Laguna Madre Nature Trail

#1 in Best Things To Do in South Padre Island
Laguna Madre Nature Trail picture1 of 3
Laguna Madre Nature Trail2 of 3
Jeff R Clow/Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

According to many, the best way to experience South Padre's wild side is to take a stroll along the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, a boardwalk that runs from the South Padre Island Convention Centre out to the Laguna Madre wetlands. This is also a major spot for bird-watching: Throughout the year, more than 300 species of birds pass through the South Padre Island area and the Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a great place for you to see them in their natural habitat. The Laguna Madre Nature Trail is open 24 hours a day and access is free.

Right next to the Laguna Madre Nature Trail, you'll find the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center, which offers more bird-watching, a five-story viewing tower and an auditorium showing short documentary movies. You'll be able to see different bird and butterfly species as well as other wildlife. Admission to the center costs $6 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for children. Visit nature center's website for more information.

Recent visitors cautioned that some sections of this trail aren't as well kept as the boardwalk portions operated by the nature center. Nevertheless, they rave about the diverse amount of animals they were able to see on the Laguna Madre Trail, specifically the different variety of birds and insects.

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Sea Turtle, Inc.1 of 8
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Type
Time to Spend
#2 Sea Turtle, Inc.

Founded in 1977, Sea Turtle, Inc. was established to help protect all species of marine turtles. If you're looking to see these fascinating creatures up close, this is the place to go. Volunteers offer presentations about turtle conservation, a regular hit among guests, and kid-friendly activities teach your little ones how to identify different types of sea turtles. Your kids will also love the scavenger hunt available at the center. And don't miss your chance to see the littlest residents: visitors are invited to look on as baby sea turtles are released back into the wild. Plan to check the website in advance to see if you can partake in one of these activites, as hatchling releases are not a regular event. You also have the opportunity to "adopt" individual sea turtles and nests, the proceeds of which go to helping the center's conservation programs.

By the time they leave, guests adore the turtles at the center and appreciate the group’s mission to save them. Located on the northern end of Padre Boulevard just south of the South Padre Island Convention Center, Sea Turtle, Inc. is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; it stays open until 5 p.m. from June to mid-August. There is  a minimal donation fee. For more information, visit Sea Turtle, Inc.'s website.

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