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21 Things to do on South Padre Island, Texas

21 Things to do on South Padre Island, Texas


South Padre Island is a wonderful resort city off coastal South Texas. My dad and mom truly spent a decade as Snowbirds making their method to South Padre to escape the winters from Canada. The city sits on an enormous barrier island and is joined to the mainland by Queen Isabella Causeway.

With theme parks and watersports for journey and superb pure habitats together with nesting grounds for sea turtles and loads of wildlife, South Padre Island is the proper stability between spending time in nature and having a enjoyable seashore vacation. There are so many South Padre Island points of interest – each pure and artifical.

Top Things to do on South Padre Island

This information will cowl all the perfect issues to do on South Padre Island. You’ll have loads of itinerary inspiration, from exploring Laguna Madre to spending a day at Gravity Park.

1. Enjoy a Beach Day at Isla Blanca Beach

What would a seashore vacation be with out a seashore day? Make certain to pencil in a minimum of someday to take pleasure in an actual seashore day at Isla Blanca Beach. This is certainly one of many busiest spots and is a spot you don’t need to miss when you find yourself in search of issues to do on South Padre Island. Here, you’ll be able to stick to the classics like discovering sea shells or sunbathing or, if you’re in search of one thing extra lively, hire tools from one of many many surf retailers and go online or boogie boarding. If you’re a actual adrenaline junkie, you’ll be able to even go parasailing or jet snowboarding.

You can guide this parasailing tour prematurely. No expertise is required to take within the sweeping views of the island. You may guide a jet ski rental to discover Laguna Madre independently. Make certain to preserve an eye fixed out for dolphins.

Isla Blanca Beach is gorgeous, with huge white sands and loads of room to accommodate all of the guests that it inevitably attracts. You are flanked by the marina and backed by a wonderful boardwalk with waterfront pavilions scattered alongside the best way. The seashore is only a brief stroll from the city heart and all its facilities.

2. South Padre Island Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center

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Dolphins deserve to dwell a life free from captivity. And that is exactly the message that the Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center pioneers. The heart is only a brief drive from South Padre Island – situated in Port Isabel on the opposite facet of the Queen Isabella Causeway.

The heart runs day by day moral dolphin cruises, taking guests out to spot wild bottlenose dolphins on a particular dolphin tour. These dolphin excursions are in contrast to your customary industrial vacationer traps and carry simply six or fewer vacationers at a time. You’ll expertise an moral dolphin cruise; quiet, respectful, and educated concerning the marine animals it goals to spot.

Tours aren’t the one factor the Dolphin Research & Sea Life Nature Center does. The heart additionally has a contact tank and marine reveals to educate guests on marine conservation. All the resident animals are rescues which can be being rehabilitated or deemed unsuitable to be launched again into the wild. You can study extra about ongoing coastal considerations and how one can do your bit to assist out.

Book this 90 minute dolphin watch tour for a cruise into the Gulf of Mexico to spot Atlantic bottlenose dolphins of their pure habitat. You’ll additionally see seabirds, The US Coast Guard Station, and the Space X location.

3. South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

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View from above of the South Padre Island Birding heart.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is one other non-profit gem on South Padre Island. The heart has over 3,300 ft of boardwalks that wind across the bay, an alligator sanctuary, an remark tower, 5 fowl blinds, and a butterfly backyard. You’ll spot birds, gators, butterflies, and extra. And you’ll be able to go for a guided tour or discover alone – with no noise besides from the animals round you.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is ideal if you need to spend half a day surrounded by nature. If you favored the sound of the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, it provides the same expertise, simply longer and with extra diversified points of interest alongside the best way.

If you need to see Laguna Madre from the water, choice is a jet ski rental. You can experience alone or with one other particular person to see the shoreline from a unique viewpoint. You can test availability and costs right here.

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An necessary a part of the middle is the Butterfly Garden and it’s a great spot to spot butterflies within the wild. The park is small however stuffed with pollinator-friendly crops – excellent for encouraging butterflies and different lovely wildlife. The Monarch Butterfly was positioned on the Endangered Species List and the middle is working to restore Monarch Butterfly Habitat.

4. South Padre Island Adventure Park

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South Padre Island Adventure Park is a dreamy attraction for a day of actions. The park sits on forty acres of land, together with an unlimited, privately owned seashore. You can choose no matter exercise piques your curiosity, from horseback using on the seashore to ziplining round a zipline circuit. We advocate horseback using, as when you get fortunate, you may spot bottlenose dolphins or different marine life whereas cantering alongside the water’s edge.

