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Known as the final stop on the Great Texas Road Trip, getting to South Padre Island has always been part of the fun. The island is just south of Corpus Christi, 531 miles from Dallas, 367 miles from Houston, 297 miles from San Antonio and definitely worth the drive. If some of your invites need to fly, tell them traveling to Padre by air is a breeze. Just connect through any of the three airports in the Rio Grande Valley: Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport, Valley International Airport, and McAllen International Airport.
Now that you have a beautiful destination, lodging, and travel plans, here comes the fun part: building the perfect itinerary to keep everyone having a blast. Here’s the Must-Dos on South Padre Island.
1. The Beach
As the only tropical island paradise in Texas, this one’s a no-brainer. Hit the beach! South Padre is a barrier island, meaning you have 34 miles of sandy expanse to explore along either the tranquil Laguna Madre Bay or the pristine shores of the Gulf of Mexico. While calm weather keeps the sunbathers awash in golden Texas sun, clear emerald waters entice revelers from the sand into the gulf. It’s a relaxing two-step you can do all day. Up your transportation game by renting beach cruisers and lazily hop from spot to spot.
When the kids get antsy, set them up with sandcastle building lessons. As the Sandcastle Capital of the World, South Padre is home to many talented Master Sand Sculptors willing to impart the curious and artistically inclined with the secrets of sand sculpting, from the basics all the way to advanced sand manipulation. The finished product will be worthy of sharing with all your jealous friends back home, but the process is the truly unforgettable memory.
Host Your Family Reunion in Paradise
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4. The Original Dolphin Watch
Dolphin watching combines the majesty of nature with the thrill of open sea adventure. Because South Padre is a year-round home to several large pods of both bottlenose and spinner dolphins, your day witnessing the wondrous nature of these highly intelligent and social mammals is practically guaranteed to inspire. Many dolphin watch tours include an eco tour of Laguna Madre Bay where your guide will bring live specimens up on the boat for you and your family to experience up close. A day with the Dolphins is a day you won’t forget.
5. Excursions & Adventures
There’s simply too many things to do on South Padre Island to list, but there are a few gems in the excursion and adventure category worth special attention. South Padre’s Island Adventure Park is one of them. Here, you can take your kids zip-lining, or on a sunset horseback ride across the wet sands, or into the backcountry where most tourists never get to see, and then top it off with a visit to the petting barn to safely interact with rescued birds and animals. A great day.
Another fun, kid-friendly must-do is the brand-new Beach Park at Isla Blanca. Opening May 21st, this 25-acre waterpark paradise is South Padre’s premier entertainment destination and has been ranked the #1 Kid-Friendly Attraction by Texas Family Magazine. Beach Park boasts nearly two dozen world-class attractions including 13 amazing water slides and Sea Trek, an underwater Scuba experience where you come face to face with marine life. For adults, there’s all the amenities of island life. Feast at several outdoor eateries or kick back and relax on the beach.
South Padre Island CVB
Sponsored by South Padre Island CVB
Pristine beaches, the glorious Gulf of Mexico, vibin’ restaurants, and all the island entertainment you’ve missed are right here, awaiting your return. So, what are you waiting for? Time to reconnect with everyone you’ve missed in the fun’n’sun-soaked atmosphere of Texas’ only tropical island paradise, South Padre Island.
alling all Texans, best friends, extended families, and fun seekers! It’s been a long-time coming, but spring is finally here, and the Texas sun
is shining. It’s time to get the crew back together and hit the road, destination: paradise! That’s right, South Padre Island is waiting to welcome you back with open arms.
Whether your crew likes to camp under the stars or get pampered at a high end hotel, South Padre has more than 5,000 guest rooms and vacation rentals to fit your fancy. The best advice on picking a place to stay in South Padre? Imagine your dream scenario; we’re likely able to accommodate. From resorts to condos, beach houses to bed and breakfasts to private camp sites with gulf views, South Padre has the perfect spot to host you and your family. For peace of mind, all hotels and vacation rentals are following CDC safety protocols, so no need to stress. Just arrive, unwind, grab a cocktail, and hit the beach.
Where to Stay
What to Do
2. Activities on the Water
Enjoying our calm waters in the manner of your preference is a time-honored tradition in South Padre. With consistent light winds, South Padre Island enjoys year-round conditions ideal for both windsurfing and kiteboarding. Shallow waters and placid surfaces make the Laguna Madre Bay on the Island’s western shore make it a perfect beginner-friendly training ground for kids and first-timers. For more experienced enthusiasts, South Padre offers “backcountry” windsurfing and kiteboarding on the Island’s undeveloped northern beaches.
If cruising is more your style, rent a personal watercraft and tour South Padre’s twin blues of sea and sky along a coastline where anywhere you stop, you’re treated to restaurants, bars, and shopping to satisfy everyone’s cravings.
What to Do
Still looking for more suggestions? Try reverse bungee jumping at Gravity Adventure Parkin the heart of downtown. Take a tour of a high-tech working marine biologist laboratory at Coastal Studies Lab. See raptors, white-tail deer, and sea turtles in the natural habitat at the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge. Scour the coastlines for hidden life on the Laguna Madre Nature Trail. Enjoy a sunset and cocktail hour. Or simply drop the kids off at the movies and shop at one of South Padre’s many boutiques.
South Padre is a magical place. Now that we’re fully open, we’d love to share the magic of our island paradise with you by hosting your first family reunion in a year. Gather the family and reconnect in a setting as memorable as they are. Just don’t forget the sunblock!
To learn more about planning your family’s perfect spring break getaway, visit sopadre.com or call 1-800-SOPADRE.
AND SO MUCH MORE...
3. Unbeatable Fishing
South Padre’s world-class fishing draws anglers from all over the globe, but you and your family don’t have to be pros to enjoy one of Padre’s most sacred traditions: cook-your-catch. This memorable and relaxing activity combines everything that’s great about South Padre: the salty sea breeze, azul waters, plenty of sun, the joy of fishing, and the sizzling taste of island cooking.
Bring your own boat, book a charter, jump in the ocean, or cast your line off the jetties’ pier—it doesn’t matter where you go, you’ll catch fish. Offshore and you’ll find Red Snapper and Kingfish. Deep Sea, Mahi Mahi and Yellowfin Tuna. In Laguna Madre Bay, Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Flounder. The jetties feature Tarpon, Spanish Mackerel, and Grouper. All in all, South Padre Island features more than 600 species of fish, more than enough to entice the novice or the seasoned pro.
Once you’ve got your catch at least a dozen restaurants will prepare your catch into a dish of your liking – grilled, blackened, fried, you name it—all with the unique seasonings of the island! Plus, with casual, take-out, fine dining, options, all with beach and bayside views, you are guaranteed to find a vibe that matches your mood.