When it comes to Texas, the beach might not be the first thing on any travelers’ list, but people are starting to take a second look at Galveston and Houston as vacation spots.

Houston’s Hamptons, or perhaps, Texas Coney Island, more commonly known as Galveston, is a popular getaway from the city, which recently underwent a $19.5 million renovation.

Even with acclaimed restaurants, rides on the pier and plenty of places to just relax, however, not everyone readily recognizes the underrated gem’s treasure.

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Full disclosure, it’s not always a postcard; a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave an honest description of common conditions:

“…don’t expect the emerald waters of Florida’s Gulf Coast here. The water is a murky brown, and a riptide warning greets you at nearly every entrance.”

Of course, if you want to play the Texas way, like a true local, avoid the riptides, and opt for some beach soccer or boogie boarding, instead.

There are also plenty of hotels on the opposite side of the Seawall right across from the beach, putting patrons within walking distance of almost everything, including the luxury San Luis Resort.

The Strand, Galveston’s downtown area full of shops, restaurants, museums and nearby historic sites is only a short distance in the other direction, as well.

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If you’re looking for more of a city than beach experience, 45 minutes north on I-45, Houston’s museum district is full of great eateries, priceless artwork and plenty of nearby parks and outdoor areas to spend days exploring.

Overlooked and underrated, people are starting to take a second look at Houston and Galveston for their next destination vacation AP Photo/LM Otero