South Padre Island Adventure Park additionally has a petting barn. Families can introduce younger kids to animals in a protected, educated setting. The park is an excellent time out for households and lone adults alike.

5. Take a Sand Castle lesson

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One of essentially the most distinctive issues to do on South Padre Island is to take a sand fortress lesson. Chances are, constructing sand castles was a ability you both taught your self or your dad and mom confirmed you with a bucket and spade. However, at South Padre Island, you’ll be able to take your first official lesson, as skilled sand sculptors run sand fortress classes alongside the seashore. You received’t be flipping buckets the other way up the entire time to make customary castles. You’ll be creating art work.

The classes run between one and three hours, and the result’s assured to be a masterpiece. You’ll construct a shocking fortress – usually so large that you simply’ll have to stand on your tiptoes to end the ultimate roofing particulars. The particulars are spectacular, with stairways that might impress Disney and practical textures carved into the partitions and roof. Depending on your necessities, you’ll be able to guide group, household, and personal classes.

This Sandcastling Experience will educate you to construct a sandcastle like a professional. It contains all of the instruments to create lovely sandcastles that can be utilized all through your keep. Read extra right here.

6. See The Largest Outdoor Sandcastle within the US

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You may make your personal sandcastle and even take a sandcastle constructing lesson, however you additionally want to go to the Largest Outdoor Sandcastle within the US. The sandcastle took 150 tons of river sand to construct and was constructed in 2013. Since then, it has attracted vacationers within the tens of millions, and it stands as a testomony to South Padre Island’s sandcastle tradition.

There are additionally many smaller items of sand artwork close by, so enable a minimum of an hour to go searching. If you go to throughout a vacation, you’ll be able to often discover some themed art work, which is all the time good enjoyable. Even higher, to go to, you simply pay a donation – retaining prices good and low.

7. Laguna Madre Nature Trail

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Laguna Madre Nature Trail is South Padre Island’s most scenic and numerous stroll. The boardwalk is simply 1,500 ft lengthy and spans 4 acres of the Laguna Madre Wetlands. However, you’ll be surrounded by nature – from fiddlewood berries to pelicans and falcons. It is likely one of the high bird-watching websites on the island and is an ideal nature stroll on a sunny day.

Laguna Madre Nature path is open 24 hours a day and free to enter. The pure wildlife reserve is a peaceable addition to any South Padre Island itinerary. Allow round an hour to benefit from the path to its fullest.

8. Sea Turtle Inc.

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Who doesn’t love sea turtles? Sea Turtle Inc. is a haven for injured sea turtles and rehabilitates and releases rescued sea turtles 12 months a 12 months. Visiting Sea Turtle Inc. is likely one of the most healthful methods to spend a few hours – particularly for the reason that charity is totally funded by guests and donations.

You can take a self-guided tour across the totally different swimming pools, stopping to have a look at every rescued sea turtle. If you haven’t seen a sea turtle earlier than, this can be a vastly memorable expertise. It additionally helps you to comprehend the variety of turtles in want, and you may view the totally different remedies and strategies used to heal the creatures – together with steel braces and bandaging.

Make certain to cease by the present store after, as gross sales massively assist the charity proceed its incredible work. You may test the schedule to attend one of many hourly displays or day by day sea turtle feeding classes. Read extra: 10 Ways to Help Save the Oceans – World Oceans Day and Beyond

9. South Padre Sand Dunes

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South Padre Sand Dunes are probably the greatest spots on the island. The dunes sit on the beachfront, situated on the north finish of Padre Boulevard. While the dunes are protected (that means no driving or sand sports activities), you’ll be able to stroll by way of them. Just be aware of disrupting the dunes as little as potential.

There is one thing particular about being surrounded by sand dunes, and it is best to convey your digicam to seize the second. You’ll be surrounded by miles of sandy hills and ridges -a lovely expertise, to say the least.

10. Port Isabel Lighthouse

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Port Isabel Lighthouse close to South Parde Island, TX.

Port Isabel Lighthouse is a shocking landmark and state historic web site. It is the one remaining lighthouse in Texas nonetheless open to the general public, so it’s thought of a invaluable a part of the state’s coastal historical past. It is a incredible attraction to go to for a little bit of maritime historical past.

