Fun Things to Do in South Padre Island, Texas

Fun Things to Do in South Padre Island, Texas
A popular resort destination in Texas, South Padre Island offers lots of beach and water-related activities year round. The island has a coastline of 34 miles and a non-ending number of hotels, restaurants and shops. Home to just over 5,000 permanent residents, it receives over a million visitors a year, most of which arrive over the weekend, looking to escape the bustle of the nearby cities.


Nothing beats the beaches at South Padre Island. Aside from sunbathing or having a cocktail under an umbrella (there are bars serving beach-goers directly), there are kite-rental spots, bird-watching opportunities and horseback riding available. For those who prefer to head into the water, South Padre offers a number of possibilities, including surfing, dolphin-watching trips, scuba diving and jet skiing. Do keep in mind that South Padre Island is a popular spring break destination and the area gets crowded at times. The Sea Turtle Rescue Center operates right on the beach and offers visitors a chance to see baby turtles being released into the ocean.

Parrot Eyes Watersports
6101 Padre Blvd.
South Padre Island, Texas 78597
(956) 761-9457

Sea Turtle Rescue Center
6617 Padre Blvd.
South Padre Island, Texas 78597
(956) 761-4511

The Laguna Madre Nature Trail

The Laguna Madre nature trail is partly a boardwalk, crossing through a series of open natural spaces and offering the best birdwatching on the island. The marsh area is home to six species of rails, wren, sparrows and sea birds. Some of the birds are here only for the winter, so November to March are the best times to visit. The trail is 1,500 feet long, and the beginning of it (right at the city's Convention Centre) is wheelchair-accessible.

South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce
7355 Padre Blvd.
South Padre Island, Texas 78597
(956) 761-4412

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Open sunrise to sunset to both walkers and car drivers, the refuge is home to birds (such as sandhill cranes), mammals (especially ocelots and bobcats) and an impressive plant life. There are five main trails within the 45,000-acre park, with the shortest being the Kiskadee Trail (1/8 mile), which loops around a pond and returns to the visitors center. The other trails are all around one mile, with the Lakeside Trail being the best for wildflower views and the Mesquite Trail being ideal to spot coyotes and deer. Biking is allowed on the trails and on service roads.

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
P.O. Box 450
Rio Hondo, Texas 78583

Article Written By Sarah Dray

Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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