Best Places to Live in South Texas

We researched the best places to live in South Texas and updated our list for 2022 to account for the latest data on quality of life and overall desirability. South Texas is usually an overlooked part of the state, but its towns and cities offer an affordable and relaxed way of life that reflects the true culture of Texas.

Most of the cities in South Texas are also located close to or right on the Gulf of Mexico, which makes it a great area for those looking to relocate to a place that has beaches and wide expanses of water for boating or fishing. It is also an ideal location for people who want to be close to Mexico since much of South Texas shares its border with Mexico.

First, we should define what we mean by “South Texas.” Traditionally, South Texas refers to all the land below, including, San Antonio down to the Mexican border at the Rio Grande River.

Best Places to Live in South Texas: You Need to Know

South Texas is a region of the U.S. state of Texas that lies roughly south of—and includes—San Antonio. The southern and western boundary is the Rio Grande, and to the east, it is the Gulf of Mexico. The population of this region is about 4.96 million according to the 2017 census estimates.

This area of green countryside and desert land is home to roughly 5 million of Texas’ 29 million residents, so it is quite sparse compared to other parts of the state.

The South Texas region includes four metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Brownsville-Harlingen MSA, comprising Cameron County; the Corpus Christi MSA, which includes Aransas, Nueces and San Patricio counties; the Laredo MSA, comprising Webb County; and the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission MSA, comprising Hidalgo County.

-San Antonio

San Antonio, Texas

Most people who visit or live in San Antonio love it. It has a strong Mexican-American culture, a pretty but touristy downtown (when I first moved here I called it a Spanish Venice). The rest of the city is generic and you could be in many different cities and not know the difference. 

The cost of living is rising, but it is still relatively cheap for the 7th largest US city. It is a driving culture, a great place to raise a family (good schools). The city is growing exponentially, with lots of construction. The city is having several growing pains.

There are large income disparities — very rich and lots of less affluent residents. Yet, a solid middle class. The literacy rate is lower than most cities its size. It is also in the foothills of TX Hill County, which has its own unique beauty. 

It supposedly has a better night scene than in the past, but the old joke is that you go to Austin when you want to do something in the evening. The city is pretty spread out, so it's easy to live and work in one area and never actually go to other parts of town. Generally, all the retail and restaurants you need will be nearby.
Population: 1,434,625
Cost of Living Index: 4% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $248,000
Location: Check on Google Maps

-Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi is a perfect coastal town for you to settle down in. That’s because you can discover a perfect atmosphere within this community. For example, one part of the coastal town is filled with excitement and happening activities. In the other part of the state, you can discover a laid-back atmosphere. Depending on your preferences, you can spend your time in this community.

As of now, Corpus Christi is having a total population of around 300,000 people. Therefore, it is a relatively large coastal town that you can explore in Texas. You can’t call this just another small beach town.

You will need to get on the bus for exploring the different parts of the town. Some of the most popular tourist attractions that you can find in Corpus Christi include Corpus Christi Marina and Texas State Aquarium.

Along with that, you can also explore the other attractions in the region, such as the Water Street Market, USS Lexington, and the Padre Island National Seashore. Once you are done exploring, you can visit either Andy’s Kitchen or Ginger Café. 

They are the most popular restaurants in the town for you to enjoy a delicious meal. After that, you can check into one of the best hotels in the region, which include Staybridge Suites, Best Western Marina Grand Hotel, or the Omni Hotel.
Population: 326,586
Cost of Living Index: 0% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $202,000
Location: Check on Google Maps

-Brownsville

Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville Texas is a very hot and very humid economically depressed primitive hell hole with daytime temperatures that soar to near 100° and dewpoints of near 80° & nighttime lows that only drop to near 80°. Please keep in mind that Brownsvilles climate is technically subtropic so the extreme heat & humidity last for many months of the year but not all months. 

Brownsville Texas also enjoys a very low cost of living primarily because of its lack of a strong booming economy particularly after the Great Recession causing a very high poverty rate. The only real tourist trap in Brownsville is the Brownsville Texas Library.

It’s a subtropical place with a lot of palm trees and tropical fruit trees and flowering plants, such as banana and mango trees, orange trees, yucca plants, bougainvillea bushes, oleander bushes, and hibiscus bushes. There are many small bodies of water scattered throughout the locality that is called Lagunas. 

The population is mostly Latino, with most of those being Mexican-American, and most people speak English. There are many fine Mexican and seafood restaurants. 

The weather is usually warm to hot, and humid, with a good amount of rainfall. Beaches are a short drive away, with hunting and fishing prevalent in the area. I think the population is around 182,000, and all the retail chain stores and eateries are available there.
Population: 182,781
Cost of Living Index: 20% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $150,000

-McAllen

McAllen, Texas

I believe that McAllen set itself up infrastructure-wise by allowing open business along the military highways and having manufacturing plants as well as a business boom with open manufacturing with Reynosa. 

Aside from that Mcallen does seem to have more access to its neighboring cities that are growing while the Brownsville area is limited. The Edinburg-McAllen university systems are in better shape and also long established. 

You could pretty much keep going on and on but infrastructure wise McAllen, Mission, and Edinburg areas are more established than the Brownsville, and Harlingen areas. This could change with SpaceX and the Medical School though.

Great! Low cost of living, great weather (especially winter), a bit humid in summer, low crime rate, good schools, and great restaurants. Nice areas of vegetation. The business and economic climate are good, encouraged by its proximity to Mexico. A forty-five-minute drive to San Padre Island. 
Population: 147,104
Cost of Living Index: 12% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $185,000
Location: Check on Google Maps

-New Braunfels

New Braunfels, Texas

It’s the county seat of the second fastest growing county in the nation. The city is in the far southeast corner of the county, where it straddles I-35 and extends into Guadalupe County, too. Housing costs have gone up so much that you need a minimum of $250k before you even think about looking for a house to buy. 

