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Port Isabel Lighthouse picture in South Padre Island
Arinahabich / Getty Images

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  • Museums Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.6
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  • Value
    4.5
  • Facilities
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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While South Padre has earned a reputation as "Spring Break Central," history buffs won't be disappointed here. Visitors can choose to visit three popular historic sites, the Port Isabel Lighthouse, the Port Isabel Historical Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, individually or for a discounted entry fee, travelers gain access to all three.

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 are also invited to explore the ground's Keeper's Cottage. Located just south of the lighthouse and housed in an old dry goods store, the Port Isabel Historical Museum has one of the largest collections of artifacts from the U.S.-Mexican War, not to mention a theater and gift shop. Right next door is the Treasures of the Gulf Museum, a must-see if you're traveling with kids. Here they can learn all about what life was like aboard a 16th-century ship and get a good look at some of the treasure found beneath the waters of the Gulf. 

Visitors say the museums are great if you need to escape poor weather. And if you plan on visiting the museums, the lighthouse is a must-see as it's perfect for families and sure to be a huge hit with the kids. 

You can enter all three sites for less than $10 per person, but site hours vary. Check ahead with the Museums of Port Isabel website before planning your itinerary.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Peninsula Island Resort & Spa

Peninsula Island Resort & Spa ...

  • 2.8 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
Casa Rosa Motel

Casa Rosa Motel ...

  • 0.6 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
Blue Bay Inn & Suites

Blue Bay Inn & Suites ...

  • 2.9 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in South Padre Island »

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#1 Laguna Madre Nature Trail 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 meanders from the ... Read more » Bob Balestri / Getty Images

#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 ... Read more » Fogel's Focus / Flickr

#3 Isla Blanca Park Sitting on the southern edge of South Padre Island, Isla Blanca Park is home to some of the area's best beaches, not to mention fishing spots, playgrounds and boating ... Read more » Marc Rohde / Flickr

#4 Museums of Port Isabel While South Padre has earned a reputation as "Spring Break Central," history buffs won't be disappointed here. Visitors can choose to visit three popular historic sites, the Port Isabel ... Read more » Arinahabich / Getty Images

#5 Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center After learning about turtles at Sea Turtle, Inc., take the kids to the Dolphin Research & Sealife Nature Center to come face to face with some of South Padre's ... Read more » The Pug Father / Flickr

#6 Schlitterbahn Waterpark Keeping your kids entertained at the beach can be difficult. So when the weather starts to swelter and the little ones are bored of the shore, head to Schlitterbahn Waterpark ... Read more » Courtesy Schlitterbahn Waterparks

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The Laguna Madre Nature Trail is a great spot for bird-watching.  Bob Balestri / Getty Images

Get up close and personal with the turtles of Sea Turtle, Inc.  Fogel's Focus / Flickr

The Christ of the Fisherman statue is found in the southern end of the Isla Blanca Park Marc Rohde / Flickr

Constructed in 1852 to guide ships safely through the Laguna Madre, the Port Isabel Lighthouse is now a part of the Port Isabel Museums complex. Arinahabich / Getty Images

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