Tips on What To Do in South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a great destination for travelers who enjoy spending time outdoors. Watersports are the key attraction; however, there are plenty of ways to explore what this island has to offer, from hiking the Laguna Madre Nature Trail to picnicking in Isla Blanca Park.
- Watersports are a major draw, from powerboating, sailing, and windsurfing to bay, surf, and deep-sea fishing. And some of us simply want to relax on the beach, allowing the gentle murmur of the water to soothe our senses and wash away the stress of this hectic modern world." -- My Travel Guide
- South Padre Island is home to an appealing variety of historic buildings, museums, and interesting sightseeing opportunities. Stroll through South Padre Island's sights on your own, or take a more organized approach to your South Padre Island sightseeing by checking on local tours." -- 10Best.com
Because it's bordered by both the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre, life on South Padre Island centers on the water, making this small town one of the nation's best watersports destinations. From fishing and boating to surfing and kiteboarding, there are plenty of opportunities to leave land behind and adopt a life at sea for a few days. Frequent visitors report that there have been shark sightings in this area, and jellyfish do frequent the waters on occasion.
If you think that all of your time is best spent above the surface, think again. With numerous dive sites scattered off shore, there is plenty to see under the water, as well. The island is also home to several agencies, including American Diving, which teaches you everything you need to know before strapping on that oxygen tank.
- Spring is also the beginning of water sport season. Windsurfing dominates the spring water sports scene, with windsurfers coming from across the nation to enjoy South Padre unusually high winds." -- About.com
- With winds about 15 mph year-round, these waters are ideal for windsurfing. Spring and fall are best, usually with beautiful weather. Hurricane season runs from August to early November, but is not often a serious problem." -- Frommer's
South Padre Island boasts abundance of wildlife. The town offers numerous opportunities to come face-to-face with the island's friendly critters or simply enjoy the great outdoors. Throughout the year, several hundred species of birds can be found on South Padre, and the best way to see them is to take a stroll along the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, a boardwalk which meanders through the Laguna Madre wetlands at the northern end of town. To get up close and personal with some of the island's maritime friends, hop on one of the many dolphin tours along the southern tip of the island or head over to Sea Turtle, Inc. along the northern stretch of Padre Boulevard and meet Ila Loetscher (also known as "The Turtle Lady") who has been working to protect sea turtles for over 30 years. The Dolphin Research and Sea Life Nature Center is another popular attraction.
One of South Padre's most beloved spots, Isla Blanca Park -- perched on the southern tip of the island -- is a great place to spend a few relaxing hours enjoying the outdoors. Hikers and bikers will appreciate the paved path which circles the park, and the white sandy beaches are perfect for a picnic.
- More than 300 species of birds can be found during different times of the year. The Laguna Madre Nature Trail, adjacent to the South Padre Island Convention Centre at the north end of town, is a boardwalk that meanders out over the wetlands of the Laguna Madre and around a freshwater pond. There are a few blinds where you can set up a scope and sit for hours unseen by the birds." -- Frommer's
- More energetic visitors can also bicycle, play tennis and golf, and go horseback riding. Birding is as popular here as in other areas of south Texas, with more than 300 species." -- My Travel Guide
If you happen to wake up to a rainy day, don't fret. Head across Laguna Madre to the Port Isabel Museums, which include the Port Isabel Lighthouse, the Treasures of the Gulf Museum and the Port Isabel Historical Museum, all of which are within walking distance of each other and are included on one entrance fee. While here, you should also stop by the Whaling Wall, a brightly painted wall located within South Padre's Nature Reserve Center.
- The big attractions here are obviously the sand, sun, and surf, but if you want a better understanding of the history and culture of the area-- or if ugly weather has you looking for different activities -- head across the causeway to Port Isabel." -- Fodor's
- Shipwrecks, tempests, and war, as well as some of the happier aspects of life along the southern Texas coast, are the focus of the Museums of Port Isabel. Museum headquarters are in the Port Isabel Historical Museum … and there's also a historic lighthouse. These are in downtown Port Isabel, are within easy walking distance of each other, and make for a good activity on a rainy day." -- Frommer's
SPI became a popular Spring Break destination for several reasons: miles of beautiful beaches, affordable lodging and dining and, of course, an active nightlife. This small island is home to numerous saloons and several swingin' beach bars that will keep night owls partying until the small hours of the morning.
- When in need of a proper beach bar where you can work your toes into the sand while enjoying a cold beer, cross to the ocean side of the island and head to Wanna-Wanna, at the Island Inn motel." -- Frommer's
- Set amidst palm trees, this wacky bar is 'the best' for many reasons … But the real draw is Coconuts Bar & Grill's location. The charming palapa bar faces the bay (west) -- ideal for watching the sunset. Go to the upstairs bar for an even better view, or take your drink down to the pier and watch the sun go down as you dip your toes in the water." -- Travel Channel