A Texas lighthouse tour is one great way to explore the coastline. It takes about 12 hours to drive the entire gulf coast, making for an excellent long day or multiple day road trip. Spending two or three days is ideal, leaving plenty of time to stop and explore the lighthouses and surrounding areas. Combining the trip with a few extra activities like fishing or just beachcombing makes for a nice journey along the coast. There are plenty of neat towns with museums, fishing piers, tour operators and interesting stops. Touring the coast is a wonderful journey that every Texas RV traveler should consider attempting.
Lydia Ann Lighthouse
Referred to as the Lydia Ann or Aransas Pass Lighthouse, this local beacon is located on highway 361 along the Redfish Bay Causeway. This is listed as the second oldest lighthouse on the Texas Coast and while the interior is closed to the public, the structure is highly visible. It serves as a launch point for non-motorized watercraft like kayaks and boats can pull up close to the structure as well. Staying at the Coastal Breeze RV Park places you within a very close distance of this local icon.
Located in the Port Arthur area, this lighthouse is now defunct but the glass lantern is a really cool feature. The lighthouse has been stripped of the internal components but visitors can see the lantern and the original structure which is standing at the mouth of the Sabine River. Port Arthur also has the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Pleasure Island, Sabine Lake and plenty of other great places to stop and visit. It’s a nice community to explore with quality fishing and outdoor activities available.
Located at Port Lavaca, this unique lighthouse shines a red light so boats can make the visual distinction between the Matagorda Lighthouse. The structure itself is white and almost looks like a charming cottage. You can find the lighthouse off Highway 35 where it intersects with Broadway Street. While visiting, make a stop at one of the great seafood restaurants in the area. They also have nice beaches, piers and access to the waterfront.
The Bolivar Lighthouse is located just north of Galveston on Point Bolivar on Highway 87. This lighthouse is well known throughout Texas for surviving the destructive Hurricane of 1900. It also housed 100 people, acting as a life saving shelter during the hurricane. The lighthouse is closed to the public but is visible from the highway and the water. The Galveston Ferry is a great means of cruising past the famous structure. It serves as one of many amazing stops in Galveston. The popular destination is loaded with restaurants, museums, art galleries and outdoor activities with access to the water.
This lighthouse has some serious stamina and has literally withstood the test of time. It was decommissioned in the mid 1990’s but was reactivated in 2000 and continues to operate as a safety beacon. The grounds host a cemetery for the lighthouse keepers and family members. It also survived an attempted confederacy bombing during the Civil War. Matagorda Island is a great place to visit with much more than the lighthouse. The Wildlife Management Area is just shy of 57,000 acres and serves as a major area for bird habitat. Birdwatchers will enjoy the island and sightings of deer and alligators are also common. Hunting is allowed during specific seasons with a valid license and tag as well. This is a large wilderness area and visitors should bring along drinking water and food for the day. Prepare to hike or schedule a motorized tour because personal vehicles do not have access to the island interior.
Visitors love this lighthouse because it’s open to the public and has 75 stairs to climb for views from the top. The views are fantastic with a big open area of the coast being perfectly visible. The grounds are also used for public gatherings and a cultural center is open to the public. Plan your trip to coincide with a gathering or movie in the park for the perfect lighthouse experience on the Texas Coast. Located at the southern end of the Texas Gulf, Port Isabel is a short drive to the Mexico border at Brownsville. They have pirate tours, the Pirates Landing fishing pier, a local history museum and a number of tour operators. It’s an interesting town, loaded with history and a great ocean scene.