Avoid any HOA if you can; sorry buggers are the worst kinds of nosy parkers, and most provide absolutely nothing in return for your HOA fees. Do NOT buy in any flood plain. The Guadalupe River is the most flood-prone river in North America, and you do not want to be in its path when it floods. When the Guadalupe floods, the Comal River does, too, but it's only 2.5 miles long.

Tons of road construction goes on year-round, and there are still areas where the road network is substandard. The county has the lowest fire insurance costs in the state. Plenty of fire stations throughout the county and city.

The city only has one high school at present; all the others are in the Comal ISD. Nonetheless, both NBISD and CISD are huge. You might look at which elementary and middle schools feed into which high school if schools are a concern, and then locate your home in the appropriate location.

Medical care is outstanding, with two hospitals, a children’s hospital, and medical practitioners all over the place. Unless you absolutely feel the need, you don’t have to travel to San Antonio or San Marcos to get all your shopping done.

New Braunfels was established by German immigrants from Hesse. Her sister city is Braunfels, in the Taunus Mountains north of Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The German and Mexican heritages are still very much evident in history and local culture. Some of us still speak Texas German Dialect (a blend of German, Spanish, English, and a few words still of Comanche). 

A number of modern Germans have immigrated to the area, so if you speak German, Spanish and English, you’ll get along great here. You don’t actually have to live in New Braunfels. The county has other towns and localities that are all within easy driving distance of New Braunfels. You may find an outlying location to be less expensive.
Population: 90,403
Cost of Living Index: 4% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $377,000
Location: Check on Google Maps

-Victoria


Victoria is a small city in South Texas and the county seat of Victoria County, Texas. The population was 65,534 as of the 2020 census. The three counties of the Victoria Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 111,163 as of the 2000 census. Victoria is also home to The Texas Zoo.

Victoria is the largest city in Victoria County and is about 2 hours south of San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. This prime location has earned Victoria the nickname “The Crossroads.” It offers many things to do and has a surprisingly large number of museums, including the Nave Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum, and the Five Points Museum of Contemporary Art.
Population: 66,916
Cost of Living Index: 1% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $275,000

-Rockport


Rockport is a quaint coastal town that sits along multiple bodies of water, including Aransas Bay, Copano Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. It was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, but it has slowly redeveloped into an even more resilient city.

It's home to long Rockport Beach, with its fishing piers and rich birdlife. The Texas Maritime Museum explores Gulf Coast history with exhibits on shipbuilding, oil drilling, and pirates. 

Rockport offers a slow pace of life that is ideal for retirees or those who enjoy being on the water to fish or go boating. Nearby, Rockport Center for the Arts has changed local art displays and a sculpture garden. Fulton Mansion is a restored 19th-century home with gardens and an educational center.
Population: 10,604
Cost of Living Index: 10% Above Texas Average
Median Home Price: $270,000

-Rancho Viejo


Rancho Viejo is a town in Cameron County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,437 at the 2010 census. The town is named after a ranch in that area named "Rancho Viejo". This ranch was owned by Blas María de la Garza Falcón, whose name was given to a nearby dam, Falcon Dam.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 miles², 2.1 mi² of it is land and 0.2 mi² of it is water. The total area is 7.05% water.

Rancho Viejo, Texas is a beautiful community perfectly situated between the South Texas cities of Brownsville and Harlingen. This peaceful community is built around stunning tropical waterways – or Resacas - and one of the finest golf courses in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Rancho Viejo, Texas registered a 2010 census population of 2437 and is named from a ranch in that area named "Rancho Viejo" or old ranch. The old ranch is gone now, but the splendor is still here.
Population: 2,460
Cost of Living Index: 2% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $255,000
Location: Check on Google Maps

-Hallettsville

Hallettsville, Texas

Hallettsville is a city in Lavaca County, Texas, United States. The population was 2,731 at the 2020 census. It is the county seat of Lavaca County. Hallettsville also has a sizable German-Texan population as the town's founders were mainly German and Czech immigrants. 

The City of Hallettsville is located 15 minutes south of Interstate 10, Exit 674. Hallettsville is strategically located a short drive away from several major metropolitan areas. 

Hallettsville is one of the best places to live in South Texas for people who want the feeling of a charming small Southern town. Hallettsville features a little town square downtown that surrounds its courthouse. This district offers several local restaurants and shops that add to the city’s charm. There are also many quiet, tree-lined neighborhoods where you can settle.
Population: 2,637
Cost of Living Index: 9% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $279,000

-Goliad

Goliad, Texas

Goliad is a city in Goliad County, Texas, United States. It is known for the 1836 Goliad massacre during the Texas Revolution. It had a population of 1,620 at the 2020 census. Founded on the San Antonio River, it is the county seat of Goliad County. It is part of the Victoria, Texas, Metropolitan Statistical Area.

There is a historic downtown district centered around Goliad County Courthouse, which was built in 1894, that also hosts community events like the Goliad Market Days every month. This small town is also quite safe, as its crime rates are about 50% lower than the Texas state average.
Population: 2,004
Cost of Living Index: 5% Below Texas Average
Median Home Price: $246,000

Conclusion: Best Places to Live in South Texas

We think that these are all great choices for people looking to move to South Texas. They are all relatively affordable and give you more bang for your buck compared to other regions of the state. That makes them a viable option for young professionals, families, as well as retirees who are looking to save some money but still want to enjoy the charming Texas lifestyle.

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