Port Isabel Lighthouse has 75 stairs, which you’ll deal with to attain the highest for wonderful views. Walking up the spiral stairs is mildly vertigo-inducing however certainly an expertise. Often, immersive historical past is less complicated to have interaction with, and the lighthouse provides a memorable historical past lesson.

You should purchase tickets from the Keeper’s Cottage Visitor Center. Reaching Port Isabel Lighthouse from South Padre Island can be extraordinarily straightforward, as you simply cross the Queen Isabella Highway.

11. Gravity Park

Ready for a day at an amusement park? Gravity Park is a enjoyable night out. The amusement park is filled with rides and actions, together with go-karts, mini-golf, and a reverse bungee. Having opened in 1993, it has years of expertise underneath its belt. It is a well-liked attraction amongst vacationers and locals alike.

Entrance to Gravity Park is free, and tickets for rides are purchased on a ride-by-ride foundation. This is ideal for adults taking kids into the park, as admission tickets can rapidly add up to in any other case make an costly time out. Adults will love the park, too, and the enormous swing and reverse bungee are thrilling challenges for testing your nerves.

12. Drive the Queen Isabella Causeway

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Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge on the Blue Hour from Port Isabel, Texas

This could sound a wierd addition to your itinerary however driving the Queen Isabella Causeway is considerably of a momentous factor to do on South Padre Island. It is likely one of the longest bridges in Texas and has lovely water views. You can drive over the bridge your self and even guide a taxi to loosen up and take within the views.

Isabella Causeway was additionally sadly the positioning of tragedy in 2001 when an older model of the bridge collapsed. The newly constructed bridge doubles up as a memorial for the tragedy. It is a humbling drive to pay your respects.

As the causeway is the preferred method to attain South Padre Island, you’ll doubtless get the prospect to cross. It cuts over Laguna Madre, becoming a member of Port Isabel with South Padre Island. It can be ideally mixed with a go to to Port Isabel Lighthouse. If you want to hire a automotive for a day, examine costs for leases at RentalCars.com

13. Fish on the Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier

(*21*)

Sure, you’ll be able to embark on a deep sea fishing tour (extra on that later), however why not attempt your hand at conventional fishing too? Head to South Padre’s outdated fishing pier for a soothing afternoon. You can usually catch tarpon, mangrove snapper, and sand trout, so sit tight and look ahead to that thrilling first chunk.

Pirate’s Landing is the longest pier in Texas and has every little thing you want – from a deal with and bait store to a bathroom block. The pier is situated simply throughout the causeway in Port Isabel. You’ll be removing into Laguna Madre Bay with a few of the finest amenities simply steps away.

14. Catch the fireworks

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Fireworks are thrilling; there’s no denying it. And it simply so occurs that South Padre has firework shows each week for many of the 12 months. Firework shows rapidly change into one of many favourite South Padre Island points of interest in summer season. At round 9 pm most nights, you’ll be able to head out to be entertained by loud noise and vibrant colours, all for the grand price of zero {dollars}. It is simple to see why visiting a firework show has change into probably the greatest issues to do on South Padre Island.

Throughout summer season, you’ll be able to catch fireworks on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. On Tuesdays, the show is at Louie’s Backyard. While on Thursdays, the show is held at Isla Grand Beach Resort. Then, on Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll be able to catch fireworks at The Pier behind the Courtyard by Marriott.

Of course, you’ll be able to count on additional particular fireworks when you go to South Padre Island on the 4th of July or Labor Day. These shows are let free, particularly over Laguna Madre Bay – a spectacle you undoubtedly shouldn’t miss.

15. Visit the South Padre Island Farmer’s Market

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Nothing fairly says rest like a visit to a farmer’s market. South Padre Island Farmer’s Market runs each Sunday till mid-afternoon, promoting native produce and handmade items. A stroll by way of the stalls on a sunny Sunday noon is a heavenly factor to do on South Padre Island. It can be simply slotted right into a busy itinerary, taking round 20 minutes to stroll round.

You might choose up contemporary veggies, candy treats, or a home made memento. You by no means fairly know what you will discover, which is all a part of the enjoyable.

16. Beach Park at Isla Blanca

A day on the waterpark is sensible for any vacationer. And what higher method to beat the recent South Padre climate? You can settle down and get your adrenaline pumping all on the similar time.

The seashore park has an inland surf machine, a river system, and 4 totally different rollercoasters. There are even swim-up bars for the adults to indulge at. You might be zipping alongside water rides and grabbing poolside refreshments.

