Museums of Port Isabel

#4 in Best Things To Do in South Padre Island
Museums of Port Isabel picture
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Key Info

302 East Queen Isabella Boulevard

Details

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

If you need a break from the beach or are interested in learning more about the area, consider planning visits to the Museums of Port Isabel. Take your pick between three popular historic sites: the Port Isabel Lighthouse, the Port Isabel Historical Museum and the Treasures of the Gulf Museum. You can visit each individually or for a discounted entry fee, can 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 houses one of the largest collections of artifacts from the Mexican-American 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 hit with the kids. 

You can reach the museums from Island Metro's purple line (the Tarpon line); they're stop No. 2. 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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Laguna Madre Nature Trail1 of 8
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Type
Time to Spend
#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 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.

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