There are lots of state parks and finer upscale resorts along the Gulf Coast where you can be a short walk from the white sandy beaches and warm emerald waters. These places are among the best options because of their location and included amenities.
1. Malaquite Campground, Padre Island National Seashore
Malaquite Campground has paved sites in the dunes for only $8 a night! There are no hookups, but a dump station and potable water station are near the entry road to the campground.
The sites are only a short walk to the shore and the restrooms and cold-water showers. Half of the campsites face the dunes and the others face the water. Sites on the Gulf side also have shade from the Texas heat and grills for barbecuing.
2. Galveston Island State Park
This state park on Galveston Island has a little something for everyone: go swimming, fishing, take your kayak or canoe out for a few hours, or walk/bike along the park’s four miles of trails.
The campground has bayfront and beachside sites for RVers. Their bayside campsites are further off the road and more tightly spaced, but only a short walk to the bathrooms and trails in the park. Grab a spot on the Gulf side and you’re only a stone’s throw away from the shore in the dunes. The beachside sites also have picnic tables and patios. We highly recommend booking your spot in advance; the park can get full fast.
While you’re in the area, see the museums, shops, and restaurants in Galveston, and the aquarium and pyramids in the nearby theme park Moody Gardens. Houston is less than an hour away with attractions like the NASA Johnson Space Center.
3. Gulf Waters RV Resort
Hurricane Harvey devastated most of the Port Aransas area in 2017, but this beachside resort was not damaged. The town has recently rebuilt and places have been reopening, making now a better time to visit than ever. Gulf Waters RV Resort has 150+ big-rig friendly sites with concrete pads and parking for tow vehicles.
They have a peaceful setting with palm trees, palapas, pergolas, a pond, and a boardwalk that leads out to the beach. Each site comes with 30/50 amp power, water, sewer, free WiFi and cable TV. Visitors can also unwind in their large heated pool and Jacuzzi, or catch up on laundry in their on-site facilities.
4. Quintana Beach County Park
Quintana Beach County Park is south of Galveston on the Upper Texas Coast. This beachside park has paved roads with pull-through and back-in RV sites and cabins for rent.
The sites come with full hookups and are a short walk from the restrooms and showers, grills, picnic tables, and playground. You can also play volleyball here, see historic homes and remains from WWII, take a boardwalk to the beach, and visit the fishing pier.
5. Grand Isle State Park
Take Highway 1 all the way south in Louisiana—across Grand Isle Bridge—to get a bit of solitude on Grand Isle. This barrier island has a state park on the very eastern end along the Gulf Of Mexico and is one of the best places in the country for saltwater fishing.
Their pull-through sites are long and roomy, and nicely spaced, with water and power hookups. The fishing pier extends out over the Gulf and provides anglers a place to catch speckled trout and more. By night the park also has dark, unpolluted skies ideal for stargazing.
6. Buccaneer State Park
Buccaneer State Park is just off Highway 90 in Waveland on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. The campground was completely rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and has since reopened with 206 full hookup sites. They also have 70 sites on a grassy field overlooking the Gulf with only water/electric.
The sites are large and a short walk from their three newly designed bathhouses with hot showers. The beachside state park is only five minutes from Silver Slipper Casino, and about an hour from the French Quarter in New Orleans. There’s also a water park within the state park that is open Memorial Day through Labor Day with pools and water slides.
7. Gulf State Park Campground
Gulf State Park has a huge campground with just under 500 full hookup sites and 11 modern bathhouses. Their sites have paved pads, and are about a mile and a half from the white sandy shores where you can relax and watch the seagulls.
Amenities include laundry facilities, and activities like tennis courts, horseshoes, volleyball, and an 18-hole championship golf course with a Pro Shop and restaurant/bar. The park also has a fishing pier and about 25 miles of paved trails to hike or bike. They have bike rentals available, as well as kayaks and paddleboards.
8. Buena Vista Coastal RV Resort
If you want something more luxurious, get a spot at Buena Vista Coastal RV Resort in Orange Beach. It’s just across the street from the beaches and backed by Gulf State Park. Their rates are higher but the location and included amenities make up for it. They have full hookup sites with beautiful landscaping in-between for privacy, coach houses, and a 6,000 square foot clubhouse for visitors with an indoor heated pool, hot tub, and fitness room.
A private lake fully stocked with bass and bream is on-site for anglers, as well as a fenced dog park for pet owners. You can also cool off in their new outdoor pool with a slide and a lazy river.
