Oh and one more thing, what are the laws about camping on Texas beaches?
Depends on the beach, I think. I'm not up to speed on the Galveston area.
If you're gonna be surfing in CC or Port A, you can buy a Nueces County beach parking pass for $12 which allows you to camp on the beaches there for free up to 3 consecutive nights. You'll need that pass to park on the beach anyway.
If you're surfing near Port A, I think anywhere on the open beach is OK, just stay a reasonable distance away from people (surfers and swimmers) until you know what you're doing. Horace Caldwell is pretty mellow as long as you're not a total out of control kook. St. Joe's can be good, esp. if there is SE windswell and everything else is blown out. It's not so crowded, but a hassle to get there as you have to take the jetty boat.
I like Packery Channel a lot but it's a more crowded lineup and I'd probably avoid for a while if you are a rank beginner. I hear Bob Hall's pretty crowded and not beginner-friendly, though I have not surfed there yet.