One factor to keep in mind is that the Beach Park at Isla Blanca closes in the course of the low season. This is a particular summer season or springtime attraction – ideally suited for these scorching days when you’ll be able to’t face any actual sightseeing.

17. Take a dinner cruise

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Boat excursions are all the time a good suggestion, particularly since South Padre Island waters are so tranquil and delightful. However, forking out on a dinner cruise is a good way to make a typical boat tour even higher. Many corporations supply dinner cruises round South Padre, however we’d advocate Southern Wave Sailing Charters.

Southern Wave Sailing Charters have luxurious catamarans that embark at sundown to whisk vacationers out for a dinner cruise they’ll keep in mind. You can take pleasure in good meals, drink, music, and firm as you sail. Perhaps you’ll even spot bottlenose dolphins if you’re fortunate.

This extremely rated non-public sundown cruise takes you out on a catamaran to take pleasure in lovely views of the Texas Gulf Coast. It’s a personal yacht constitution for up to six passengers that may be personalized to your preferences.

18. South Padre Island National Seashore

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South Padre Island National Seashore is situated north of South Padre Island’s city heart. You’ll want to entry it by looping again throughout the mainland. The park protects 66 miles of gorgeous shoreline and homes an estimated 380 fowl species. The National Seashore additionally homes some human historical past, with Spanish shipwrecks from 1554.

Apart from the odd shipwreck and park signal, you’ll be able to take pleasure in miles of undeveloped seashores and hikes. National Seashore is a distant paradise in Texas and the longest stretch of an undeveloped barrier island on this planet.

While it would require a bit additional effort to get there, it’s simply probably the greatest day journeys on South Padre Island. The drive takes round three hours a method, and also you’ll want to hire a automotive to go to. If you might be touring as a gaggle and may rotate drivers, this journey will probably be a breeze. You drive up to Corpus Christi after which over the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway to attain the National Seashore.

19. Port Isabel Historical Museum

Port Isabel Historical Museum is one in every of South Padre Island’s most instructional points of interest. The museum whisks guests again to the Mexican-American War with fascinating reveals and artifacts. Port Isabel Historical Museum additionally delves into the native space’s historical past, protecting Laguna Madre’s expertise of the struggle and its early maritime beginnings. Laguna Madre’s historical past has been successfully condensed onto an enormous timeline – so you’ll be able to actually stroll by way of the ages.

Whether you’re a historical past fanatic or simply need to study extra a few lesser-taught piece of historical past, visiting this museum is a superb thought. It can be probably the greatest indoor actions within the space, so preserve it in thoughts on a wet day.

20. Get on the Water

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If you might be an avid fisherman, the attract of deep sea fishing is gigantic. It is a bucket list-worthy expertise. Even those that know nothing about fishing may have seen photos of individuals posing with large fish they’ve caught at sea. To get your self off the piers and seashores and out into the ocean, have a look at one in every of South Padre’s deep sea fishing journeys.

Osprey Cruises are a preferred choice and function all-year-round excursions. This flexibility is incredible for these visiting out-of-season, and also you’ll depart at 7:30 am for a full eight hours on the water. Osprey Cruises additionally gives all bait and deal with, retaining your day bag good and light-weight.

You can guide a small half day fishing journey prematurely with Viator to fish for trout, sheepshead, and extra. A legitimate Texas Saltwater Fishing License is required for this tour.

Even when you determine that deep sea fishing isn’t for you, be that due to restricted time or finances, there are many different fishing journeys. Crystal Flats Guide Service provides glorious bay fishing. Crystal Flats Guide Service doesn’t take you proper out to sea. And as an alternative, you’ll fish particularly inshore areas most well-liked by locals. It is a a lot smoother, shorter expertise, so contemplate it as a substitute if you’re comparatively new to fishing. Plus many individuals fish proper off the seashore.

21. Where to Eat on South Padre Island

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Dine at Blackbeard’s

You can’t go to the seaside with out making an attempt seafood, and Blackbeard’s is the perfect spot on South Padre Island. The informal eatery may look unassuming however don’t be fooled; it has been serving scrumptious seafood since 1978 and has fairly the cult following.

