Open Beaches
  • Coast
  • Coastal Management

Open Beaches

In Texas, public access to Gulf Coast beaches is not just the law, it is a constitutional right.

Walking along the beach in Texas has been a privilege since Texas was a Republic, and the Texas Land Commissioner protects this public right for all Texans by enforcing the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Under the Texas Open Beaches Act the public has the free and unrestricted right to access Texas beaches, which are located on what is commonly referred to as the "wet beach," from the water to the line of mean high tide. The dry sandy area that extends from the "wet beach” to the natural line of vegetation is usually privately owned but may be subject to the public beach easement. The line of vegetation may shift due to wind, and wave and tidal actions caused by storms and hurricanes.

Local Beach Access Plans

Cities and counties along the coast are required to adopt laws to protect the public's beach access rights and outline local coastal construction requirements. These local laws are adopted as a beach access and dune protection plan. The Land Office reviews local beach access plans and certifies that they meet the minimum state standards set forth in the Open Beaches Act, Dune Protection Act, and the General Land Office Beach/Dune Rules. Individual beach access plans can be found in the Programs, Tools & Resources Page.