9. Dauphin Island Campground
Dauphin Island is Alabama’s only barrier island on the Gulf Coast, and can easily be reached via State Route 193. This park encompasses over 150 acres with a campground and a secluded beach.
The campground has 151 sites (99 with full hookups) on paved roads, with lots of trees and various amenities. They have a dump station, renovated bathhouse, and laundry facilities, as well as an off-leash dog park and boat launch.
10. Henderson Beach State Park
Henderson Beach State Park is on the Florida Panhandle, a short drive from the shops and restaurants in Destin. It has a peaceful sandy beach to stroll along the emerald Gulf Of Mexico waters and a campground with 60 sites.
The sites are roomy and private with lots of surrounding trees and shrubs. They’re also just a short walk from bath facilities, coin-operated laundry, and a dump station.
11. Grayton Beach State Park
Grayton Beach State Park is in-between the cities of Destin and Panama City Beach. The park has almost a mile of sandy beach, walking and biking trails, and campsites along a coastal dune lake with a boat ramp.
They have full hookup sites in two loops: the upper paved loop has no trees and is more ideal for larger rigs. The lower wooded loop is meant for smaller RVs and gives you both shade and privacy.
12. Saint Andrews State Park
A few miles east of Panama City Beach, Saint Andrews State Park is on a peninsula between Saint Andrews Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It has a white sandy beach and a campground with large, pull-through sites for RVs and water/electric hookups.
In the summer you can rent a kayak or pontoon boat and head out on the bay or out to Shell Island. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle out to Shell Island from Saint Andrews Park. They run every 30 minutes during the summer and every hour in the off-season.
13. St Joseph Peninsula State Park
This park lies on a narrow peninsula between Saint Joseph Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Miles and miles of sandy beach make it a serene place to lay back and admire the waves or read a book in the sun.
The campground has two sections: the newer Shady Pines, and the older Gulf Breeze sites which are closer to the water and more tightly spaced. All sites have 30-amp electric and water hookups and easy access to the shore.
14. Pensacola Beach RV Park
Pensacola Beach RV Park is on a barrier island between Santa Rosa Sound and the Gulf Coast. Their pull-through and back-in sites have level concrete pads and picnic tables only steps from their beach along the sound. You can also walk just across the street to the coastal public beach. In case you don’t have your own, the park has complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas.
They also have a large clubhouse for visitors to use. It’s equipped with coin-operated washer/dryers, four bathrooms with showers, and a meeting space for small gatherings.
15. St George Island State Park
St George Island is yet another of Florida’s pristine barrier islands with great RV camping. The island is between Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and can easily be reached off Highway 98 by way of a four-mile-long bridge.
This state park is on the very eastern end of the island with electric/water hookups and back-in sites among large pine trees. It has lots of scenic hiking trails and miles of quiet, uncrowded beach. While you’re on the island, visit the St George Lighthouse and climb the 92 wooden spiral steps to the top.
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Harry Holden says
You left off “topsail” campground, also in the Destin area but unlike Henderson, it has full hookup,wifi, cable,and a shuttle to the gulf were you find a convient bath house , so it is not necessary to track a mile back to camp to visit the potty..
However, Henderson has the very best showers in the camping world , according to my wife and her sister, who sometimes travels with us.
Henderson and st Augustine have long boardwalks throught the dunes which is enjoyable.
Joey Grundyson says
William Hulet says
I’ve stayed at Gulf Waters in Port Aransas TX. It’s just about the best RV resort I’ve visited.
Coastal RV Resort and Campground in Eastpoint, which is minutes from St George Island is a great place to stay. We stayed in the seasonal section which is more natural camping under the huge pines and rates are only $400 + Elec per month and includes great WiFi and cable! Nice bath house/laundry. Resort side has pool and clubhouse. Very nice!
Bloggin Brandi says
I love visiting State Parks. Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama is very nice. Thanks for the information.
Love Gulf Shores! Spent a few weeks there 3 summers ago and hated dragging up when it was over. It’s my current retirement destination.
Nice information, but should mention that reservations are made months in advance. I went to reservation site and checked for each month through August, allowing a 4-week window variable, and was able to find only an occasional one-night opening here and there for an RV with full hookup (5 night stay). I have also been looking at private campgrounds, and same situation. Would love to find a “Trivago” for RV reservations! lol
Diane Leikvold says
What is the best time in the winter months to be able to to swimming in the gulf?