kitchenette | access to two pools


roomy // Ocean Breeze

Freeport Texas coast beach vacation rental$300/night (minimum stay varies)| sleeps 12 | near San Luis Pass | walking distance to water | built by master cabinetmaker | beach toys & boogie boards | deck with views of frolicking dolphins

See also: this three-bedroom perch on a secluded edge of the San Luis Pass


cozy // Island Carriage House Retreat

Galveston Texas coast beach vacation rental
via HomeAway

$95–$150/night | sleeps 2 | two blocks from beach | efficiency with kitchenette | private balcony overlooking a garden| refinished antique heart pine floors | small charcoal grill

roomy // The Admiral’s Cottage

Galveston Texas coast beach vacation rental
via HomeAway

$239–$499/night (2- to 4-night minimum) | sleeps 8 | two minutes from beach | 1.6 miles west of Seawall | gated community | large chef’s kitchen | patios with ocean view | access to Galveston Country Club (on request) | communal pool


cozy // Angler’s Court Beach Bungalow

Port Aransas Texas coast beach vacation rental
via Airbnb

$136/night | sleeps 2 | near IB Magee Beach Park | converted forties fishing bungalow | steps from shops & restaurants | kitchenette with Keurig | shared patio with gas grill | beach & bike rentals | beach towels & baby oil (for beach tar) provided

See also: this endearing one-bedroom, this three-person cottage, this five-person cottage

roomy // Beach-A-Holic
Port Aransas Texas coast beach vacation rental

$702/night avg (2- to 3-night minimum) | sleeps 18 | near Mustang Island State Park | private boardwalk to beach | wet bar | sizable dining table | arcade table | private swimming pool

See also: the groovy Surf Betty, any of the three- to six-bedroom beauties available to rent at Cinnamon Shore


roomy // Waterfront Luxury House

Port O'Connor Texas coast beach vacation rental$600/night avg | sleeps 10 | on the Intracoastal Waterway | view of the back bays | | soaker tub in master bath | deck with screened-in gazebo | full outdoor bath with shower | private fishing pier with green dock lights


cozy // Waterfront Condo with Fishing Pier

Rockport Texas coast beach vacation rental$99/night (2-night minimum) | sleeps 2 | back balcony overlooks Aransas Bay canal | fishing pier access | boat slip available

See also: this second-story “tree house” studio

Rockport Texas coast beach vacation rental
via HomeAway

roomy (and a splurge!) // Curlew Casa
$929/night avg | sleeps 14 | on canals of Key Allegro | waterfront deck | hot tub | fire pit | kayaks | private boat slip | fish-cleaning area | Ping-Pong table

See also: two pairs of sister properties, Reel Paradise and Bella Vista, and Will’s Landing and Go Fish


roomy // Sea N Stars

Sargent Texas coast beach vacation rental
via Airbnb

$300/night (2-night minimum) | sleeps 11 | across from Intracoastal Waterway and San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge | miles of quiet beach | Gulf-side deck | outdoor shower | kayaks | grill | great birding | owned by an aquatic biologist


cozy // One-bedroom Guest House

South Padre Island Texas coast beach vacation rental
via HomeAway

$109/night avg | sleeps 4 | less than a block to the beach | not a condo! | quiet neighborhood | shared pool | kitchenette

roomy // Seaside Story

South Padre Island Texas coast beach vacation rental
via HomeAway

$600/night avg | sleeps 22(!) | three-story luxury home | steps from the beach | six bedrooms | private heated pool | ocean views | large kitchen | gas grill | pool toys

See also: a number of luxury beachfront condo rentals at the Sapphire


Galveston //
Romantic Sailboat on the Bay

Galveston sailboat Texas coast beach vacation rental
via Airbnb

$108/night | sleeps 4 | forty-foot sailboat in quiet marina | outdoor lounge seating in cockpit | galley with microwave, fridge & coffee | compact head with marine toilet & sink | celestial charts | marina & pool access | discounted kayak & bike rentals

Port Aransas // Sailboat Adventure

Port Aransas sailboat Texas coast beach vacation rental
via Airbnb

$175/night | sleeps 4 | four blocks to beach | air-conditioning | two kayaks | fishing gear | crab trab | pool access | bath and showers nearby | sailing trips (arranged in advance)