ESCAPE REALITY AND ENJOY A VACATION AT TEXAS’ BEST BEACH, South Padre Island. A 34-mile long tropical island located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, South Padre Island’s stunning white sandy beaches, world-class water activities, nature tourism attractions, unique local restaurants, and a rockin’ entertainment district keep the island consistently ranked as a top beach destination by travelers from across the globe.
Most recently, the island was named one of the “Best Places to Visit in Texas” by U.S. News & Report, one of the Best Beach Destinations in the “Top American Trips 2018” by Canadian Traveller, and one of 2018’s “10 Best Places in Texas to Visit on Spring Break” by Trips to Discover.
With easy travel by air, land, or sea and more than 5,000 lodging options, visitors can style a trip uniquely their own.
Swim, snorkel, and explore the barrier island. Take a kiteboarding lesson and catch a wave. Reel in a big fish, then have your catch cooked for you at a local restaurant. Dance to the beat of live, local music and experience the beauty of bay and beachside fireworks. A place alive with fun, sun, and endless blue skies. Texas’ best beach is yours.
Make a splash at Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Beach Resort. Nestled right next to the beach with its own inland surfing attraction, uphill water coasters, and more fun than should be allowed, the outdoor water park includes a resort and indoor water park for year-round fun.
From an abundance of wind and water sports, to beach and bayside fishing, to a variety of attractions just steps from the beach, family-friendly fun is plentiful on South Padre Island.
Go parasailing to get a birds-eye view of the island. Catch a catamaran and sail off into the sunset. Or, catch a wave with a kiteboarding lesson. Named of one of the “World’s Greatest Kiteboarding Spots” by National Geographic, the challenging Gulf surf and the calmer Bay waters offer excitement for kiteboarders of all skill levels.
Fishing enthusiasts can enjoy the Gulf Coast’s premier offerings in bay and offshore fishing. Charter a boat or kayak, surf fishing or wading, fishermen can get bowed up no matter the species.
Nature enthusiasts are invited to visit the recently-renovated habitat for the endangered Kemp’s Ridley species at Sea Turtle Inc., the only place in the world where you can see a baby Kemp’s Ridley Sea turtle in residence. Visitors can get an up-close look at these turtles with guided tours of the facility’s education, rehabilitation, and rescue programs.
Spring Events & Things to See
Take flight with year-round bird watching at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center nestled along the wetlands of the Laguna Madre Bay. The center features various exhibits with the island’s birds and other natural features, along with a five-story viewing tower, viewing blinds, and boardwalk nature trails.
For an active outing, experience the island’s annual Sand Crab Run (April 28), which takes place entirely on sand for both 5k and 10k walkers and runners. After the run, reward yourself with a celebration on the deck at local hangout, Clayton’s Beach Bar and Grill.
Springtime visitors can also enjoy the island’s Open Water Festival (April 28–29), an event that offers competitive swimmers a variety of races and distance options and a full weekend of water-based activities.
Make time to be dazzled by a fireworks display—beach and bayside, from late spring through summer. Named the official Fireworks Capital of Texas, the island sets off a dazzling display over the bayside Thursday and Fridays at 9:15 p.m., and over the beachside Fridays and Saturdays at 9:15 p.m.
Local Dining & Drinking
Indulge after a long day on the beach and experience the bold, tropical flavors of South Padre Island at one of more than 20 local spots. Casual, take out, fine dining, beach and bayside views—the island has it all. The Painted Marlin Grille is South Padre Island’s newest bayfront restaurant and serves fresh seafood paired with a relaxed atmosphere and fantastic views. The restaurant features drink specials every day at the Mako Bar.
Sea Ranch Restaurant & Bar is the island’s destination for the finest and freshest seafood available, hand-cut Angus steaks, spectacular pastas and delicious desserts. Begin your experience in the lounge and enjoy a signature Sea Ranch Swirl Margarita. For local comfort food, visit Gabriella’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria for casual, family-style offerings of homemade Italian and pizza classics for food enthusiasts of all ages. The island staple also delivers to hotels and home rentals.