Article I, Section 33 of the Texas Constitution ("Public Access to and Use of Public Beaches")

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Added November 3, 2009:

(a) In this section, "public beach" means a state-owned beach bordering on the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico, extending from mean low tide to the landward boundary of state-owned submerged land, and any larger area extending from the line of mean low tide to the line of vegetation bordering on the Gulf of Mexico to which the public has acquired a right of use or easement to or over the area by prescription or dedication or has established and retained a right by virtue of continuous right in the public under Texas common law.

(b) The public, individually and collectively, has an unrestricted right to use and a right of ingress to and egress from a public beach. The right granted by this subsection is dedicated as a permanent easement in favor of the public.

(c) The Legislature may enact laws to protect the right of the public to access and use a public beach and to protect the public beach easement from interference and encroachments.

(d) This section does not create a private right of enforcement.

Editor Comments

According to available legislative history, the purpose of this section is to elevate to constitutional status the core substance of the Texas Open Beaches Act.

Attorney Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

  • Severance v. Patterson, 370 S.W.3d 705, 708-09 (Tex. 2012) ("Oceanfront beaches change every day. . . . Under the common law, the State's right to submerged land, including the wet beach, is firmly established, regardless of the water's incursion onto previously dry land. In contrast, the State has provided no indication that the common law has given the State an easement that rolls or springs onto property never previously encumbered. There are policies that favor and disfavor the right the State claims, but the right cannot be found in the law. The law allows the State to prove an easement as would anyone else.")

Historic Decisions


Library Resources

Online Resources