Port Aransas on Mustang Island, Texas
Wild Mustang horses once galloped across the dunes of this Gulf Coast barrier island. Cowboys eventually rounded up the stallions, and the town’s population began driving cars. It has remained – in that spirit of horsepower – one of the only beaches in North America where you can still drive on the actual sand. In fact, you can park your car right at the water’s edge in some spots, pop the tailgate down and have a picnic. Of the 18 miles of beach here, approximately 15 miles are open to driving. There’s deep-sea fishing, parasailing and kite boarding during the day, and exceptional plates of fresh Gulf Coast seafood to enjoy at the local restaurants at night. One of the most popular activities is to hop a jetty boat to the neighboring, private San Jose Island. The foot-traffic-only policy and the uncombed the beaches create an environment prime for shell collecting.
HINT: Want the experience of driving on a beach, but hate the thought of sand on your floorboards? Rent one of Mustang Island’s signature, open air beach buggies for an afternoon spin.