South Padre Island, Texas

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South Padre Island, Texas, Visitors Guide

For almost its entire existence, Padre Island has remained an undeveloped wilderness. Because the National Seashore endeavors to preserve Padre Island in its natural state, visitors can see Padre Island as it has existed throughout most of its history. The salt content in the water is unusually higher than what is typically found and increases buoyancy, meaning you will float a lot better. Aquatic sea life such as sea turtles and dolphins migrate here, giving you more opportunities for wildlife watching.

Several shipwrecks have occurred on South Padre Island since the 1500s, with some expeditions exporting resources to Spain from Mexico. When these ships struck the island and sank to the bottom of the sea, millions of dollars’ worth of silver sank with them. Treasure hunters from across the country still make their way to South Padre Island each year with hopes of finding this lost treasure. South Padre Island: has thousands of sea turtles swim by its shores each year, with many needing to be rescued.

So fun. So Padre! This beach community stands out in a state known for steaks, steers, country music, and everything BIG. The calm and laid-back vibe of South Padre has old-Florida vibes, with beautiful beaches, calm waters, fresh seafood, and an island atmosphere. South Padre is a top Spring Break destination for college students in March and April, but becomes a haven for families the rest of the year.

Most visitors come for the beaches, watersports, fishing, and seafood dining, but there is more to this coastal Texas city than meets the eye. SpaceX launches can be viewed from the island, drawing thousands of visitors. Also, the art scene is alive and well in South Padre, with many artists highlighting the ocean characteristics of the small community.


South Padre Island is located on the southern tip of Texas and is accessible via the Queen Isabella Causeway from the town of Port Isabel. With the Laguna Madre Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, there are plenty of water sports opportunities here. Because of its small size, South Padre Island is often grouped with other towns along the Gulf Coast of Texas, such as Port Isabel and Brownsville, both of which make great day trips.


The town of South Padre Island is about 2 square miles and can easily be explored on foot in a day. The town's three main north-south boulevards – Laguna, Gulf, and Padre – and the short cross-streets are littered with shops, restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Top Places to Visit

Laguna Madre Nature Trail

Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a free-access boardwalk that runs from the South Padre Island Convention Centre out to the Laguna Madre wetlands. More than 300 species of birds pass through the South Padre Island area and this is a popular site for bird watching.

Isla Blanca Park

Home to some of the area's best beaches, fishing spots, playgrounds, and boating facilities. It is also the site of one of the most highly visited South Padre attractions: a huge statue of El Cristo de los Pescadores (Christ of the Fishermen).

The Port Isabel Lighthouse

The lighthouse was constructed in 1852 to help guide ships through Brazos Santiago Pass. Now it's the only one in the area that's open to the public. Visitors can also explore the groundskeeper's cottage. This is an ideal attraction for escaping poor weather.


The climate is subtropical--the same latitude as Fort Lauderdale, Florida–so similarly South Padre weather tends to be warm in the winter and hot and humid in the summer. The best time to visit South Padre Island is from September to February. South Padre is a favorite spring break spot for college kids in March If you're visiting between June and November, make sure to pay close attention to the weather. South Padre is sometimes prone to hurricanes.

What is South Padre Island known for

Beaches, Calm Coastal Waters, Fishing, Spring Break, SpaceX Launches, Sea Turtle & Sand Sculptures, Watersports
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