The Gulf Coast stretches along the Gulf of Mexico for hundreds of miles. Cities such as Corpus Christi, Galveston, and Houston are in the Gulf Coast region.
Near the gulf waters you can see marshes, barrier islands, estuaries (where salty sea water and fresh river water meet), and bays. As you travel west, you can see prairies and grasslands.
Topography and Characteristics
Major Rivers: San Jacinto, Trinity, Brazos, Nueces, San Antonio
Major Aquifer: Gulf Coast, Carrizo-Wilcox
Size: 21,000 sq mi.
The Gulf Coast is a nearly level, slowly-drained plain. It is dissected by streams and rivers flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. Here you can find: barrier islands along the coast; salt grass marshes surrounding its bays and estuaries; a few remaining patches of tallgrass prairies; oak mottes scattered along the coast; and tall woodlands in the river bottomlands. Soils are acidic sands and sandy loams, with clay soils occurring primarily in the river bottoms.
Major Cities / Rainfall / Elevation
Regional Average Rainfall - Mid-North: 40-60 in./yr
Regional Average Net Evaporation rate: 16-28 inches
Data source: National Climate Data Center, U.S. Dept of Commerce.
Alvin - 51.73 in. / 28 ft.
Baytown - 53.75 in. / 34 ft.
Beaumont - 57.38 in. / 27 ft.
Corpus Christi - 32.26 in. / 41 ft.
Galveston - 43.84 in. / 10 ft.
Houston - 47.84 in. / 95 ft.
Port Arthur - 59.89 in. / 16 ft.
Port Isabel - 28.56 in. / 17 ft.
Raymondville - 27.97 in. / 31 ft.
Sugarland - 49.34 in. / 82 ft.
Victoria - 40.10 in. / 115 ft.
Wharton - 45.62 in. / 111 ft.
Southern live oak
Slender rush pea/South Texas ambrosia
Learn more about Endangered and Threatened Plants.
Marsh rice rat
Diamond back terrapin
Spotted sea trout
Off shore fishes:
Learn more about these animals on our Wildlife Fact Sheets.
Rare Animals & Habitats
Attwater's prairie chicken: Tall grass coastal prairie
Eastern brown pelican: Offshore islands, spoil islands, mudbanks
Eskimo curlew: Migrates through the grasslands from the Arctic tundra to Pampas grasslands of Argentina
Piping plover: Winters along Gulf Coast; tidal mud flats, sandflats, or algal flats
Whooping crane: Winters on Texas Gulf Coast; marshes and sandflats of Aransas
Learn more about Endangered and Threatened Species.