The ginger teriyaki tuna steak is a well-liked selection on the menu. You can tuck in understanding that your meals is contemporary and domestically caught. Blackbeard’s additionally has an incredible burger menu when you change your thoughts about seafood, together with a choose few vegetarian choices. Casual, pleasant, and stuffed with tasty meals, eating at Blackbeard’s is likely one of the most enjoyable issues to do on South Padre Island.

Sea Ranch

Sea Ranch is one other advice for our foodies. Dining on the restaurant is likely one of the finest issues to do on South Padre Island when you’ve got a ardour for seafood and high-quality delicacies. You might be tucking into king crab legs or having fun with succulent Gulf Coast shrimp. The number of seafood is diversified and as contemporary as potential.

Sea Ranch is situated proper on the harbor and fringe of Laguna Madre Bay. It has by no means been really easy to visualize your meals’s ocean-to-plate journey.

South Padre Island FAQs

Now that we’ve coated all the perfect issues to do on South Padre Island, let’s have a look at some frequent incessantly requested questions.

How to get to South Padre Island

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The simplest way to get to South Padre Island is to fly into Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport or Valley International Airport. Both airports are round 40 miles from South Padre Island, and you may guide a shuttle, hire a automotive, or guide a taxi to journey from the airport to your lodging.

Of course, if street journeys are extra your type, you’ll be able to all the time drive to South Padre Island. The Texas Gulf Coast is a scenic route to comply with, or you could possibly detour by way of Austin. You might even drive your entire east coast when you wished, crossing over onto South Padre Island if you attain the bridge at Corpus Christi.

Getting round South Padre Island

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Getting round South Padre Island could be very simple. The city heart is small and rapidly walked on foot, so that you received’t want to fear about public transport when you keep across the heart.

If you need to enterprise additional up the island, South Padre Island has a wonderful public transport system. The Island Metro is a free shuttle that transports you round the entire island, stopping at main accommodations, points of interest, and seashores.

You may guide this 8-hour golf cart rental for a simple, no-hassle method to get across the 5-mile (8km) lengthy island. You may select from a number of pick-up occasions.

Of course, you may also want to hire a automotive to get round South Padre Island. This is a wonderful thought if you need to journey additional afield, taking day journeys to locations like Padre Island National Seashore. You can solely attain this area by driving again onto the mainland, so it’s effectively price having a automotive when you plan a go to. Check out RentalCars.com to examine costs.

Best time to go to South Padre Island

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The finest time to go to South Padre Island is in November. November is if you’ll discover the fewest crowds – escaping the summer season holidays and rowdy spring break interval. November additionally has a few of the lowest rainfall but nonetheless experiences common temperatures of 70 levels Fahrenheit. It is a win, win month to go to.

If summer season holidays sound extra interesting to you, temperatures do attain up to 94 levels Fahrenheit. You’ll have low rainfall and hovering temperatures; it’s simply up to you to determine whether or not that’s price the additional crowds.

Where to keep on South Padre Island

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So, the place must you keep on South Padre Island? These are our high strategies for every finances degree.

Budget: Ramada by Wyndham & Suites South Padre Island

Ramada by Wyndham & Suites South Padre Island is a incredible budget-friendly choice for lodging on South Padre Island. The amenities are simply as spectacular as the value, with an outside heated pool, health heart, and personal seashore entry to take pleasure in.

Guests will discover a microwave and fridge in each room – excellent for storing grocery store snacks. There’s additionally a day by day continental breakfast to tuck into. See charges on Booking.com and examine on TripAdvisor

Mid-range: Isla Grand Beach Resort

Isla Grand Beach Resort is a superb mid-range lodging choice. It has all of the resort facilities you could possibly want for. From a health heart to tennis courts and an unlimited outside pool, you’ll be effectively entertained. There’s even a complimentary espresso ready for you every morning on the on-site cafe. See charges on Booking.com and examine on TripAdvisor

Luxury: Hilton Garden Inn South Padre Island Beachfront

Hilton Garden Inn is South Padre Island’s most luxurious, highest-rated lodging selection. The resort has every little thing, from an outside pool overlooking the ocean to a completely geared up health heart. Guests can select from varied room choices, together with suites with balconies overlooking the ocean. See charges on Booking.com and examine on TripAdvisor

To Conclude

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Visiting South Padre Island is a incredible method to take pleasure in coastal Texas. The city is stuffed with actions, reserves, and points of interest; it’s clear that there are many issues to do on South Padre Island. South Padre Island is likely one of the finest locations to go to within the US – ensure you take pleasure in it.

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